The horrifying massacre at Charlie Hebdo in Paris this week has been another reminder of the incomprehensible form of what Buddhists call the 3 kleshas. These are the characteristics of life in this Saha world that keep us cycling through birth and death in apparently endless succession. The kleshas are
• lust, passion or greed
• hostility, anger, or aggression
• dullness, stupidity or laziness
The murderous actions of these wanna-be Muslims demonstrate once more the capacity of humans to sink to the bottom of the barrel. There is no defense, no justification, no rationale for this. Its plain and simple mindless brutality and terror.
It is a challenge for any of us in any religious tradition to uncover common humanity, forgiveness and compassion for these perpetrators. This is not unique. We face this regularly with the Robert Picktons, Paul Bernardos and Luka Magnottas who parade their viciousness across the media.
We often hear that ours is a practice of non-judging and acceptance. This does not mean we are numb or passive about such atrocities. It certainly does not mean we accept such acts. Non-judgment in Dharma practice means we can acknowledge and condemn the shameless violation of the standards for human behaviour while, at the same time, acknowledging the presence of the kleshas in all our lives. We can find forgiveness and compassion through accepting how all humans are capable of such brutality, and are also capable of escaping that three-pronged curse through a life of honest faith. The pathetic excuse of espousing violence as a religious duty only deepens the stains of ignorance, selfish greed and aggression, only embeds the actors deeper in the endless suffering of samsara. May there be peace for all the heart-broken families.
Yours in the Dharma,
om namo amida butsu