Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Buddhism

1 – I have been thinking that the Occupy (name here) movement is futile in at least one sense: a whole lot of people are asking the very people who have taken all the money to give some of it back. Why would they do that? The 1% have spent a lot of energy setting up a system that make them and only them filthy rich. Take Egypt, a military commander (the top guy in the 1%) acted as dictator for decades. The Arab spring seemed to throw the dictator over at the demand of the people in the streets. But now a faceless military is dictating things. What changed?

2 – The banks, big biz, and the government, or at least the right wing parts of them, have yelled up and down that government should be run like businesses: lean and mean. They are right in a way. Government could be run like a business. But not the kind usually meant by the right wing. Let me explain: have you ever wondered why the biz/bank class want to limit the size of government? It’s because government can provide services at a very competitive rate. Governments compete with businesses. Like SAM of walmart fame is supposed to have said, destroy the competition.

Government is ideally a co-operative where the members (the citizens) pay a fee (based on a sliding schedule – taxes) and receive services in return. Because the co-op has so many members (the total population), economies of scale should make the government supply services better and cheaper than any smaller business – excepting of course that there is a lot of corruption in government, and except for the fact that we keep voting in people who would rather the co-operative business of government fails.

3 – Another thing. Why does it always take so long for rotten things to change? It’s because things work for lots of people and they don’t want to give up the things that work for them, even if they can see that it is not working for the majority. I suspect that even when the system is not working for one, many think that if they only do this or that they can be filthy rich too. And then when things also get really bad for them (or you, or me) we finally protest. But are we protesting so we can get on the gravy train, or so that everyone gets an equal share? Regardless, at some point the power structure hires lots of people who like playing with guns, and they tend to use these types as a military buffer between themselves and the people. We hope that guns in the streets of America will not happen.

4 – But why all this on a Zen blog? Think of the world as one big sanga, one big place where everyone helped everyone who was suffering, where compassion for others was the norm, where anyone who is suffering was listened to, when anyone who was in pain or ill or hungry had their pain assuaged. Can a Government be a sanga? Only if the people who were elected were well-trained in compassion and practised it on an everyday basis. Government based on the four noble truths and the eightfold path? Or, embody the love of Christianity (while forgetting all that mean-spirited hateful advice from Leviticus).

5 – Which brings me to my last point. I feel very positive about all the liberation movements that are happening now around the world – for one very good reason. People in the Occupied encampments are spontaneously setting up self-help resources, and resources to help others. People are being compassionate. And if they, and we, can keep it up, then there is no reason to think that compassion as the basis for government will fail.

Conclusion – There is only one problem. The government/ banks are not going to set up a compassionate government. They are trying to perpetrate the same system that made them filthy rich and bankrupted everyone else. But why play their game? Step aside. Ignore them. Take your money out of the too big to fail banks and put it into people oriented credit unions and other small local financial institutions. Or make up a completely new system and work it.

Oh yes. I asked what has changed? People are starting to realize that they can make things work for them. That they are not powerless.

I’ve been getting a few comments questioning me about suffering and pain, and so that is what my next post will be about.


Politics, Sex, Commercialism, Education

the scream

”Though they become our sworn enemies, reviling and persecuting us, we should regard them as bodhisattva manifestations who, in their great compassion, are employing skillful means to help emancipate us from the sinful karma we have produced over countless kalpas through our biased, self-centered views.” Torei Zenji (second entry, down the page a bit, under other sutras)


I’m cutting my latest loaf of sourdough this morning, and I think it is too wet and heavy. My partner again states that she really likes my bread because it is good for the sandwiches that she takes to work. She says the tomatoes don’t make the bread soggy. All well and good, but what am I doing worrying about making the perfect loaf (a delusional goal) when all around the world most people have a hard time finding enough to eat? I live like the kings of old were accustomed to living, in terms of creature comfort, not in terms of life and death over others. At least not that I’m aware of, or am I?

I was in at the swimming pool a couple of days ago and a fellow in the change room was musing about how it would be nice if the pool bought a heat-less spin dryer to dry the swimming suits. I pointed out that we were going to have to do it the old-fashioned way and dry the suits on a line. He pointed out that the ‘Y’ had a spin dryer. “Maybe the pool management is saving the cost of the electricity and the machine?” I suggested. And then he made what I thought was a nonsequitur. “Somebody pays,” he said. I offered,”Taxes.” He came back with, “Even people in the third world pay for us. They send us all their stuff.” He suggested I look up The Story of Stuff, which I pass on to you in the spirit of dancing lessons from god, or being aware of what is really going on in terms of commercialism and economy.

On many Buddhist themed blogs lately I have been reading various musings, some tortured, some determined, all reflecting on the sorry state of the world today. Topics range from poverty, sex, politics, commercialism to war. The eternal human stuff. Well, if I am going to write yet one more blog about zen, what is my stand on these topics? I started musing about what I thought about politics, although the topic, politics, stands in for all the other topics as a test case.

Lessons learned from Nathan’s blog and Peter’s blog. Nathan writes from a zen perspective, often wondering how things in the world look when subjected to a certain amount of introspection and analysis. Peter directly points to common concerns and often asks how certain difficult topics affect your life, how zen practice affects your perception of the world. Or at least this is sort of what I take from the two of them.

What does Buddhism tell us about the world? This is territory for the Four Noble Truths.

Looking at all the world’s problems from the perspective of the 4NTs

If all is suffering then all the worlds peoples are suffering. What causes suffering? Suffering is the result of having desire, but desire results from having an incorrect or incomplete view of reality. In short (in terms of Buddhism), suffering is the state of not being enlightened. If the great majority of the world’s peoples are short of enlightened then their pursuits, for the most part, can be nothing other than an engagement with and a further perpetration of suffering. When suffering is caused by misapprehension of self and the world, we have to ask what is the major error in perception. It seems to me that the major error is a person’s idea of self. The old zen saw: the problem of the ego. Suffering people often feel that they are more important than other suffering people, that their suffering is somehow more important or significant than other peoples’ suffering. Politics is often called the art of the possible, but it is really the art of one suffering person tying to get advantage over other suffering people. Yes, compromises do happen, but few people are ever satisfied with a compromise. Compromise rarely (like never) stops the suffering.

What is the enlightened person supposed to do? Or more realistically, what can anyone who is writing about zen do about politics when confronted with the solipsism of suffering? Suffering is a real thing. It is everywhere. As zen nuts we vow to alleviate it. Should we get involved with politics if politics does not really relieve suffering? That depends.

So what am I doing writing this blog? I am trying to look at the world from a zen perspective. Trying to be aware of what really is going on. What is really going on in politics is that people try to thrash out some workable compromise. But how can a compromise work unless it makes deluded suffering peoples stop blaming each other for their suffering? If we want to engage in politics we need to point out that what is good for one is what is exactly good for another and that unless the good becomes general, suffering ensues. Supposed enemies are not really enemies in the long run. They are merely suffering people who have the misguided idea that someone else is causing their suffering. Oh, yes, someone might shoot you. But the reason they do so is because they are suffering and have mistakenly blamed you for it. The only way to stop someone or their brother or sister or friend from shooting you in the future is to help them alleviate their suffering. To try to subject your enemies to suffering is no solution at all. The proof of this pudding is that we have an endless history of people blaming each other for their suffering and going to war to put and end to the situation and yet we still have suffering and war. All attempted solutions have so far not worked.

Politics to a zen nut has to be an attempt to educate people about the nature of suffering, and it cannot be making accusatory or judgemental statements, or trying to get the advantage over another. Zen does not cast blame. The “beam in your own eye” is the blame you (I) give others for your suffering.

This is a hard lesson, especially when someone is coming over the hill with guns intent on killing you. How does one have compassion for the person who is causing you pain? The only reason they are causing you pain is because they blame you for causing them pain. This situation is the universal suffering circle from hell.

I have absolutely no idea how to go about educating the world. All I can do is argue that the first step in ending suffering is to stop blaming others for your (mine, our) disease of suffering. Have compassion for the (metaphorical) suicide bomber who sees his/her life as so awful that the only way they can stop their suffering is to cause others to suffer. How to make their life one of less suffering? What do you think?

loving and dying with eyes wide open

'La mise en tombeau d'Atala' de Anne-Louis Girodet

I’ve been following Peter Renner’s blog (living and dying with eyes wide open) for some time now with much interest. A short while ago he did a series of posts about love and intimacy (Here and here and here). The posts themselves were (are – doesn’t everything exist forever on the internet!?) heartfelt, open and cogent to the problems we all have with loving ourselves enough to let others love us (and to let our selves love others). Even now after years of working on the problem, my early programed-in self-loathing can rear its head in response to the oddest triggers – dharma trying to teach me a new lesson about moment to moment love — and it can do so in the most dramatic and emotional of ways. The practice of zen, and a lot of therapy, has helped me to faster pop the rising bubbles of self-hatred (independent of the form it takes or the excuse it uses). But every once in a while a bubble can reach gigantic proportions before I can pop it and get back to being loving and caring towards myself and others, before I can stop hating myself enough to become compassionate again.

On the other hand, Renner’s post from August 28, 2010, raises what might seem to be a non-related matter: Death! Renner says that whenever he starts writing about death, the number of hits to his site go way down. He wonders if the reason is simply that people do not like to contemplate their own or anyone else’s death. Why not? Good question.

Ancient Greek thought had Eros and Thanatos as opposite heads of the coin called life. If this is so, love and death are necessarily intertwined. Buddhism tells us (please excuse the simplicity) that all is one, and that our task in becoming clear or enlightened or whatever, is to see how things really are.

So what is the relationship between love and death? Compassion is the highest form of love. Compassion for the universe requires us to see it as it is and then love it as it is while trying at the same time to alleviate suffering. The reality is that without death there would be no life or love. This makes me think that if we love life, or if the point of life is to love, then we must love death (all in its own good time, of course, no sense on missing out on our allotted life and love) for without death there would be no life or love.

But how to love death? Is not death the cause of the most suffering? Not necessarily. I argue that self-hatred (loathing, disgust etc.) is far more important. If we hate to think about death, then we do not love it. Why not? We all know the old saw: you have to love yourself in order to love another. Maybe we have to hate our selves before we can hate anything else, including death.

In one post Renner struggles (hard zen work) to learn the intimate difficulties of loving; and in another post, he struggles to learn the intimate difficulties attendant to the reality that we all die. Maybe the struggle is the same? All is one?

What I am trying to say here is that if we do not love ourselves then we cannot love others and more importantly we will fear death. To wit: one of the great difficulties in loving another being is the fear that the loved person will reject us. If they reject us it is easy to interpret the rejection as them saying we are bad. If we have any form of self-hatred then the rejection would confirm our worst thoughts about our self. The thing about death: we can see it as the worse rejection because it seems to totally remove any further chance that we can be loved either by our self (if we have not yet learned to do so), or by others. What it boils down to is that the prerequisite to being able to contemplate ones own death is that one must learn to have compassion for oneself.

Wish me luck in this endeavour and I wish you luck also. Or as they say, Namaste.

Right Action — Illicit Sex — Child Abuse

Wouldn’t it always be fun if when going through this exercise of mine I could always be nice, amusing, gentle and lyrical. But I’ve found that inspecting the basic tenets of Buddhism can throw some curve balls at you. Thinking about illicit sex is one such.

Illicit sex is defined on a continuum that runs from violence with a sexual component, through seduction with nefarious intent, to sexual harassment, to infidelity, to plain old-fashion sexism. It is a continuum that brings all sorts of suffering. What can we do to protect ourselves and our loved ones from harm? How should we treat the perpetrators? Buddhism requires us to treat both the victim and the perpetrator with compassion. But in order to do so, we have to have a good analysis of why illicit sex occurs and what its effects are. And we have to understand what compassion is, in general and in regards any specific event.

The oddest thing happened. As soon as I started thinking about the nature of illicit sex it became a topic of conversation around me. People kept asking me what I thought about the situation on Mayne Island where a known sex offender, a child sex tourist, is building a residence for himself. The amount of concern, distress and intellectual umbrage I have heard expressed has been impressive. The two most memorable statements, made from completely different points of view, have been, “Killing’s too good for them,” and, “How can we protect the children?”(You may want to listen to B.C. Almanac on CBC radio for June 2nd for a particular view on the subject.)

Sexual child abuse comes in many forms that run from the extreme causing death to the more common, physically non-violent form. Let me be clear, child abuse in all its forms is always violent. But when no physical violence other than the sex act itself occurs the violence is predominantly to the psyche.

A Quote from Wikipedia: The effects of child sexual abuse include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest.

Another qoute: Approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as ‘friends’ of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.

Think what you want about the accuracy of Wikipedia, it gives blunt numbers, whereas other sources, i.e. research statements, are necessarily more conditional, as befitting the intellectual constraints imposed on a scientific paper (see this for an example).

I give these few quotes and sources in order to show how necessary it is for us to figure out how to best abuse-proof our kids, and also, to show that we need to figure out how to prevent people from becoming abusers.

A question that has haunted me for some time: why does it often take an abused child years, decades to voice the fact that they were abused? Why should such a simple act as rubbing body parts together have such profoundly negative effects on an abused person’s life? — and negative effects are surely what happens, as outlined above.

The whole topic of child abuse is fraught with conflicting cultural attitudes. The most damaging attitude floating around is the often voiced defensive posture and the sometimes legally expressed belief that the child had agreed to have sexual relations with the abuser. A case in point happened in a famous Canadian court case where the judge stated that the abused person was partially implicated in his abuse in that he traded sex for favours from the abuser. The day after the verdict, the abused child, by then a grown adult, threw himself off a bridge.

I am aware of one case where a child, a boy, about four or five years old, after numerous sexual encounters, was told by his abuser that girls were better. The child was subsequently ignored by the man. The boy, knowing that he wanted the love of this relative, apparently the only adult to have spent any ‘quality’ time with the boy, found himself for the next many decades longing to become, thinking he should become a female. The longing only disappeared when he realized that he had always felt self-loathing for being a male because he felt his maleness made him not good enough to love.

I think the boy picked up the idea of not being good enough not only from the male relative’s verbal rejection but from the male relative’s own feeling about himself, which was likely self-loathing. Self-loathing transferred one generation to another through some kind of genetically programmed mimicry. We learn from the examples around us. We internalize the emotional realities of our role models.

An abused child also becomes aware of our culture’s general disapproval for anyone who engages in sex outside of marriage. Go read Saint Paul’s opinion that marriage is the only way to save yourself from the damnation of sex.

Self-hatred and self-loathing in all their various forms hinder the abused person in all their future endeavours. There are only a few people who can succeed in spite of their bad self-image.

Another reason sexually abused people might not like to reveal themselves is that perpetrators, for the most part, are themselves sexually abused children, albeit grown older. Given the faulty logic rampant in our culture’s attitudes and expressions, the child would naturally think they are going to be perceived as abusers, or as potential abusers, if they ever tell their story. There is no logical reason to assume that if you were sexually abused you will go on to become an abuser: there are many many more who are abused than who are abusers.

Compassion for the abused child is an easy thing to feel. But it is not so easy to help them overcome their understandable fear and unfortunate guilt.

What about Buddhistic compassion for the perpetrator? If we have compassion for the sexually abused child, how do we feel towards the perpetrator when we know that he or she was once an abused child?

Try to look on the act of abusing someone as an expression of an emotional disease (admittedly a disease of great magnitude with great negative effect upon the body and mind of others). What do we do with people who have horrid diseases that have horrendous symptoms? Do we get mad at them? Do we kill them? We do not. If the disease is contagious and cannot be cured, we isolate the infected. Other times, due to the lesser severity of a disease, we inoculate the population in order to make them immune.

Infected people need to be identified, and the people most vulnerable to the effects of the infection need to be kept away from the infected until they are strong enough to fend off the disease themselves. At no point should we mistake someone who was affected by early contact with the disease, but who fended it off and who did not become a further point of contagion, for someone who succumbed and became infectious. Just because a person has been abused is no reason to think that they are a danger. A sad fact of life is that we can only know the abusers (the murderers, the thieves) after they have done the deed. They best way we have to prevent child abuse is by teaching the children how to avoid illicit encounters.

On Mayne Island the perpetrator has been identified. Parents will not let their youngest children near him. Children there who have somewhat independent lives need to have him pointed out to them, they need to be taught to stay away from him, and they need to be taught the reasons for doing so. As for the rest of us, we need to feel compassion for the man in his pain, even while we try to prevent him from projecting it onto others. Better still, our compassion might take the form of trying to find a way of curing him.

Unfortunately, in our time, we have not yet figured out much about what makes someone tick, nor what do about it once their tick is broken? (In this time of cultural greed we no longer support much in the way of research) Compassion is in not condemning the man (condemn only the disease). In the case of sexual abuse of children, compassion can be expressed by personal education and by supporting psychiatric research in the hope of finally finding a cure for the disease so we can prevent it from flourishing.

Personal Attacks, Suffering and the Great Vow Monastery

According to the rules I set myself for this blog, I was to post once a week. I was to talk about various specific parts of fundamental zen thought as they pertained to my daily life. Well, if I set the rules, I can break them. The problem for me today being that according to those rules I should be writing about sex as it pertains to Right Action. I’m having a hard time with the subject. But then I suspect that this would be normal, at least for most people of my generation, many of us being afflicted with a somewhat checkered past in respect to sex, specifically how we were harmed and how we harmed others. It’s not that I have any trouble remembering all the humiliations I caused myself, or the pain I felt because of sex, its just that sex is a pretty fraught subject and cannot be thrown off lightly.

Don’t talk about politics, religion or sex!

I want to get what I say right. I want to get what I say right from a Buddhist point of view. Is there a right point of view? What I mean is that I want to make sure that I don’t say anything that might be misunderstood. My post is in draft and it is coming along.

Instead, today, I want to say a few things about the Great Vow Monastery.

My friend Peter has just gone down for a three week residency at the monastery. At the same time I have been presented with a rather emotionally charged situation in that someone I know is dumping a rather complicated set of emotions at my feet and implying that I caused them and so am responsible for their feelings. Things said hurt my feelings. But the hurt did not last long because I can see that the attacks are not really personal. The poor distressed person has, through their stories, told me often enough that they have felt badly in this way (and act out because of it) all their life. And I haven’t known the person long enough to have caused the great suffering the person is blaming me for. So what has this to do with Great Vow?

When I was there I was totally impressed by the dedication of Chozen and Hogen, joint head teachers of the monastery, both allowed to hold the title of Roshi. I saw them living side by side with a large number of impermanent and permanent guests, all of whom, being human, suffer histories. The role of Chozen and Hogen appeared to me to be like benevolent loving parents (in loco parentis) for a whole lot of people who had not been loved properly but who seemed to want to learn to love. I am not trying to say that the people at the monastery are anymore screwed up than anyone else in the world. The fact that they are at the monastery is a great sign in that they are on the road to recovery. I’m saying this from the point of view of someone who thinks we are all screwed up (including myself), and that some of us unfortunately do not know it. The some of us who are fortunate enough to know the extent of our suffering are sometimes inspired to try to learn how not to suffer and how not to cause suffering.

My role in my present situation is that I have to be the local parent for the someone who is suffering and acting it out against me. My partner says that in a way the person is doing so because they see in me someone strong enough not to screw the situation up and who will act with compassion in the face of the personal attacks. Well, I don’t know if I am strong. But given that I can remember two teachers who seemed to be holding up well in the face of the hard and exhausting demands of their position as exemplars of compassion, I can have faith that such a thing can be done and therefor, if I try hard, I won’t screw up my situation too badly.

Eightfold Path — Right Action — Part 2

Galiano Redirectory - free stuff

I am trying to illustrate what each section of the Eightfold path means to me in my daily routines. I am dealing now with Right Action. So far I’ve tried to talk about the idea that Right Action means do not kill. You and I are probably not going to do much in the way of killing other human beings. Inadvertently we do do a lot of killing of smaller creatures: bugs down through bacteria and viruses. Some of us take on the task of being vegetarians in order to learn more about the seemingly grim fact that life comes out of death. We train ourselves to become kind, gentle people.

But what about Right Action when it means do not steal?

The other day I was out getting the mulch I mentioned in the last post. It was up at the Redirectory, Galiano’s free store. Over the winter the hydro crew had trimmed the trees along all the hydro lines and chipped all the branches. Galiano is an island and there is no handy dump to get rid of the large amounts of vegetable matter generated by the trimming process. You used to be able to flag the crew down and get them to dump a load in your yard. But then, how I don’t know, someone hit upon the great idea of dumping the chips in the Redirectory yard. The Redirectory staff put out a cardboard sign, “Mulch. Take as much as you can – Donate if you can.”

So I’m thinking, I like money. I buy needed stuff with it. I could not donate. The rub was that pesky phrase on the sign, “if you can”. Well of course I could donate. And if I could donate, the contract to be able to take what I could was to donate. If I didn’t donate, I would go around for the rest of the day, or the week, feeling guilty that I had taken something that wasn’t rightfully mine, and I would feel guilty until I forcefully forgot about it or until I did donate. Wondering why I should have spent the last ten seconds thinking no one would know if I didn’t donate (after all, I tried to argue, I bet there are lots of people who don’t donate), I lay down my shovel and walked over to the free store and donated some bucks. The look of delight that lit up the staff member’s face was a free gift to me.

The odd thing is that just a few days ago a good friend donated a free gift of money to me so I could undertake a journey that I needed to make and wasn’t making, probably out of fear. So, armored with this generous gift, I girded my loins and did that thing. The gift of money went to donations. And then the odd thing kept getting odder; the original gift of money is still being donated by me, here and there, and the money doesn’t seem to be running out.

There are a lot of things we can do, and there are a lot more things we aren’t able to do. The worse thing about life is that there are an infinite number of things that can never be our responsibility to do; solving other peoples’ spiritual problems comes to mind. What we can do is donate a little time (a little money), and a little un-self-interested attention, and all these things amount to love in the form of compassion.

I guess what I am trying to say is we can rob others of what might rightfully be theirs (sometimes the same act robs everyone), but why would we rob ourselves of our birthright – Delight when someone does not suffer from our actions.

source of picture above


So that you know, I intend to post here once a week, with whatever I’ve got. Right now this will happen on irregular days as I am in the middle of a move of house. Wonderful chaos. Later, when my life gets settled, I’ll post on a specific day of the week.

A word about what I am going to be doing (I have to keep clarifying this until I know). My major question is, “What is zen in the west?” Every time I post, I will posit some relevant question that I will try to answer (in an unavoidably intellectually manner) about some aspect of zen practice, trying to figure out what prevents zen from being more accessible to westerners. But as an anodyne to the head stuff, I will also include some emotional/anecdotal story that speaks to the post. At present I am one emotional post behind.

Last post I talked about the central zen concern for compassion. So where was my compassion a few days ago when at 4:30 in the morning I pulled on my housecoat and went out on the balcony to tell the yahoos in the next apartment to take their party indoors. I growled at them in my father’s disapproving voice.

It’s not that the fellow next door is a bad guy. He’s pleasant when not drunk. It’s only that after his girlfriend left him, and after a hard day in the restaurant industry, serving, he seems to need what he thinks is a little distraction. He gets rather boozed up with his friends. Every two weeks. Sometimes the parties go on until 4:00 the next afternoon, with a lot of yelling angrily and falling down.

So there the poor guy is, out on his balcony, surrounded by his friends, loosing face because he’s already been issued a letter from the management company telling him to stop waking people up or he’ll get evicted, and I’m complaining to him. He can only take it as a threat. He tries to explain his situation. But I’m not interested and tell him to, “Take it inside.” As I go back into my apartment, I hear him say. “Next time I see him in the hallway I’ll….” I cut the sound of his voice off, pulling the sliding door closed behind me.

My body is humming with adrenaline. Can’t get to sleep. Worried that I’ve increased the poor man’s suffering. I did him no good. He’ll be worried that he’s going to be evicted. And moving is a drag.

But the poor guy can’t help himself. At 6:30 in the morning he’s out on the balcony again, waking my partner this time, even though she’s wearing ear plugs and all our windows are closed.

Luckily I’m going to have tea with my friend the next morning ( a two person sangha). I know that when I tell him about the bump in the night the adrenaline will go away, I won’t have to carry the concern any longer. It’s sort of like going to confession. Blurt it all out and I’ll be absolved. My friend tells me that my compassion was in the way I spoke of the man, worried about his binge drinking, his situation, and in my awareness that my actions did not seem to help. But then, who knows. Maybe with me as the big bad boogeyman, he received enough of a shock that when he sobered up he might have figured out how to will pick himself up and really see. I don’t know. All I know is I have to constantly pick myself up and try to use the next situation as the dharma gate that will teach more about the state of my own compassion.