The Egoism of Terrorism


A meditation on Bodh Gaya: Prem Geet draws from Buddhism and Judaism to get her heart around the madness.

Osho says, “Violence is nothing but unlived love.” With Bodh Gaya under attack by bullies, I felt drawn to read the Heart Sutra from Buddhism and also search through the Old Testament where I find inspiration through the eyes of King Solomon.

King Solomon lived in a time where people had a very beautiful understanding of Shekinah, the primordial feminine spirit of God, an unapproachable divine light that literally dwelled in King Solomon’s Temple. More sensitive perhaps, the people of that time seem to have been able to actually see Shekinah as a divine light or as a cloud that followed them in times of exile.

Divine Light

As a visible manifestation of the divine presence, the Cosmic Mother of the Trinity is also referred to in the Talmud, saying that Shekinah comes to rest on humans only in joy.

The mystical Zohar text describes a relationship to G_d that feels tender and considerate of the Holy One, regarding the Divine not as a punisher but as a sweet, delicate orb of light that is so sensitive she simply leaves when something less than love is happening.

According to the Zohar, and other scriptures, it is said that upon the death of Jesus, the massive temple veil was torn and the temple walls cracked. Some say the earthquake was the exiting of Shekinah.

Can you also imagine Shekinah leaving upon the Bodh Gaya desecration? In a world that desperately needs light, imagine the bombers practicing the Heart Sutra long enough to experience the ultimate un-doing with:

“There is no ignorance,
and no end to ignorance.
There is no old age and death,
and no end to old age and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering,
no end to suffering, no path to follow.
There is no attainment of wisdom,
and no wisdom to attain.
The Bodhisattvas rely on the Perfection of Wisdom,
and so with no delusions,
they feel no fear,
and have Nirvana here and now.”

I really love imagining Shekinah, our god consciousness, as a sensitive, beautiful divine she spirit who withdraws when things around her become unconscious as they did at Bodh Gaya. Considering god’s feelings puts us into a closer relationship to her.

How am I
treating the
god in me?
How am I
treating the god
in you?

In a violent, crazy world, the humble human position is one of living as a question. How am I treating the god in me? How am I treating the god in you? Does our daily consciousness entreat Shekinah to stay with us in spite of the chaos and destruction? As our innermost divine self, we must somehow entreat Shekinah to burn brighter in us and through us as the world darkens. It will always come down to choice, awareness and love in the moment.

It is somewhat ironic that from a Buddhist perspective, Bodh Gaya cannot be destroyed even if it is completely razed by terrorists. In the Heart Sutra, Avalokiteshvara explains how all phenomena are expressions of emptiness. Because phenomena are empty, they are neither born nor destroyed and they are neither pure nor defiled. While the grievous bombing strikes at the emotional heart, the perfected equanimity of the Heart Sutra is far more than consolation; it describes the way things are:

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.”

The egoism of terror must then be empty, too.

Consciousness is indestructible. The Dalai Lama has described the subtle level of “clear light” that continues after one’s death. Buddha relieved a seeker’s grief about the death of a loved one when he said the truth was, “Nothing happened.”

My idea is nonviolence should be out of an abundance of power. Don’t use that power to kill, to destroy; but use that power to create, to protect. And if anybody tries to harm you or anybody else, do everything to prevent that harm.

Violence has to be completely removed from the world, but it can happen only if nonviolent people are powerful; otherwise, how can you manage? If violent people are powerful and nonviolent people are powerless, then the violent people will overrule the nonviolent. That has been our experience of two thousand years. I don’t support weakness. I support power; but power with compassion, love and creativity.

Osho, The Last Testament, Vol. 4, Ch 18

Prem Geet

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