2023-10-30-GIl-Quarrels (1 of 5) Wisdom Through Calming
12:06AM Nov 2, 2023
Warm greetings from IMC and Neff on this Monday morning, we begin a new five part theme. And the the topic of this week will be quarrels. What the Buddha had to say about quarrels and disputes. And the overall kind of context for teaching this is that, since the beginning of the year, I've been somewhat emphasizing or focusing on the teachings having the practice of challenges, what are the things? What do we do with the challenges in our lives? And how do we be with them and practice with them. And one of the big challenges is that conflicts we have with other people and others in the world, quarrels, disputes, hostilities that exist, that and so that's the topic for this week. And maybe it's somewhat topical, that as world events, take more center stage, it seems that there's no shortage of growing divisiveness growing world's disputes that people are living with, and, and are worried about. So taking a maybe a Buddhist perspective, maybe a different perspective than usual on this, you'll find valuable. And so the Buddha addressed quarrels and disputes quite a bit. It seems that just a narrow world, like just like in our world, that was a common phenomenon in the ancient world. The ones that sometimes came closest to him, in terms of his context, his his was the fact that the religious communities of his time the different spiritual seekers and practitioners and teachers, that they, it was an active, active environment of debates. And people would actively debate in order to conquer their opponent to defeat them. One such person came to the Buddha once and said, you know, what, to challenge him quite challenging him in this kind of competitive, quarrelsome kind of environment of different religious teachings, and asked him maybe kind of in a belligerent way, or challenging way, what is it that you teach? And the Buddha said, I teach that by which we have no quarrels with anyone in the world. And, and just hearing that that person was somehow disturbed, upset, disgusted, and left to right away, just walked away, maybe realizing that the Buddha was not going to engage in doctrinal quarrels and debates. So, but it's also a profound thing that the Buddha said, you know, I teach that by which we are not in quarrel with anybody in the world. And so the question is, what is quarreling mean? But be but the arguing with people, that there's there anything we have to argue about and Quarrel about is there another alternative and when Buddha talks about quarrels, one of the one of the primary ways he talks about it over and over again, is in personal terms, how we can look at ourselves, to find out the source of quarrels in ourselves, what is the conditions that we live in, within within us or psychological conditions? That bring us to a situation where we are quarreling and arguing argumentatively with people in a hostile way. And, and it's a little unsatisfying to have the Buddha always pointing back to oneself. Because aren't some quarrels? Interpersonal, we have to also find a way to engage interpersonally in order to work out what's going on understand what's going on. And and if we just, we don't quarrel if we don't confront people who are doing injustice or doing something wrong, are we just going to continue allow them to do that? And we just go and meditate and get calm and kind of check out in a sense. And I don't think that's what the Buddha is teaching. He's not someone who checked out. He was someone who his own way he lived his life he was constantly showing up and meeting people where they were at and engaging people. And but he did it with such great wisdom and care that we're still his his teachings were recorded, and we're still, some of us are still finding ourselves quite inspired by him. So he was an effective teacher. So, a corals, so many, there's a number of examples of it records of different people coming to the Buddha and asking questions like, why is it that people coral, and, and one of them and so I'll talk about a few of them this week. But probably one of the oldest versions of this maybe from the earliest time in the Buddha's teaching career, where it wasn't so greatly developed yet. He has a very simple a series of layers within us that are that as the layers get to activate each other higher and higher to more activated states. We ended up quarreling. And, and so he describes these, someone comes and says, you know, why do people quarrel and dispute so much. And so the Buddha then gives the, the condition within us, that has to be in place in order for us to be ready to quarrel. And then the question is, well, where does that come from, or what is the condition that and then the Buddha goes deeper, a deeper layer inside deeper layer. And one way of understanding these layers that the Buddha describes, is that he's describing layers of activation, the reactivation, the way we grew up, get reactive. And that the more activated we are more reactive we become, the more we're triggered to become even more reactive to get more activated. And as we get more activated, one of the effects that has sometimes on our attention is that the more activated we are, the more constricted the attention is, the more becomes focused, narrowed on a particular concern, particular topic, a particular perspective we have for looking upon the world. And we might be looking at it for the world through the perspective of only or hurt only our anger, only our hostility, we might be looking at it to their perspective, only that person is wrong. And, and, or that person is evil, or something, and or I'm wrong, or I miss or whatever. And so that it gets clearer or narrow the focus, the thinking becomes tighter and more constricted. So the Buddha, when he starts going through the different describing the layers, going deeper and deeper, he's describing layers to get calmer and calmer, more and more settled. And if we understand it this way, then we understand that the Buddha keeps looking at this from the point of view of how we can practice with it. And not so we can become calm, the point is not to become calm or peaceful, and then just like not caring anymore, and just kind of go on with our business not caring about the fact that people are harming us or harming others or that are we have differences of opinion or, but rather, that as we get calm enough and centered enough, then we have available to us a much more intelligent, creative way of thinking, our thinking is not going to be caught up in the constricted way we're focusing on something or thinking is not part and parcel of the reactivity that we have. And, and, and rather than reactive consideration of the conflict, we have access to a deeper wellsprings of understanding wisdom sensitivity, that takes much more into account a broader, wider field of concern and consideration than is possible when we're deeply relaxed, then then we're very tense and everything's gotten constricted. So in his earlier descriptions of the genesis of, of coral, the personal genesis of it inside of us. The Buddha says that,
that in order for quarreling to be present, that can immediate condition for this in this teaching is he's doing this other teaching. So don't take this as being the final word or the only word maybe has to do with a particular person he was talking to, they described it this way. But the principle is what I want to emphasize here not the accuracy of each of these points. So that when it asks you know, someone asked about it, what's the, you know, from where it from where does quarreling come? What is the condition from which It comes, the Buddha answers it comes from liking and not liking, having preferences about things. We liked something we don't like something, we prefer one thing, we prefer something else. And if we can relax our quarreling, our disputes or arguing an argument to this, we might have a chance then to notice that underneath that we have a strong preference of small strong things we want to have and not want to have we like we don't like. And then the question is, where does that come from within us, and we dropped down another layer. And if you drop a layer, it becomes a little bit calmer state. And then from there, it says that in order to have preferences are liking and not liking the condition for that is desire. And not all desires are wrong, not all liking and disliking is wrong. But as we but they are activated states. And so we've noticed that as we relaxed the liking and not liking we notice we have a preference we have a desire, desire enough for one thing over another, but we have some deeper form of desire that has a calmer than the activated state of acting on liking enough liking and, and where does desire come from? And the answer there is that it comes from an things being either pleasant or unpleasant, that the the experience of pleasantness or things are something comfortable or nice for us to experience as the things are not nice or unpleasant. To be able to kind of be present for that level of pleasant and unpleasant is a calmer, more open state of awareness. So quarrels is very constricted attention. Liking and not liking is less constricted, there's more move movement and attention and it was more open. Dropping further ideas, just having simple desire and aware, though have desire, then we're not caught up in the objects of desire, the object will be like you're not like, and so we're more settled and relaxed, we see we have desire. If we relaxed the desire, we see that we're operating in relationship to things being pleasant and unpleasant. There's nothing necessarily wrong with pleasant or unpleasant. But it's a what's nice about it is that we're much more settled when we're just tuning into the direct experience here and now of how things are pleasant and unpleasant. And then where does pleasant and unpleasant come from. And then the Buddha says it comes from a sense contact, just kind of the the sense feelings that we have in our body. Their sense contact from that there's pleasant and unpleasant, from unpleasant, pleasant, unpleasant there becomes desires, from desires, there becomes liking and not liking preferences. And once we have liking and preferences, then there are we get corals when we can't get what we want. It's a very simple, maybe simplistic discussion. But the important point I want to say is is moving down through the layers. And coming to a place where if we can just be aware and relaxed, open, present moment awareness mindfully a present for the sense contact, there's the open awareness to sense contact as they come and go, then we don't have the constricted mind, then we have this greater sensitivity. And from there, we can tap into what Buddha called the contemplation or thinking from the womb, from a deeper source within a generative gestational source within for that is not a reactive way of thinking. But something that doesn't come from reactivity, but comes from a deep wisdom, deep inner source of consideration of openness, sensitivity. And from that place, we can now consider the conflict that we have with other people from a very different perspective than if we do it from caught up in the argument and yelling at people. So the Buddha right the reason that Buddha focuses on itself, really take a deep look at ourselves is not to dismiss the fact there's conflict. But that's where we can do the most important work sometimes to come to a place where we are ready to enter into the to discuss the conflict with someone in the best state of mind the best state of hearts as possible. And, and so this is one of the reasons why meditation is so useful if meditation helps us to deactivate we're defusing ourselves and disarming ourselves firmer, the kind of intensity You have the way we're angry or upset, that is not going to cause anybody any good. And we're trying to not deny what's happening or deny ourselves, but then come in from the best place possible. So, that's the beginning. And thank you very much for being here and I hope that this discussion this week on corals will make our world least the local world around us a more peaceful and and and compassionate world. Thank you.