Published Wednesday, 11 December 2019
If spoken to harshly,
make yourself as silent as a cracked gong;
non-retaliation is a sign of freedom.
The impulse to retaliate when we are spoken to harshly can feel so right. However, in this verse our Teacher the Buddha is advising wise restraint. Silence doesn't necessarily denote weakness. It might appear thus, but the way things appear to be on the outside and how they actually are in terms of reality, can be totally otherwise. At this time of the year many of the plants in the garden look thoroughly dead (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Hopefully, though, we know enough about gardening to not automatically pull all the plants out just because they don't look nice in December. To live our lives in a way that is aligned with the path of true freedom requires a quality of discernment that is able to see beyond the mere surface appearance. Our commitment to spiritual training is in service to developing this discernment.