Every day in the news we hear about aggression, violence, and conflict. What does Buddhism have to teach us about the nature of this? How do we learn to recognize the roots of aggression in ourselves, and to let them go? This month I'm featuring two articles that discuss two different Buddhist teachings that offer us insight on aggression. In the first, I discuss Mahayana Buddhism's teachings on the six realms of existence, which can be better understood as teachings on the states of mind, including aggressive, violent ones:
The Six Realms of Existence in Buddhism
Buddhism defines six realms of existence that a sentient being may be born into based on karma, ranging from a god-realm to a hell realm. Learn what these realms are, why a human birth is considered the most auspicious, and how we can understand the relevance of these realms to our daily life.
In terms of our own practice, the work of Pema Chodron has long been a favorite of mine, and her book Taking the Leap directly addresses facing the darker aspects of our own being:
Taking the Leap, by Pema Chodron
Buddhist nun Pema Chodron's latest book offers insight into how we can work with the triggers of our daily lives, and transmute them into opportunities for spiritual growth and awakening. Buddhists and non-Buddhists will benefit from this gem of a book.
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In closing, here's a passage from Pema Chodron on what we can learn from negative emotions:
"…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are."
― Pema Chödrön
Lisa Erickson, Buddhism Editor
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