1.1. All of us, one more than the other, experience pain and guilt because of what I will call the pain of the world. This is because of the fact that worldwide pain, suffering and injustice, are part of our daily news (4). As so many, I am ashamed of my superficial compassion. Of the inadequacy of my help. Of the mediocrity of my prayers. As there are a countless many traumatized by pain, suffering, injustice and so on. Often I ask myself: what is happening around me, in the village the world has become nowadays, that I don’t see, don’t want to see? Can it be that I keep myself blind and deaf, because, when I really open my eyes and ears, I cannot go on living the way I was used to until now? The answer is: yes! I am ignorant. I know nothing of the tenderness and fragility of life on the one side, and the cruelty and injustice on the other. I do not honour that tenderness and fragility. Nor do I have real sympathetic feelings related to the worldwide pain and suffering. Let it be any substantial compassion. As I will clarify later about the traumatized ones, they are the wise ones, the compassionate ones.

1.2. Although this is my reality, the more courageous part of me does not want to run away from the pain of the world. It wants to cope with it. With consciousness and compassion. Without collapsing under its weight. For that reason I prayed my small poem “karuna” (compassion/love/mercy) unto avalokithesvara, the buddha (bodhisattva) of compassion, especially unto the one with the thousand arms and thousand eyes:


little village
our world is now
we don’t need thousand eyes

just because
of that

open the two of ours

1.3. Of course it is necessary to open our eyes and to keep them open. Why then pray for that in this little poem? That is because compassion, mercy, without being able to help, without being able to prevent new suffering, easily turns into sentiment, into sentimentality. How to enjoy comfort in a world so full of pain? As the motto of our essay states. How can we feel compassion when we, meantime, are enjoying all the good things of life, albeit with a tiny accusing voice in the background? Soon compassion deteriorates into “buying off”, escapism, negation. This is not imaginary, since the frequency and scale in which worldwide pain reaches us are much too large for concrete immediate help by each of us as individual witness. So the question arises: “how to deal with the pain of the world, without our compassion deteriorating?” And also: “what is our part in causing that pain?”. And, very important: “how to help, how to offer relief, how to prevent?” It was for finding answers to these questions that I prayed to avalokithesvara!

1.4. Considering this, I asked myself whether my pain as a result of being witness without being able to give concrete and immediate help, did not prove that I still had not yet fully understood jesus’ message regarding the immortal nature of our soul. Neither krishna’s teachings regarding our everlasting, invulnerable, unslayable atman (bhagavad gita, chapter 2). Forgotten my inherent buddhanature .. Basically, in case of right understanding, I had to feel joy in stead of merely grief. Could it be I was slipping down towards feelings of impotence, if not despair, because of that ignorance of mine? Moreover, I wondered, was I still not capable of accepting the usual, factual poles of life? Not capable of accepting that the obvious world, our daily life, consists of opposites? Including all possible shades? Could it be that, because of this childishness of mine, I was not capable, not fully capable, mentally, by prayer, to comfort and encourage the victims of the visible daily traumatic events all over the world? Could it be that I myself too, as a witness, was submitted to post-traumatic reactions? (5) Totally forgotten the transcendent function that pain and suffering can have. Known as purification.

1.5. I have to admit: it could well be that I was still cherishing my early childhood notion of a solely rosy world. And that I, because reality proved more and more it was different, at the same time had lost my belief in the miracle of our “atman as being part of brahman”. Or said in a christian manner: lost my belief in being his child. Indeed, part of that was the case. Recognising that did give me some air. It revived my gratitude for the miracle of our eternal, unstainable soul, our immortal atman. The same soul, the same atman, the same buddhanature, inhabits the victims, the traumatized ones, all those who are suffering so seriously. So why then feel such a pain by witnessing? Why then slip down into despair? Nevertheless, these feelings returned soon after, including a kind of guilt. Really not amazing, I told myself, since the pain of the world never stopped showing herself. On the contrary, the pain of the world increased and increased. And with it, my witnessing.


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