Bodhisattvacharyavatara by Acharya Śāntideva
Chapter VI– verses 22-23
Transglomeration: Whatever offends, is faulty, makes mistakes, has shortcomings, transgresses, and whoever commits misdeeds or evil, whoever acts negatively, errs or commits crimes, in whatever various and diverse ways, all of these arise through the force of implacable causes and conditions and do not operate under their own power, nor do they just happen on their own, spontaneously or self-directed; independence is not known.
~~~ “BCA” ~~~
Reflection: nothing happens by itself; nothing is evil in itself, everything just reacts to conditions; this is a wondrous verse; this applies to all mistakes, all degenerations, all faults, it makes these things easier to be patient with because they do not obviously act by agent, they just happen, there is no one to blame; it applies to actions of creatures (a bit more difficult to be patient with because there is the possibility that the damage might have been avoidable, ‘it might not have been’, ‘the creature needn’t have acted as it did, but, really, the tendency to fear, and react to it, is a stronger impulse); it applies to all (seemingly) wilful actions of people, that people seem to be able to choose what they say and do and can therefore be held accountable for what they choose (they could have chosen otherwise – therefore it is very easy to bear judgement on others and have a strong sense of righteousness about that judgement, therefore the anger can be strong and atrocious), but the force of the verse is that, nevertheless, even the most ‘evil’ are subject to the most complicated macro- and micro- conditions of their/our own making;
Reflection: this observation (everything is caused and conditioned) muddies things up – everything happens because of causes and conditions, everything is just so much more complicated and webbed ‘behind’ the event than just the happening of the event itself; whereas a quick judgement, a quick clearing out of all the complicating considerations (in fact a snap-ignoring of all the complicating considerations), makes it all so much clearer and straight-forward to act with anger; considering the muddy web takes so much time and never arrives back at a beginning point from which to start assessment or reaction – making a snap-judgement makes immediate action (or re-action) possible; anger is just lazy, anger can’t be bothered with all this consideration because itjustneedstoact in order to preserve its own sense of identity and worth, especially as an unhappy state of mind was making it feel unsteady and worthless in the first place; and anger is so quick, like a flick of a switch, almost before the echo of the event has had a chance to die down, someone skilled at dropping-all-else-to-be-angry can be in a state of full-blown anger: judged, raged, threat and punishment already delivered … wh’; it is so quick, and makes life so clear; therefore, abstaining from anger requires a lot of slowing down so that that switch isn’t just flicked without thought, and it requires taking the much bigger picture into consideration, which requires that your precious and squeamish self not be so afore-committed to any situation that requires any sort of self-defence or damage-limitation on its behalf – slow and steady; and you don’t need to know all of the intricacy of each web that leads up to each bark, you just need to know, on the moment, that there ‘are reasons’ for why whatever-is-happening is happening … bigger picture, karma, don’t join in, don’t get in the way, but then, don’t flinch away from it, don’t be callous, care and say “I’m sorry” (it’s come to this)
Practice: this leaves a world barren of enemies and evil, a world in which there is nothing to blame, but only the realisation that nothing and nobody is in control of itself; there is just the under- and over-weave of flow – view the world as such, view others as such