“We should all withdraw once a day at least, not only from the world’s outer activities but also from one’s own inner conflicts. “
– Sherman Dahl, EDF
“Introspection into the way things is simply this: When a disturbing emotion arises within you, one should naturally inquire: What is it disturbing? Once wisdom and concentration are applied, one will see that what is being disturbed is the ultimate and original being that is peace and love, which is deep within you. It is that being that is you in deep sleep and the being that was you as a two-year-old child, which is undisturbed. This greater and permanent being is still there but one tends to forget its existence as it is covered by the little self, which is just streams of never-ending thought, the insane gift of a higher being, not bestowed on an ant. The true being is the undisturbed higher self that is love, peace and sanity. What you have become is simply a result of all your thoughts and perceptions. Self-realization is the seeing of that truth making the seeker the seer of all thought in the universe to which you have created in the picture show playing in your mind. All pleasure and pain can only be thought which will dissolve in perfect awareness of where it arose, leaving only the supreme being – which must be the creator of all thought, which must be you – making you very special indeed.”
– Sherman Dahl, The Emily Dahl Foundation
A Well-Known Buddha Story – From the Jakata Tales
The Buddha, in one of his former lives, was in Hell. Before he became a Buddha, he had suffered a lot in many lives. He made a lot of mistakes, like all of us. He made himself suffer, and he made people around him suffer. Sometimes he made very big mistakes, and that is why in one of his previous lives he was in Hell.
The Buddha was in Hell because he had done something wrong, extremely wrong, that caused a lot of suffering to himself and to others. That is why he found himself in Hell. In that life of his, he hit the bottom of suffering, because that Hell was the worst of all Hells. With him there was another man, and together they had to work very hard, under the direction of a soldier who was in charge of Hell. It was dark, it was cold, and at the same time it was very hot. The guard did not seem to have a heart. It did not seem that he knew anything about suffering. He did not know anything about the feelings of other people, so he just beat up the two men in Hell. He was in charge of the two men, and his task was to make them suffer as much as possible.
That guard must have also suffered a lot. It looked like he didn’t have any compassion within him. It looked like he didn’t have any love in his heart. It looked like he did not have a heart. He behaved like a robber. When looking at him, when listening to him, it did not seem that one could contact a human being, because he was so brutal. He was not sensitive to people’s suffering and pain. That is why he was beating the two men in Hell and making them suffer a lot. And the Buddha was one of these two men in one of his previous lives.
The guard had an instrument with three iron points, and every time he wanted the two men to go ahead, he used this to push them on the back, and of course blood came out of their backs. He did not allow them to relax; he was always pushing and pushing and pushing. He himself also looked like he was being pushed by something behind him. Have you ever felt that kind of pushing behind your back? Even if there was no one behind you, you have felt that you were being pushed and pushed to do things you don’t like to do, and to say the things you don’t like to say, and in doing that you created a lot of suffering for yourself and the people around you. Maybe there is something behind us that is pushing and pushing. Sometimes we say horrible things, and do horrible things, that we did not want to say or do, yet we were pushed by something from behind. So, we said it, and we did it, even if we didn’t want to do it. That was what happened to the guard in Hell: he tried to push, because he was being pushed. He caused a lot of damage to the two men. The two men were very cold, very hungry, and he was always pushing and beating them and causing them a lot of problems.
One afternoon, the man who was the Buddha in a former life saw the guard treating his companion so brutally that something in him rose up. He wanted to protest. He knew that if he intervened, if he said anything, if he tried to prevent the guard beating the other person, that he would be beaten himself. But that something was pushing up in him, so that he wanted to intervene, and he wanted to say: “Don’t beat him so much. Why don’t you allow him to relax? Why do you have to stab him and to beat him and to push him so much?” Deep within the Buddha was a pressure coming up, and he wanted to intervene, even knowing perfectly well that if he did, he would be beaten by the guard. That impulse was very strong in him, and he could not stand it anymore. He turned around, and he faced the guard without any heart, and said, “Why don’t you leave him alone for a moment? Why do you keep beating him and pushing him like that? Don’t you have a heart?”
That was what he said, this man who was to be the Buddha. When the guard saw him protesting like that, and heard him, he was very angry, and he used his fork, and he planted it right in the chest of the Buddha. As a result, the Buddha died right away, and he was reborn the very same minute into the body of a human being. He escaped Hell, and became a human being living on earth, just because compassion was born in him, strong enough for him to have the courage to intervene to help his fellow man in Hell.
The Emily Dahl Foundation
May 16, 2021