Awakin.org

Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Beyond Good and Evil

--by Satish Kumar (May 16, 2005)


Performing penance as a monk, experiencing ecstasy in love, engaging in evolutionary land reform, walking for world peace, being imprisoned in France, facing a bullet in America . the many dimensions of my life have led me to ponder one question above all: What is Good and what is Evil? Or, indeed, do Good and Evil exist?

Again and again I have come to the conclusion that there is ignorance, there is ego, there is wisdom, there is humility, but there are no static states of Good and Evil. There are negative and positive, winter and summer, day and night, but for me none of these opposites is necessarily good or bad. Sometimes what appeared to be good turned out to be not so good, and what seemed bad proved to be a blessing in disguise. More often than not, I have been trapped by my own language, which I have inherited from others. I have been imprisoned by concepts, perceptions, and prejudices.

But whenever I have kept flowing, I have found my natural state of being, beyond the chains of mental abstractions. At those times, I have felt like water: no specific color, no particular taste, no solid structure, but natural and fluid. Sometimes water stagnates, but this is overcome when its natural state of motion is resumed; water finds again its own true nature. In the same way, by letting go of attachments to ideologies, places, and people, I have found my own true nature. My life has been a quest for self-realization.

-- Satish Kumar

[ share/read comments ]


Add Your Reflection:

Send me an email when another comment is posted on this passage.
Name: Email:

1 Previous Reflections:

 
On Jun 12, 2006 Nipun wrote:

How have your notions of what is good and what is evil changed through your life? All our concepts change, at some point people believed that the world was a flat surface. It seems conceptions of good and evil are dependant on your individual situation in place and time. Though they do seem to exist, how you look at things really plays a role in how you interpret what they are, and also how you react to them. Paramahansa Yogananda said that Real Good is what brings you closer to Truth, to God. Real evil is what takes you further from realizing this Truth. Yogiraj Gurunath says when good things happen, it's blessings ripening and a chance for spiritual growth. When difficulties come, it is an opportunity to purify and lighten our load. From this perpsective, it's 'all' Good. When you look at a rock up close, you may see the cracks and ants or bugs on it. Go up on a tree and you may still see the shape, but not the ants. If you go into  See full.

  • How have your notions of what is good and what is evil changed through your life?
  • All our concepts change, at some point people believed that the world was a flat surface.
  • It seems conceptions of good and evil are dependant on your individual situation in place and time. Though they do seem to exist, how you look at things really plays a role in how you interpret what they are, and also how you react to them.
  • Paramahansa Yogananda said that Real Good is what brings you closer to Truth, to God. Real evil is what takes you further from realizing this Truth.
  • Yogiraj Gurunath says when good things happen, it's blessings ripening and a chance for spiritual growth. When difficulties come, it is an opportunity to purify and lighten our load. From this perpsective, it's 'all' Good.
  • When you look at a rock up close, you may see the cracks and ants or bugs on it. Go up on a tree and you may still see the shape, but not the ants. If you go into the clouds, you'll see something else alltogether. Another reminder that really depends on your degree of awareness.
  • Instead of focusing on what is sin and getting down on myself, I've chosen to focus on what is True and walk that path. Like in the Buddhist precepts, the first one is no killing, but turn it around and that can also mean cherish all living beings.
  • Paramhansa Yogananda said that in the movies there is always the Hero and the Villian. Without the villian we would not know who the Hero is. If you turn around however you will see that both Hero & Villian are creations of one beam.
  • As a society, do we need conceptions of good & bad?
  • It seems yes, because different people are at different stages of perception. A child for example may need the context of rules before it can grow to think and fend for itself. At some point however, these concepts need to be transcended.
  • It seems cruelty comes from a person who is unhappy and miserable.
  • My questions are, isn't it evil what happened in Rwanda? In Sudan? In Nazi Germany? When someone robs and murders another?
  • There was a chinese monk who visited here a few years back, when similar questions were raised to him, his response is, when you wipe the table with a sponge, you are killing millions of beings, is that evil?
  • Often the words good & evil have gotten confused, for example when they are directly associate with constructive and destructive.
  • Definitions of good & evil can get circular, we each have to look for it in ourselves to understand their roles in life.
  • If you look at the rainbow, you can take the biggest magnifying lens and try to get up close and try to see where orange ends and red begins. You will never be able to do so. If you take five steps back however, you will exactly be able to tell where one ends and the other begins.
  • It seems the concepts of good & evil have to exist together, that is, you cannot see evil unless you see good.
  • We all seem to agree that good and bad are both sides of one coin. My question is, why are we so fascinated with looking at this coin?
  • Once I came in to see a movie towards its end. A man was hitting another man and I was thinking "wow, what a bad person" but it turns out I was seeing the Hero subduing the villian. Similar to life, we mostly are only watching one scene, but what would we feel if we were able to see the whole picture?

Hide full comment.