Some things leave me speechless.
This is a 1963 video of the Buddhist monk Thích Quảng Duc, who burned himself to death on June 11, 1963, to protest the harsh treatment of Buddhists by the Catholic-leaning regime of Vietnamese president Diem.
After his death, his body was re-cremated, but his heart remained intact. This was interpreted as a symbol of compassion and led Buddhists to revere him as a bodhisattva, heightening the impact of his death on the public psyche. -- Wikipedia entry.
My professor today dropped by to ask me how I was doing. I was touched by the concern of teachers. He was wondering if I have settled down fine lately, and to make him less worried, it's a love thing, then I consciously but uncontrollably told him a white lie that I found a job and my finances are settled.
I was going to email him and confess that I lied, and lying doesn't make anybody feel good, but as I was typing the email and trying to explain why I lied, I had to come out with other explanations, whose truth are also questionable i guess.
It then struck me, on a black and white level, lying is wrong is breaking the basic buddhist precepts. Then out of nowhere, I recall the popular saying.. "Tell a white lie to reduce hurt". More than just excusing oneself, I find that I need to throw all my basic buddhist precepts at one corner, because all the basic religious precepts are based on black and white definitions.. say, if no killing is one major precept, then the buddha will drill down to the state of mind, who did it, who instructed it, how it was done, was anybody killed to justify a kill.
Then while lying always seem a lesser evil than killing, oh my buddha, if there is a white lie, surely there will be a white kill too.
i always thought i got zen figure out, then i realised i should sometimes come back and pay homage to a teacher, say hello, ask if he had tea.