Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Boundless Ignorance

By being truthful but skill-less I have become, I think, the cause of another train wreck in my family. There is some lesson lurking in this I can barely see. Some aspect of considering how others will react to what I say rather than just focusing on allowing I was honest. Seems so obvious in retrospect, but the real trick is how to address the "honest" reaction before it can cause harm.

With people you are close to, you communicate your honesty in the set of your face or the posture in your body. It's more than just controlling your words. It's what you communicate with your being. I suppose the only way to make your full being-reaction skillful is to practice sitting and doing careful audits on where you are in relation to the eightfold path. All aspects of the path actually do, I guess, inform your being, give rise to the set of your face or the posture of your body when confronted with adversity (or anything).

I can't just focus on words, or deeds. Its the full life, fully integrated, that does harm or not. I've got to look at it all. I've got to strive for the right action with every step but yet remain fluid.

My ignorance is indeed boundless.


MyoChi said...

Lauren - you try your best, and as long as the intention was harmless, you are fine. You can only do so much, give your self credit for trying, for reaching out and for caring...:).

Lauren said...


Thanks for the "hand up." This lesson has become really important to me. The dimensions of "truth" go far beyond a spoken fact. When I look at how my total being is interacting with the universe in any given moment, the words exiting my mouth are such a small part of the "data stream."

To be very poetic;

Every heartbeat sends a ripple into the ocean of life. I want to step past hindrance such that each one of my heartbeats is as truthful as possible, echoing the dharma, with as little discord from ignorance as I can manage moment to moment.


MyoChi said...

Don't worry too much about has its own beauty..:). YOu know what the astonishing fact is, atleast for me, the defintion of ignorance changes every few months!! Has that happened to you?

Lauren said...

Myochi -

I suppose ignorance does have it's beauty. It seems to be a key aspect of humanity.... acting without clear understanding of the "full picture" even such that the actions ricochet through cause/effect and come back to harm the actor.

I've been in Washington DC this week on business and happened across a quote, I think it was from Lincoln that was something to the effect of "I must accept that it will happen that, from time to time, people will find error in my judgement, but I would not want them to ever find misrepresentation in my sincerity."

I would be interested to understand the original Pali that is translated as "ignorance." Does it mean "lack of knowledge" or "action contrary to the knowledge you have" or "action without consideration of the possibilities" or something other?


MyoChi said...

The meaning of ignorance is lack of knowledge. But Budhha says clearly - you only reap harm, if your intention was to cause harm. If you do something where you did not intend to harm, you do not get bad karma. It is the intention that matters the most.