Originally posted by robbie carrobie
Its such a noble and virtuous endeavour. How does the recipient transform his inner
personality to resist greed, avarice, anger etc and to value wisdom, compassion and
generosity? 'Help us yield to the void', is not entirely clear to me, what this means.
Thank you Robbie for your thoughtful question. It is also an important central question. I hope my expansion on your question is in line with its intention -
Wherein lies the impetus for effective and lasting moral change within ourselves?
(These thoughts are from my own explorations and are simply stated. That they no doubt contain distorted view or opportunity for increased knowledge on my part
is taken for granted.)
The Void here refers to the Source of existence, so mysterious in nature that it is ultimately indescribable and ungraspable. Void, God, Tao, Buddha Nature,Yahweh, Allah, Brahman are but groping human names. There appear qualities however, drawn from both reason and experience of encountering this Void within one's self.
The two primary qualities are wisdom - a recognition of the one interdependent unitary nature of everything and everybody in existence, and compassion - the active outward expression of that wisdom. The measure by which we exercise our compassion, not from some external law, but genuinely from within is the measure of how wise we are. Conversely the truest measure of how wise we are, how much we see of the interdependence of everything and everybody will be expressed through a sel-foregoing compassion towards the other, ultimately part of the Whole that makes us all one. Compassion starts with ourselves. Few practice true compassion towards themselves. This is because they do not see clearly how their erring acts, attitudes, and ignorance arise from many things, events and causes, over time and in the present.
This is one way to see the meaning of "karma", which has been, imo, overworked as a moral impeller with doctrines of "merit" and other lives, etc. I personally don't see it that way at present, with all due respect to the many strands of Hinduism and Buddhism that do. But there indeed are many interacting causes and effects why we and others act the way we do, one of them being ignorance. Ignorance of how it is, is the first and primary failure. From that arises things like greed and anger.
I happen to believe that the more people see truly the nature of existence, intentional harm becomes more replaced by a compassionate attitude. The worst criminal is in deep darkness as to his own nature and the nature of existence. The only way that worst criminal could even be got near to heal that blindness is to seek to bring him, through sacrificial forgiveness and compassion, to true inner enlightenment.
This has happened both through the Christian church, which at its highest truly does show sacrificial love, as well as in Buddhism.
A member of my family has been afflicted with alcoholic addiction. Initially one can respond to the dysfunction and hurt that occurs because of bad episodes, with judgement and rejection. But that always makes the situation more entrenched, which is why prisons are bursting - we are good at punishing but fail at healing.
Whether it is alcohol dependence or criminality or a bad temper or lust addiction, the first step is increased insight - less ignorance as to the many contributing connections and causes, within and without - along with a forgiving helpful compassion. No other way works finally and it's the only thing I have ever seen that can make hardened criminals weep and change their heart.
Its costly and challenging personally, and real healing programs in prisons are also costly, as well as any increased (funded) societal insight as to causes for criminal behaviors. (This does not at all mean we do not have a judicial system or contain dangerous persons btw.) But it does give one a clear pointer to where the impetus for enduring change ultimately comes from within ourselves and for others - wisdom and compassion. By reflection and meditation we change more than by reading rule books.