Monday, April 10, 2006

A State of Being

A State of Being

The Bride (Uma Thurman):
You can relax for now. I'm not going to murder you in front of your daughter.

Copperhead (Vivica A. Fox):
That's being more rational than Bill led me to believe you were capable of.

The Bride:
It's mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack; not rationality.

--Kill Bill Vol 1, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino

Mercy, compassion and forgiveness--these are all Buddha-like qualities. How much of these qualities do we have within us? When we show compassion to someone, don't we appear weak? Why do we even need to possess such qualities?

Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche would want us to believe that the only people qualified to lead the masses are those who do not possess such "weaknesses". Only a "Superman" (Übermensch) who can stomach cruelty is a worthy leader--not the mantra-chanting wimps who shed tears for the the sick and the lame.

We all have the innate ability to behave cruelly, when our physical survival or our possessions are threatened. We don't have to cultivate it. It's already there. Self-preservation is a strong instinct in all of us. They are rooted in the ego's fear of self-annihilation.

The spiritually-inclined tries to transcend such fears. They believe that the body and other material possessions are but temporary. All efforts to preserve them are futile and would only result in suffering. Ultimate happiness can only be found beyond the physical world which the ego identifies with. One must show compassion and forgiveness his fellow human beings, so that the soul can be free from the pain which greed, pride and selfishness ultimately bring.

Which world do you choose to live in? A dog-eat-dog world of cruelty and selfishness? Or one that is full of love and compassion?

A world of love and compassion, of course.

But whose idea of love and compassion?

Therein lies our problem.

When the word "idea" appears, it means the whole thing has already been intellectualized. There's an ideology, a framework, a best practice--a religion.

Is it possible for us to love without turning it into an idea?

Yes--only when the ego is dissolved, and there is no longer any pride or attachment related to ideas. When love is no longer an idea, but a pure state of being.

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