The Arising Of This Creates The Arising Of That

Not really news or anything but just an observation.

I once had a friend who when in a conflict with me presumed to know what my deal was. I wasn’t angry with them because I genuinely feel their behavior towards me was foul, disrespectful, and completely out of line.


I was acting the way I was because I was having a temper tantrum over … whatever. In theory, I guess you could say anger is like a temper tantrum sometimes but I believe the person wanted to phrase it as if I was some spoiled child not getting my way.

So like a 5-year-old who can’t have the six dresses she wants and instead must only get five, I am(was) throwing a temper tantrum.

I meet this person’s mom, we have a conversation about Buddhism. I am one form, Zen, and she another. Although my form would say we are all under the same form of Buddhism and her’s well … it’s under investigation.

(Her form seems to be about stating why it is different, and at times, better than the other forms. And the language used between members is special. It seems like members are encouraged to talk about things in their special way and do things in their special way, and disregard other ways, which is kind of not my way. In my opinion, to do that puts unnecessary walls between you and me. Although in marketing, talking about things in a “special language” makes for awesome branding and extremely loyal — although maybe smug, customers. See Apple)

Back to the observation, I am telling this person’s mom about why I am in Zen Buddhism, basically Zen touches upon something I find to be a true function within the world, interconnection or interdependence.

A simple and non-sophisticated explanation of this is everything is kind of connected and dependent on what is around it. No one is truly an island. Even a person on an island depends on what is around them: water, sun, animals, plants, etc.

Here is the super-lazy interweb response from Wikipedia:

nothing in our conventional reality “is brought about (…) (…) by any single cause alone, but by concomitance of a number of conditioning factors arising in discernibly repeated patterns.”[13] Thus, everything is dependent on and relational to something else like in a spider’s web, where each entangled string is an important part of the complex.

And this:

When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

For me the most glaring example of interdependence is my parents.

My father had an abusive father, who would make my father do unspeakable things when he was a child. My mother would tell me how my father was punished for wetting the bed when he was a kid. The only way I can explain to myself how this was even allowed to happen to my father was that my grandfather was most likely under-educated, poor, and most likely treated to much violence in his lifetime. (He was black, lived in Mississippi, was most likely born in the early 1900’s.)

My mother was no stranger to parental abuse. Her father was abusive in such a way that it seems hard for any of her siblings to really reflect on that aspect of their lives. They talk about it lightly but a deep discussion of the topic seems an unlikely event to happen. I do know that it was one of those topics that my mother’s father felt the need to apologize for; and he did just that to my mom and her siblings. It wasn’t enough for my mom to forgive him though.

And so we get to my generation, yes I was abused. It wasn’t as violent as my father’s or as mentally damaging as my mom’s, but it was enough to get me called into the counselor’s office when I was in elementary school and had a panic attack over not getting an A on a spelling test.

So knowing my parent’s history and how it related to how I was raised, I definitely saw how one thing lead to another, or the interdependence of things.

When this is, that is.
From the arising of this comes the arising of that.
When this isn’t, that isn’t.
From the cessation of this comes the cessation of that.

So of course I would hate to do this to someone I loved so I began the path of learning when “the arising of this” starts “the arising of that.” I think my doing this is a luxury I have that somehow my parents weren’t able to experience in their youth (but they experience it now through me).

Zen Buddhism’s way flows into my way, it builds on my way, it helps me dive into the deeper complexities of what I see and neutralize some of those things that create arisings I have inherited from my parents (A lot of articles on this website deal with how that happens, so we are talking about a scientific happening, not just some hippie, “oh maybe this does or doesn’t happen.” It does happen).

In other words Zen helps me create the cessation of this arising so that other cessations may happen.

Back to the story.

I was giving the simple explanation of this to my friend’s mom and she said something like, “Oh I see. You do Zen because you fear you might do the same thing.” (Oh, I forgot to mention that she expressed a negative view of Zen Buddhists, something about they are too arrogant and detach themselves from their emotions, so they don’t really feel their emotions or something like that. )

Fear? Seriously? How did that word even get into this conversation?

I guess people who were born into a family that has a history of breast cancer get mammograms because they “fear” they’ll get cancer. It’s not like it’s just a smart preventive move to do because cancer of that kind is known to be more likely in people who have a family history of the disease.

So the child, my friend, has a way of doing what his mom does — assuming they know the motivation behind my actions and being wrong. Sounds like, I dunno, interdependence?

Everything is connected.

If I were a therapist/scientist, whatever, the next question would be if in both of them, “the arising of this” comes from the same “arising of that,” but I’m not, so I won’t; Because this was just an observation.


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