Teachings Emotions  

Positive and Negative Power
Yin and Yang



Enlightenment doesn’t mean we should all together eliminate the emotions.
We just know how to use them.

From News 51, Aphorisms
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
(Originally in English)

To be detached doesn’t mean that you become a stone or wooden statue. Being detached means that you have to do what you have to, but that is not important. If you don’t have to, or if you can’t do it, it is okay, too. If you have to do it, you do it and then forget about it. You don’t kill yourself over some problem of the world or a personal setback. You try to solve your problem as best as you can at that moment. Maybe tomorrow you, “see things differently, and then you.” do it differently. Today, you see it that way, and you do it that way. But then you are not overly grieved about this thing, and you forget it. We do still have sorrow, happiness, stress and all that; but the thing is that we forget it quickly, we overcome it fast.

More detachment comes later; as the days pass by, you become more detached in a very subtle way. So even though sometimes you are angry or you are crying, you feel that you are very detached from that emotion. You still let the emotion show but you are detached from it. In the depths of your heart, you know this is nothing. I can cry, but I can also stop. And why should I stop? Why should I make the effort or trouble to stop? If you need to stop, then you stop; if you need to cry, just cry. You just know that you are in control of that emotion. It is okay. To be detached means that: Okay, you see yourself cry, but then you aren’t overwhelmed by it. You let it be. You don’t make it a more important issue and cling to that crying or that sadness all the time. Just let it be, and then move on.

From “The True Meaning of ‘Detachment’ ”
News 89, Pearls Of Wisdom
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
International four-day Retreat in Washington, D.C., USA
December 25, 1997
(Originally in English)

Q: I often find myself feeling anger and hatred. I think that's preventing me from knowing this wisdom. I see people who have a great spiritual practice, they tend to be very loving and very calm. I wonder how is that so and why is that so? Can You give me some wisdom as to why there is anger and hatred? How does one go about stopping anger and having hatred?

M: First we have to know the nature of anger and hatred in order to root them out. Anger and hatred are just ways of protection. Sometimes you feel threatened by other people's opinions, way of life, or behavior. They may harm your ego, your pride, your body or your mind. So you become angry and resentful.

Hatred is a very strong word. I wouldn't like to use it every day. Because actually what we do is resent, not really hate. Hatred is deeper than that. Mostly we resent others when we feel threats to our security. Therefore, do not blame yourself too much when you become angry. Just analyze where that anger has come from; whether you are in the right or in the wrong. Sometimes you have the right to show a little outward anger in order to protect yourself. The question is not to stop anger, but to know when you should show a little anger and when you should not; to control it and to use it to your advantage, not to stop it altogether. I have a little story about a snake for you.

There was a very big and vicious snake. He lived in a tree hole, and he always ate the chickens and scared and bit people. So everyone in the village was scared of him. One day a great yogi came to that place, sat over there, and meditated. The snake felt very peaceful and transformed. He asked the yogi how to suppress his vicious, bad nature; how to become a good snake. The yogi taught him the five precepts: you shall not harm people; you have to eat vegetarian; you do not tell lies; you do not such and such; you do not gamble... which the snake didn't know anyhow. So, the foremost for him was not to harm people. The snake said, "From today, I practice meditation, I eat vegetarian, I don't eat chickens any more. I also don't bite people."

So one day the yogi had to go away for some days. He told the snake to stay home, practice meditation, and wait for him. The children passed by and saw the snake now sitting very quietly in meditation and in samadhi, so they were not afraid of him any more. They wanted to avenge, because before they were afraid of him. So they took a stone and threw it at him. The snake didn't do anything. The master didn't say you should not be angry, but you shouldn't harm people. He meant you should not show any violence at all. Ahimsa means non-violence.

So the snake kept quiet and tried to meditate again. But the children kicked him, pulled his tail out, and whirled him into a circle. The snake got so dizzy. Then they threw and beat him into the trees and trunks. All kinds of things. All his body got bruised, black and blue; and he lay there half dead.

The master came home and said, "What happened to you?"

The snake said, "It was because of the five precepts - non-violence."

The yogi was very surprised, "What? What non-violence?"

"You taught me not to be violent, so yesterday the children came, pulled my tail, and threw stones at me. I didn't react, so they carried on with their play. Until now, I nearly died."

The master said, "You are stupid. I didn't tell you not to hiss. You can hiss - scare people away."

But that is the difference between having wisdom and not having one. When we have not the wisdom, are not enlightened, we are carried away by our own emotions. When we have wisdom and enlightenment, we use the emotions to suit our occasion and advantage. It doesn't mean we should altogether eliminate the emotions; we just know how to use them. It is just like a gun in a good hand. He can just shoot where he wants, he doesn't shoot all over the place and kill many people. Now if you want to have this control power and wisdom, you have to have enlightenment. And to get enlightenment is through an experienced teacher. Just like if you want to learn English you have to find an experienced English teacher. That's all. I can offer you this.

From “Only After Enlightenment Can One Use Emotions Wisely”
News 51, Selected Questions And Answers
Spoken by Supreme Master Ching Hai
Harvard University, Boston, USA • October 27, 1989
(Originally in English)


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