Defending your life
September 27, 2008 Leave a comment
This is a strange place to say this, but about a month ago, someone threatened to kill me.
What led up to this is perhaps a stranger story, but in short, the threat resulted from a relationship that just didn’t work out. In fact, we never even got together.
And all this drama made me think about my mortality. Oddly enough, I have never really feared death. This doesn’t mean I tempt fate much anymore, (thank you, B.S. Oregon Helmet Law) but I just don’t tend to dwell on this topic in any way.
But as a father, I could only think about the what if thing; What if this woman is just crazy enough carry out her threat and have me killed? Then who would be there for my son?
And then last night, after a month of self-imposed exile, I went back to the bar where I knew I would run into this woman. I saw an old friend first and told her the story. After a while, she asked me to come sit outside. She knew what would happen next.
Some 20 minutes later, crazy woman came and sat down with us. She had her new boyfriend with her. We said nothing to each other and just chatted with our mutual friends. And then whole strange gathering just kind of dissipated after about 20 minutes.
So this morning I got my daily Buddha message in my inbox. Here is what it said:
We are not innocent children victimized by a big bad world; if our world is big and bad, we made it that way. This is what the Buddha taught. The “other” is the child’s boogeyman, the projection of our own fears onto a terrifying object of our imagination, which in turn terrorizes us. Our ignorance is not seeing that we are the other. We cannot afford to confuse innocence with this ignorance. Violence is not a permanent, immutable, fixed object. It is a state of mind, an expression of ignorance, with no more solid substance than a cloud. We cannot make a frontal attack on violence. Even protecting ourselves from it fuels its boogeyman existence. But the Buddha taught that we can change. This was his good news: that there is a way to alleviate suffering by freeing our minds from greed, anger, and ignorance. Yet until we apprehend the ways in which we are Oklahoma City, the bombs and the baby bears, the victims and the violators, we will continue to blame “them,” all the while proclaiming our innocence and evading our responsibilities.
–Helen Tworkov, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review