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January 06, 2014

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Ben Howard

Thanks for posting this, Barry. Is the text a poem by Kundera, or as his prose been versified?

In my experience, looking into the present moment, rather than eluding it, can also induce feelings of sadness, but with practice those feelings can be held in awareness rather than spiral downward into depression. Does that accord with your experience?

Barry Briggs

Ben, I came across this passage with no context - so I don't know how Kundera intended it.

My experience is consistent with yours. In the Korean tradition, there is a phrase that appears in some chants: "dae ja, dae bi."

This is usually translated as "great love, great compassion," but a more literal translation would be "great love, great sorrow." This sorrow, or sadness, is what naturally arises when we perceive the cries of the world. Compassion co-arises with this deep perception.

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  • Zen teachers sometimes use the Ten Ox Herding Pictures to describe the path of awakening. Within this metaphorical framework, the ox symbolizes the secretive, unruly human mind.
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