Confronting the Universe Without Hatred or Fear

in spirituality •  5 months ago

In search of solutions, I am currently reading around the phenomenon of the Buddhist Warrior; this appears to be an oxymoron of the highest order, yet there are historical examples, such as the Shaolin monks and others.

I shall return to the Shaolin temple in another post, but today wish to look at an interesting article, "The Bodhisattva Warrior: The Way of Compassionate Confrontation" by Brian Muldoon.

Confrontation is not a synonym for violence; "to confront" means to come face-to-face with something or someone. This could be two parties in a dispute but it can also be one's mind confronting reality. The path to truth can thus be measured by confronting the universe. This is really no different to what experimental scientists are doing when testing a hypothesis.

Yet in the spiritual realm there are many who shy away from confronting reality as it may disturb their equipoise. The creation of such a "positive" self-narrative is inherently fragile and is not the adamantine enlightenment being sought. Japanese koan tales are filled with examples where monks feigning tranquility are jolted into a true deeper awareness. That requires both words and actions.

It also requires courage.


Blacksmith Munechika helped by a fox spirit forging a blade
(19th C woodcut of 10th C tale). Source

"One reason that there is so much aggressive and destructive confrontation in the world is that there is too little mature, solid and thoughtful confrontation." The opposite of passive acceptance is the idea of "redemptive violence", yet that just continues the cycle of oppression. This means that both stances, of either ignoring or attacking the problems, do not lead to lasting or meaningful resolutions.

The article distinguishes between "hot" and "cold" conflicts, meaning overt and covert situations. I would prefer a metaphor from physics and refer to them as "thermal" and "non-thermal"; there is a subtle but important difference between "cold" and "non-thermal". There is also a subtle etymological difference between "conflict" and "confrontation"; the first means "to strike together", essentially "to fight", whereas the latter means "to come face to face". The two may seem indistinguishable during a heated argument!

Thermal conflicts are easy to see and hence easy for the media to portray: wars, violence and crimes are the staples of news websites. Non-thermal, or cold, conflicts are harder to notice, and are rarely reported. They tend to be behaviours that have become enshrined as either formal laws or social contracts. They are the things you cannot do - and increasingly, things you dare not say - because of the consequences.

Things that were illegal have become legal; even more covert is when they become "obvious" and invisible, and hence unchallenged. "The moral consequences of our choices are diluted until we no longer hear the voice of conscience."

"Confrontation is the way by which we bring cold conflict to the surface and break it down into manageable pieces. As long as conflict can camouflage itself in a bureaucracy or in a hierarchy, resolution is impossible. So it must be called out into the open, challenged, confronted."


Source

To articulate the confrontation before it escalates strikes me as key. It serves the purpose of increasing knowledge about what is really going on and will yield the solutions to the problems. If those solutions are not accepted, then at least it is clear what actions will follow.

Without hatred and without fear.

To fear the confrontation because it might escalate is to show one's cowardice and, ironically, increase the cold conflict that one wishes to stop.

The inner strength and courage needed to initiate a genuine confrontation can be found in various myths and religions as the Warrior Archetype.

That will be the subject of my next post.


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Well written :D

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Thanks! Haven't quite finished the 2nd half - hopefully will publish it tomorrow.

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that is just amazing on so many levels!
I guess many fail to perceive that the lack of confrontation could lead to a different type of inner confrontation.
Thank you!

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Thanks very much!
I'm glad it stands on its own as an article - trying to trim down part 2 so that it flows properly. No rush, I guess.

I've been writing about these exact precepts in some of my posts but not many read them yet so feel a little bit discouraged to carry on doing them...

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Hi, have been reading a few of your comments. Perhaps i can reply to them all here.

Steemit is a bizarre bazaar of people; it is not always obvious who has genuine gemstones and who's peddling fakes (knowingly or not). You will get some honest replies and encouragement, as well some unwanted ejaculations.

This is social media, not personal media. Many deeper conversations happen off-Steemit, usually in chatrooms. Ironic, really, as many important topics need some light shone upon them. Anyway, many prefer the immediacy and privacy of chats. The MAP room is fairly quiet these days but it is a "safe space" in the sense that I've never had to kick anybody out. So feel free to air anything you wish in there.

As to topics of posts, I think you have to write what you feel; maybe also experiment with subjects and tags, reach out to similar authors. From what I've seen, very few write on such topics exclusively; many will express opinions as one-offs, which makes them hard to find.

As I let MAP run on semi-automatic, I can devote more attention to AAKOM. Currently, they share chatrooms because there is some overlap, but it may be appropriate to start one afresh - just don't expect too many people! :-)

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I've learnt not to expect anything much these days; but am happy when someone comments and can relate to something I've posted. Everything I write is from personal experience that I've lived in my life. I go to discord chat now and then to see if I can join in, but find not many answer me, and so few understand anything I say; and, it's so hard not to offend someone somehow that I find it's just not worth trying most of the time, even though I don't mean any offence someone takes it; for instance: I've left all religion behind me, except some precepts of Buddhism, so when something slips out that I feel about religion, like more people have been brainwashed by it than are free to follow their heart towards the inner truth, then suddenly I find myself friendless at best. So I have to be very careful of what I say which severely inhibits heart -felt feelings being expressed because of having to think of every thought to see if it will offend anyone's religion. And that is just one thing. There are so many things that people get offended by that sometimes I don't say anything at all...

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Well, much of the sub-text of what I write is a spirituality without religion. It is really important to take some of the best esoteric practices and to see that they are methods to manifest powers we rarely use.

To believe, and believe in one's beliefs, to feel entitled to one's beliefs and hence to be offended if challenged, are all just low-level manifestations of ignorance. Perhaps you should see the sneer in my face as I wrote that!

I shall dig up some interesting articles on this issue of spirituality versus religion.

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We have lost the ability to hold pressure. We crumble under the pressure of facing anything including life.

The purpose of life is to face it open hearted and vulnerable.

Remembering that confrontation can be a beautiful thing for inducing evolution is helpful.