Looking and looking, just as the historical Buddha did, and not believing the first thought that pops into our heads is a very sane way of proceeding… how clear am i about what is going on, what am i up to, am i making assumptions… or running a habitual pattern of thinking?
– In a previous post i mentioned the killing of a wasp outside the bread shop which made no sense at all, particularly when you could see that there are many more wasps inside the shop.
– A charm seller outside a mosque is told to leave by a young muslim woman. He calls out to his friends saying that she is American who has just burnt the Koran. She is horribly murdered in front of hundreds of bystanders…. none of whom asked to see the ashes or check her nationality.
– My brother had his skull fractured by a deranged man wielding a machete on the basis that my brother was American and therefore implicated in the troubles of the Arab world. He is English and the result is much pain for him and no benefit to anyone else, just as it would have been if he were in fact American.
Although we might think that we ourselves would never make such daft mistakes I’m not so sure we can be certain. The are three cases of unreliable evidence which made me think again. Some long time ago some jewellery was stolen and ‘the perpetrator’ was identified in a lineup, convicted and incarcerated. Having served his time he was released but a short while later the same series of events was repeated. And it was whilst in prison on the second occasion that another jewellery robbery took place, a man was arrested and it became clear that he was responsible for the two previous burglaries. So an innocent man who looked like the burglar was ‘positively’, but incorrectly, identified on two separate occasions.
Another example is of two women who had been followed and attacked insisting that the attack had been carried out by five people. In fact CCTV showed that although there were five people walking with them initially, by the time the attack occurred there were only three perpetrators, the other two had left and were innocent of the charges against them.
Also, when a stabbing was carried out on an underground train many of those interviewed said that it was a black man who wielded the knife however it was in fact the white man sitting next to him. This latent discrimination points to the store cupboard of unexamined possibilities for projection and projecting out fear combined with a good bag of assumptions recently led to a Spanish actor being removed from a flight. He had been reciting Tibetan prayers at takeoff and had set a meditation timer… but it was assumed that he was reciting the Koran and the words destruction and similar had been clearly overheard – well he did have a beard!
The dharma would suggest that we are all de-ranged to some degree in our behaviours and greatly in our mis-identifications …looking to see our own blindnesses is hard, we’re a bit too close, good teachers can help with this and meditation practice can bring more calmness and clarity and a much broader perspective to each moment.