4.9
December 3, 2010

Buddhism Kicks Ass: The Four Karmas & Mahakala [protector principle; transmuting aggression].

The Buddhist view of Aggression.

What’s the role of aggression in an enlightened world? Would it just go away? What should our relationship to anger be?

Suppress it? No.

Get into it? Please, no.

So, what?

Student: Can you apply the same approach to anger? If I’m angry, instead of either expressing or suppressing it, can I just relate to it? Can I stop the anger and just relate to the thought process?

Chogyam Trungpa: “You don’t stop the anger, you just are the anger. Anger just hangs out as it is. That is relating with the anger. Then the anger becomes vivid and directionless, and it diffuses into energy. The idea of relating with it has nothing to do with expressing yourself to the other person. The Tibetan expression for that is rang sar shak, which means “leave it in its own place.” Let anger be in its own place.” For more.

Buddhism is all about peace, love and understanding. Generosity, Discipline, Patience, Exertion, Meditation and Wisdom. True, true.

Still…

…there’s a long proud tradition of warriorship in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, full of stories about cutting off folks’ heads and burying them upside down. Is this just a barbaric hangover from pre-Buddhist Tibetan days? Or is there a place for ‘kicking ass’ within a peace-focused life?

We all know and understand the notion of “tough love”—a momma hollering at a child about to touch a hot oven. That kind of aggression is with the benefit of others in mind. Conventional aggression—my temper tantrums, for example—rises rather out of confusion, neurosis, frustration, klesha.

In my days as a Dharma Brat, growing up in an American Buddhist family, we studied the Four Karmas. Karma, in Buddhism, simply means action. The four actions, which are sequential, are:

1. Pacifying. If that doesn’t work, you move on to…

2. Enriching. If that doesn’t work, you move on to…

3. Magnetizing. If that doesn’t work, you move on to…

4. Destroying.

Here’s a link I found re the four karmas on Psychology Today, of all places.

Thank you to Dharma Gallery for the featured image.

And here’s my podcast, with more discussion and some depth on this important subject.

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