Don‘t Resist, Don‘t Judge, Don‘t Inhere!

Today, I stum­bled upon this inter­view with molecular-biologist-turned-buddhist-monk, Matthieu Ricard (in Ger­man). A few years ago, I lis­tened to his famous Altru­ism and although my favorite way of med­i­ta­tion is not focus­ing on a spe­cif­ic topic, s.a. love, or altru­ism, but try­ing not to think at all, I’m absolute­ly con­vinced by his gen­er­al approaci of altru­ism.

In his inter­view he demon­strates that he’s a very prac­ti­cal per­son: refer­ring to the bud­dhist story of 500 peo­ple on a boat threat­ened to be mur­dered, but res­cued because the poten­tial mur­der­er him­self is killed. It’s not my inten­tion to vin­di­cate this killing, the story — and its men­tion­ing by Matthieu — only demon­strates that bud­dhism comes with prac­ti­cal guid­ance instead of lofty periphrases.

How­ev­er, what strikes me most, is Matthieu’s descrip­tion of his first teacher Kangy­our Rin­poche. When Matthieu first met him, Kangy­our Rin­poche was 70 years old and lived in a tiny shack, togeth­er with his wife, two daugh­ters and one of his sons. „Kangy­our Rin­poche radi­at­ed kind­ness. He was shin­ing with power, seren­i­ty and love. I felt pure gen­eros­i­ty and empa­thy.“

From time to time, I meet some­one who I imme­di­ate­ly sympthize with, whom I can con­nect with in the first moment. How­ev­er, I haven’t had this feel­ing of absolute gen­eros­i­ty and empa­thy caused by Kangy­our Rin­poche. And I assume that nobody I have met had this feel­ing towards me. The inter­est­ing aspect here is, that I‘m pret­ty sure how to achieve this state of mind in which an indi­vid­ual cre­ates this kind of absolute seren­i­ty. The chal­lenge lies in fol­low­ing the rules to get there. I‘m speak­ing of three appar­ent­ly sim­ple rules that every­bo­day may fol­low. Here they are:

1. Don‘t resist!
Never mind, what hap­pens: imme­di­ate­ly accept any sit­u­a­tion as it is. There are three ways to tack­le any sit­u­a­tion: first, accept it and focus on the action need­ed until the sit­u­a­tion has changed. Sec­ond, try to change one or more con­sti­tu­tive aspect(s) of the sit­u­a­tion . Third, leave the sit­u­a­tion.
2. Don‘t judge!
Accept any sit­u­a­tion, object or liv­ing being as it is. Do not inter­pret or judge. Just see what‘s there. (From neu­ro­sciem­ce we know that even this might be a task too hard in most cases.)
3. Don‘t inhere!
After hav­ing expe­ri­enced a sit­u­a­tion, do not inhere in it. It‘s gone. You live now, not then.

Of course, these rules deserved to be explained bet­ter, in a more elab­o­rate way. And there are many dif­fer­ent ways these rules are used in, or expressed, most­ly in bud­dhist, and espe­cial­ly its Zen tra­di­tion. For me, they are the basis for liv­ing a good life, and the essence of human­i­ty in gen­er­al.
Kangy­our Rin­poche was one of those alleged­ly few human beings who inter­nal­ized these rules. His uncon­di­tion­al seren­i­ty and empa­thy are the most obvi­ous results. There is, by the way, a close resem­blance of his behav­ior to a baby’s. Babies approach most peo­ple with the same uncond­tion­al open­ness, inno­cence and friend­li­ness. The fas­ci­nat­ing aspect in Kangy­our Rin­poche is that he‘s a grey­beard. And, weighed down with decades of — typ­i­cal­ly mixed — expe­ri­ences, older human beings tend to behave in a more intro­vert­ed, strait­ened way.

One of the main aspects of any event is that it hap­pens and that you essen­tial­ly expe­ri­ence it. The fact that I stum­bled upon this inter­view with Math­tieu Ricard, today, moti­vat­ed me to write this blog post — and — to again try­ing to fol­low the above men­tioned three rules. If you like, give it a try, too! It‘s worth it!

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