Lama Jigmé Thrinlé, monk: “In Buddhism, emotions are the reunion of body and mind”


“The relationship to emotions holds a central place in Buddhism, and in its multiple approaches: interior, exterior, subtle or deep… The means of dealing with them also depend on each person’s abilities. In the Large Vehicle (1), for example, we will try to manage them using antidotes: the antidote to hatred will be love, while in the Small Vehicle (2), it will be patience.

→ READ. When our emotions govern us, our file

In the esoteric way, we will still seek to transmute the emotions – considered as formidable energies, including those which we consider “disturbing” (such as anger, hatred, jealousy…) because they entertain us in relation to to our deep nature – in qualities that can serve the spiritual process.

Neither purely intellectual nor purely physical

This is difficult and requires quite intense spiritual training, during meditation sessions or retreats. In Buddhism, emotions are described as the reunion of body and mind. They can arise from a sensation, or from the mind: they are neither purely intellectual nor purely physical, but between the two… We still consider that it is better to let emotions express themselves rather than repress them, because that could become very dangerous for oneself or even for others.

Many Buddhist writings speak of it. It is also often mentioned in the life of Buddha. During his Awakening, in particular, he was tested by all kinds of temptations from enemies shooting arrows at him which represented anger, hatred… But the Buddha having succeeded in pacifying his emotions by recognizing their empty nature, those these then positively transmuted into flowers. Thus transformed, thanks to spiritual practice, from “poison to gold”, these emotions can participate in the path towards holiness.

“A place for every moment”

In my life as a monk, the management of emotions holds a place at all times. At first, it may have really required some effort, but with practice – especially meditative practice – it becomes more and more natural. an equanimity (equality of soul and temper, Editor’s note) developed in front of these: I try to focus on seeing them precisely as emotions, without differentiating between negative and positive ones. This implies not being terribly excited about good news, for example, or conversely not being proud or feeling guilty about bad news…

→ REPORT. When the school teaches students to listen to their emotions

It is then necessary to operate a discernment, within this equanimity, to estimate what will be beneficial or harmful in the way of acting on a daily basis: it is necessary to take care at least not to harm, and at best to take care of oneself. and others. Writing poems also allows me to exteriorize certain emotions, such as discontent, a form of disappointment, in the face of the vanity of the world or of human decisions. This can represent an outlet, while making me more aware of the emotional relationship I have to things. »

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