Gentle Misnomer

The other day I was discussing my Buddhist practice with my wife and a couple of our friends.  Speaking about some aspect of the practice that escapes me right now, I’d mentioned that I’d addressed that topic in a post on my blog.

Now, when you’ve been happily married for 24 years, it is true that nobody knows you like your spouse knows you.  Nobody else even comes close.  And they have no compunction against reminding you of that fact.  She interjected:

“You know, hon, the name of your blog amuses me.  You are many things, but you are not gentle.”

She is right, of course.  I am not gentle.  I came to the Dharma by way of my anger.  Much of my practice is affected by my anger, positively and negatively.  Anger has kept me off the seat and anger has driven me to it.  I try to understand it, make friends with it, and let it go.

So why Gentle Dharma?  Perhaps something akin to Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen or Noah Levine’s Dharma Punx would have been the right attitude?  Not that they’re necessarily angry.  I simply would have run less risk of presenting something that was not, perhaps?  Am I being dishonest?

I don’t believe I am.  I named this blog Gentle Dharma very deliberately.  I wish to let go of the attachment, the shenpa, that fuels my anger.  I aspire to be free from the craving to be right.  I aspire to cease my own suffering in anger.  More so I desire to cease inflicting suffering on those around me through my anger.

In the beginning and in the end, Gentle Dharma is a statement of aspiration.  It is not so much a description of what is, rather what is possible.  That I would be free, and thereby free those whom I love.

May all sentient beings enjoy happiness
and the root of happiness.
May they be free from suffering
and the root of suffering.
May they not be separated from the great joy,
devoid of suffering.
May they dwell in great equanimity,
free from passion, aggression and prejudice.
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