In the West, Buddhism has long been a garden of compassion. Sort of a cool shelter in the midst of burning civilization. That’s why, at the end of 1960 Martin Luther King Jr. nominated Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, in 1989 His Holiness the Dalai Lama was actually awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Sadly, in early July 2013 in Bodhgaya India – the place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment – terrorist bomb exploded. The question then, will the civilization lose one of the cool shelters?
In Growing One Finds Balance
To be honest, life is like garden that keeps growing. Not like sprint where there is final line. This month flower of success blooming, next month weeds of failure emerge. Only by keep loving, then life becomes land of growth. The situation is similar to riding a bicycle, balance is found only when the bike keep moving.
In this understanding, enlightenment is not a life that is always peaceful and happy. Enlightenment is a state of mind that keep flowing and uniting as well. It is like the well experienced gardener. Flower bloom is a gift, but any flower will become waste in the next day. Whether one like or not, weeds keep appearing, and gardener will clean it again and again without any complain. Primarily because the nature of the flowers droop, the nature of the weeds keep appearing. As a result, the beauty of flower does not create any attachment, the appearance of weed does not cause any anger.
That’s why, in Zen many highly realized masters who use garden as a means of growth as well as a mirror of attainment. Garden is a means of growth because it facilitates gardener to grow along with the plants. Parks are mirror of attainment because it gives feed back to gardeners how perfect their compassion is. One who diligently practice meditation like this, one day he/she will understand that balance (by which read: enlightenment) is found only in growth.
Violence Opens Door of Compassion
Lightened by the art of gardening, enlightened beings see violence differently. Similar to park, violence is like trees that dry. Trees withered not because of their willing, but because we failed to water them. There are long list of our failures in watering the dry trees of violence. From parents who are not ready to be a parent, schools that fail to soften the heart of students, religion that is translated for the interest of power, the poor role model of leaders, until the medias who like to preach violence.
In the midst of this failure, ones who commit violence are just “victims” of a dry environment, not the true “actor” of violence. Sadly, these victims then chased, shot and killed.
In this light, violence is an energy that reminding people to keep watering the garden of life. Borrowing a number of studies on the fundamentalists, fundamentalists assumed that they are going to be attacked. In other words, there are fire of suspicion and anger in their mind. And this kind of fire can only be extinguished by the holy water of compassion.
Darkness Makes Light Even Brighter
In the path of compassion, violence is not seen like the soldiers who carry guns, violence is seen as fire that crying for water. In the other analogy, violence is the same as darkness. Darkness is not the enemy of light, darkness makes light shines even brighter.
In some traditions, this time is called dark age. There are a lot of signs. From war, conflict, corruption. However, in the hands of the enlightened beings, darkness is seen as an opportunity to turn on the light. That’s why, being enlightened in the dark age is like being the alchemist who transform iron into gold, in the east the alchemist transform poison into medicine. Violence is like poison, but when it is appropriately blended, then it becomes a medicine that heals.
Hydrogen and oxygen are closer to fire, but when both are blended appropriately into H2O, it becomes water which is cool and soft. This latest smart blending that can extinguish fires of violence as well as watering the garden of life. In the language of meditation, whatever happens just “rest” (read: see thing as it is). Not like the ordinary rest, but rest in compassion. Rest and compassion, that’s how poison of dark age is transformed into medicine that cure. From a heart that has been sprinkled by holy water of compassion ever heard a touching message like this: “Violence can destroy holy sites, but violence can not destroy a compassionate heart”.