« Daily Dharma | Main | Being Still »



The closing sentiments of this entry speak words of wisdom often untouched -and even less often realised by the vast majority of those who dwell in the ancient or modern worlds.

I would be a liar if I said I was able to truly feel this way.

But with truth I can say, you have offered yourself as a guide post for many, like myself, who remain constant in their own suffering.



Good post.

Reading your post, I am reminded of a poem by Thay:

Call Me by My True Names

Do not say that I'll depart tomorrow
because even today I still arrive.

Look deeply: I arrive in every second
to be a bud on a spring branch,
to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,
learning to sing in my new nest,
to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower,
to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone.

I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry,
in order to fear and to hope.
The rhythm of my heart is the birth and
death of all that are alive.
I am the mayfly metamorphosing on the surface of the river,
and I am the bird which, when spring comes, arrives in time
to eat the mayfly.

I am the frog swimming happily in the clear pond,
and I am also the grass-snake who, approaching in silence,
feeds itself on the frog.

I am the child in Uganda, all skin and bones,
my legs as thin as bamboo sticks,
and I am the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to

I am the twelve-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat,
who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea
and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and

I am a member of the politburo, with plenty of power in my
and I am the man who has to pay his "debt of blood" to, my
dying slowly in a forced labor camp.

My joy is like spring, so warm it makes flowers bloom in all
walks of life.
My pain if like a river of tears, so full it fills the four oceans.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can hear all my cries and laughs at once,
so I can see that my joy and pain are one.

Please call me by my true names,
so I can wake up,
and so the door of my heart can be left open,
the door of compassion.

-Thich Nhat Hanh




Within every experience there is a Higher Universal truth that is relevant to each and every living thing in creation. Am I my brother's keeper goes far beyond the notion of physically taking care of someone in need... but is the heart of our inseparable connection to the One God-Source energy: One World, One Heart, One Mind. Cho Seung-Hui is of the exact God substance as you and I (in the image of the Divine) and as revolting as his actions on earth seem, we cannot alter his Divine inheritance. For me, the motivating question in this tragedy is how can an innocent baby born into our world grow up to enact such pain on his fellow man. The potentially grave error is that the general public is quickly dismissing Cho’s actions as that of a madman. I have watched interviews of varying psychiatrists offering their theories of his mental condition, but what was painfully clear is that not one of them could give their diagnosis with any definitiveness. They all pre-empted it with; “we think, he may or may not have been, some may suffer from this but others don’t”… In essence, we exist for millions of years and essentially know very little about the human mind. Countless explorations into outer space, the far depths of the sea, to the top of highest mountains and yet, cannot state unwaveringly about the processes of our own human mind. Therefore, the question ought to be, what is it in our beliefs, as human beings that tarnishes our God-mind which causes many, like Cho to choose to use their energy in such a destructive manner? What we do know of our psychological development is that children do live what they learn therefore; we have to breakdown the process and evaluate the information being fed to our children from their birth. If we raise our children in a loving, nurturing way with positive reinforcements so they foster an empowered sense of self, then we will raise children who become strong and loving adults. We don’t realize that every word whether negative or positive becomes a part of that child’s belief system about himself and the world. Needless to say, the abundance of child abuse taking place every day causes tremendous havoc on these young minds. In addition, society must take responsibility for our obsessions and what we deem important. Presently, we encourage (by the mere fact that we watch them) television shows filled with violence, mean spirited, rude people as if these are our accepted modes of behavior. Our music is laced with violence and hatred for anyone who we view different than ourselves, video games (which most parents think are innocent enough) where the player becomes the hero depending on how many people they can kill. We are fixated with body image, plastic surgery and superficial values causing an epidemic rise in eating disorders amongst our young girls. Whatever we focus on becomes our reality. What are we doing to our children? It is time we start connecting the dots and unless we do, every generation will slip deeper and deeper into mental darkness and chaos. It is said, a people without vision…will perish. I pray that we shall rise with a collective consciousness intent on steering humanity towards greater kindness, compassion and love.


Whether he was rational or not, he felt bullied, isolated and was deeply unhappy. How blessed I feel not to have experienced the world the way he did. How tragic to feel the way out of his troubles was to end his own and so many other's lives.


Daibhidh... Sometimes we feel anger and outrage first. Sometimes there is no way around that, and there is nothing wrong with it either. For me, the challenge is always to move through that anger and that outrage... to question myself hoping I can see some deeper truth... to hope I can find some meaning in the source of my anger and outrage.

Amadeus! Thanks so much for posting the poem! As long as I've been reading Thay's words, I still have yet to read his poems. That one is beautiful and so relevant to our today and our everyday.

Nerakami, I'm with you to a point. You seem to want to blame the parents for what this troubled young man did. We don't know his parents or how they raised him. They could have been perfectly loving, conscious parents. I can show you examples of young people hwo had perfectly loving, conscious parents who went on to do senseless things.

And Sujatin, I feel exactly the same way... blessed that I have never been pushed past the point of reason where an act like this would make sense... would seem the necessary next step.

Bows to everyone.



Blame in spiritual terms is an essentially useless emotion. For me, it is about recognition and understanding of our destructive patterns of behavior in order to think anew. The simple truth is, "the sins of the father is passed on to the children", which simply means that our parents pass on information they received from their parents and parents before that, hence the cycle of negative thinking from one generation to the next. Since the majority of us in this world still have not come to the full awareness of our Divine nature, then of course the information children are receiving is erroneous thereby causing a disconnect between our conscious mind and our soul.... and therein lies our problem... again, blame is never the intention as that is a futile pursuit.... healing is the ultimate purpose.




I understand the gist of what you are saying. And in a general sense it is possible that certain patterns are passed down generation to generation. Perhaps one of the challenges in growing up is deciding what to do with those patterns. Do we live them out as we were taught, or do we change and grow according to our own experience?

But I think it dangerous to apply general principles to specific situations.

Personally, I haven't heard any news about the parents or upbringing of this young man, but I am loathe to hold them (exclusively) responsible.

If anything, maybe we are all responsible.

As a society, we are charged to take care of the people who cannot take care of themselves. We have systems in place to care for orphaned children, people suffering abuse, etc. All of these systems have areas where they are strong and areas where there is room for improvement.

If anything, I hope this incident raises the big questions and prompts serious action towards reform of the mental health system. If we cannot do that, we fail ourselves and we fail the troubled young people who turn on us.

Tom Armstrong

At an athletic event [track meet, I think it was] shortly after the tragic day, the Virginia Tech participants had either 32 o 33 on their clothes or arms. I was surprised how many students of the university chose to include Cho Seung-Hui as one of the casualties. I would even say I was happily surprised that his pain and torment was considered, yet I was bothered by it more so.

While we are all One, we are all separate, too. There are choices we each have opportunities to make. I cannot countenance the butchery Cho chose to bring to the campus that day. We should not try to flatten the world. We cannot embrace what is wonderful if we do not recognize what is terrible.


Hello Tom...

I think I understand what you are saying when you say "We cannot embrace what is wonderful if we do not recognize what is terrible."

But does this mean that we harden our hearts when we witness someone doing something terrible? Showing some compassion toward that person doesn't mean we excuse what they did... Quite the contrary... it means that we are willing to still consider them human... as human as we are... despite what they did.

Good to chat with you... It has been quite a while.



Hi, chalip.

I should say I am very torn with my feelings. It may be that my ambivalent feelings are appropriate for me.

I accept that Cho Seung-Hui is fully human, very much the same as me. And that his life was powerfully painful for him. But I believe he has to have passed up opportunities to sit witness to others' pain. I believe we each have will and responsiblity as to how we emerge from any 'dark night of the soul.'


Hmmm... going along with the theme of the posts I just published, those sound like legitimate complaints.

"He has to have passed up opportunities to sit witness to other's pain."

"We each have will and responsibility as to how we emerge from any 'dark night of the soul.'"

Both are completely logical... completely fair statements.

And they are also fraught with assumptions. The thought that everyone should be able to cope with life without turning to violence... and if they don't they are being self-indulgent... these thoughts/feelings assume a sane, rational person with coping skills and the ability to process their experiences and those of others in a thoughtful, reflective manner. I believe what this incident shows is this level of insight is simply not possible for everyone.



I would not say that Cho Seung-Hui was "self indulgent." He went through with a plan that included his suicide.

He coped with a lot in his life, until the terrible day.

Cho Seung-Hui gave evidence that he knew right from wrong. He was not *legally* insane.

It is not that I don't wish Cho Seung-Hui well in future incarnations; it is just that I am queezy about countenencing his acts. Or not encouraging people to rise above their base instincts and any ethically low and easy road.

Michiel Trimpe

I hold no ill will towards Cho Seung-Hui; I can understand him. To blame him for what he did would be no more useless than to blame myself for not being better than I am.

It is in situations like this that we can see what karma is truly about.

There were probably several hundreds of students and dozens of teachers at Virginia Tech who repeatedly saw Cho wallowing in his despair and they all chose to ignore what they saw.

I have been in a position much like that of Cho and I guess that if a single person amongst the hundreds who saw him there had felt his agony, had sat down with him and listened to his troubles and had shown him true compassion, perhaps even for a single evening, this all would never have taken place.

It is very painful to acknowledge that we are as much to blame for Cho's actions as he himself, but it is the truth nonetheless. We are all responsible for what happened there at Virginia Tech.

For anyone who truly wishes to acquire a greater understanding of the mindset which causes to people to commit such atrocities, please watch the movie Monster about Aileen Wournos and develop an understanding of and compassion for her.

The comments to this entry are closed.