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Diverging from Buddhism, Self-Immolation


Quang DucSelf-immolation is a misunderstanding of the tenets of life. Love thyself. Love all others. Do no harm. When we do harm, even to ourselves for a perceived cause that we support, we lose sight of love. We may try to convince ourselves that by sacrificing oneself for a cause greater than ourselves we are in fact shining a light on the injustice, but we are in fact distracting from that which is without condition.

Love does not require all others to believe for it to exist. Love and truths that surpass the boundaries of the mind do not need capitulation or agreement from all sides in order to continue. Whether it is self-immolation through burning oneself or whether it is a person who decides to blow oneself up, the act does nothing but to place a light squarely on oneself. It is the ego, which seeks to be known that receives attention.

Love cannot be forced. Understanding also cannot be forced. When one decides to love without condition, understanding comes not far behind. The struggle is always internal, for in a hurricane, a sand storm or on a clear day, all that we try to suppress comes boiling up. When we can accept ourselves and when we can accept others, we will find understanding.

The Discussion

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  • Slorri September 28th, 2011 at 3:23 pm #1

    Very true this.
    Perhaps it could be that life is the opposite of love.
    For life to be there has to be entropy, selves, dispersion of selves and battle between them.
    Entropy is the opposite of love.
    As long as there is life there can not be absolute love, but we can chose the direction we aim for in our lives.

  • sidewalk_bends September 28th, 2011 at 4:39 pm #2

    What is your definition of entropy? To me I think about it from the sense of chemistry and physics.

    I don’t necessarily believe there is an “opposite” of love, although many would quickly say hate. To me those things that we describe as opposites are a misunderstanding of love.

    There is certainly a battle (internal and sometimes external), but I don’t think that battle has to be there for life or love to exist. To me those things are choices. We can choose to not have that battle (though much easier said than done). Those other things do definitely give us perspective, but I don’t think they define life or love.

    Good to see you btw.

  • Slorri September 29th, 2011 at 6:01 pm #3

    Excellent. We should define the word.

    I use it here as from My big toe by Thomas Campbell. Now I was trying to find a good definition by him, but I will quote this line:

    “Your capacity to love (a measure of the entropy of your system) is inversely related to the ego and fear your being contains.”

    Let’s say a pregnant woman and the embryo, they are two as one, there is love, there is no separation, but there is no life in between them.
    Life starts at birth, when there’s separation, one becomes two, that is heightened entropy. Of course there is still love, but much less, and it lessens as life goes on. Perhaps there eventually is struggle, strife and rejection maybe, that’s heightened entropy.

    Perhaps the trick in living is to live with temperance.

    With too much life there selfishness, nations, war, religion, and self-immolation and the “love” of these things, but not so much love as “all are one”.

  • sidewalk_bends September 29th, 2011 at 6:36 pm #4

    In that sense the word is being used similar to the way it is in science – free energy as it were/randomness.

    I suppose to me, using your example of the pregnant woman or God for that matter dividing, I don’t see love as becoming less and less as life splits off. I don’t see love as a finite unit that then becomes divided. I see it as something immeasurable and so no matter how much life is created (or divided), love still exists infinitely.

    This idea of entropy is interesting though in terms of another way of understanding how we separate ourselves from love. To me that is what we do to ourselves, not that there is less love as we continue to l(i)ve.

  • Slorri October 1st, 2011 at 6:12 pm #5

    Yes, this was originally an idea that just came into my mind as I read your first post.

    This is what we can do, put an idea out there, just a little bit, and let it be, let it linger.
    As soon as it is expressed it is part of us.

    Is our life generating love, more people, more love, higher entropy?
    Or is our life killing our planet?

    What is, and what should not be?
    Can we give up a bit of our life, lessen the entropy, for to save or better the world?

  • Me February 13th, 2012 at 6:42 am #6

    “… the act DOES NOTHING BUT TO PLACE A LIGHT SQUARELY ON ONESELF. It is the ego, which seeks to be known that receives attention …”

    Bouazizi’s self-immolation did MORE THAN JUST placing a light squarely on himself. It set off a chain of events that freed TENS OF MILLIONS FROM TYRANNY. By seeking to make known his desperate situation, he brought to the World’s ATTENTION the desperate situations of TENS OF MILLIONS MORE. That attention ultimately helped all of them.

    Your statement is FULL OF IGNORANCE and REEKS of jealousy. I’m talking about the kind of jealousy that little people have against the accomplishments of grander people who are known for their accomplishments. I’m afraid your Dharma path might be a little longer than you must have expected.

    PS: I was being kind with the above comments, but who are we kidding. I’m afraid I’m not the only one who saw through your political cheapshot on the Tibetans’ struggle for freedom.

  • sidewalk_bends February 13th, 2012 at 6:52 am #7

    Only we can free ourselves from tyranny. We are the tyrants of our own soul.

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