October 31, 2013
Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman —
Embracing Our Enemies and Our Suffering

Two legendary teachers shine a Buddhist light on a classic Christian teaching: love of enemies. Robert Thurman and Sharon Salzberg are working together on how we relate to that which makes us feel embattled from without, and from within.

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is a meditation teacher and the cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. She is the co-author of Love Your Enemies. Her other books include Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation and the forthcoming Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace.

is professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University. He’s also the president of the Tibet House U.S. He is the co-author of Love Your Enemies. His other books include Infinite Life: Awakening to Bliss Within and Inner Revolution.

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Rosanne Cash's comparison of a live performance to a Buddhist monk's wiping away of a sand mandala reminded us of this fantastic two-minute, time-lapse video.

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What a wonderful program. Excited to join the online teaching on Facebook! Thank you all three for reminding us what is important & powerful in life.

OnBeing, lovingkindness, compassion, friendliness mindfulness, mental health

The TM organization (Transcendental Meditation) staged a week-long meditation with 7000 people together in about 1984. I was there in Fairfield, Iowa. Pretty interesting stuff happened. THey also, back in 1979 or so, sent hundreds of volunteers to surround war zones and meditate all day every day, for 30 days. They sent social scientists to study the effects. Apparently the acts of violence decreased, the economy improved, and hospital admissions dropped. We had a similar effect in prisons when teaching TM there, as I did in San Quentin, in the 1980's. Even non-meditators seemed to change their behavior.

Great post about your community's work. Would love more info on the study. Could you share a link to the data & findings?

It was a beautiful program! The interviews on this site seem endlessly inspiring. What a treasure is On Being.

However, I'm also laughing at Krista's characterization of Sharon and Bob as "legendary Buddhist teachers!" This may be a coherent compliment in the West. However, in the East it is very humorous! A kind of oxymoron..... legendary Buddhist!

In this spirit, what do you get when you cross a Zen Buddhist and a Jehovah's Witness?

Someone who rings your doorbell for no apparent reason! : -))

one of my favorite radio show, thank you for "being"

I think it's no coincidence that my cat woke me up early and I turned this program on. I needed to hear it. I've been angry since I was laid off from my job several months ago at the hand of the workplace bully. As a result of the layoff, I'm having to move from a town I love back to a city I'm not too fond of - the disappointment, sadness & anger is making me exhausted & not a fun person to hang around with.
Thank you for opening my mind & my eyes to what I'm doing to myself. I've ordered your latest book and look forward to opening my heart.

Bless you...

Thanks to daylights savings time I caught your show and I am so glad I did. It was wonderful and timely for my current experiences. Looking forward to next week

Delightful - thought-provoking show this morning (KUT-austin) and a PODCAST so my 89 year aunt later can enjoy and we can discuss. To continue fueling our spiritual and mental growth with the gift of time is quite special and we BOTH thank you for it. Trite, but true, the lovely clique: "KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK", please. With gratitude, Simone

I truly enjoyed today's program.

I do not subscribe to Facebook (literally and otherwise) , and hope there is another way for me to participate
in the upcoming online teaching. It is also of concern to me that Facebook and Twitter participation is often necessary
to experience public media programming.

Thank you for your programming and hearing this.

Roy Zuckerman/NYC

Invoking Facebook or Twitter frustrates me also. When I try to understand rather than judge this hurdle, I return to the idea that reaching any worthy goal requires effort.

Yet again, this week's show with Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman reminds me of the little I know and practice and simultaneously the great hope and potential for anyone's life, including --- thankfully --- mine.
Around the 50th minute of the unedited version, there was a dialogue on the reality of vast interrelationships. I immediately thought that Christians this weekend are celebrating All Saints Day this weekend and homilies are rich with this important perspective, focusing on the "communion of saints". Today's definition of this concept is more expansive than the past and can encompass all the dead and the living members of all the various communities in which we reside. Often as I recite the Lord's Prayer and reach the phrase "give us this day our daily bread", I try to pause and equate the day's bread with all the people responsible for some single task I will do, thanking God for them all. It is but one small exercise to moderate my ego and help me realize the dependencies in my life.
Thank you for providing so much positive energy this day.

I do believe that "the pain and sufferings" will be always with us for ever, The physical pain and emotional sufferings. We need to use our coping skills by utilizing available resources and support systemsms. The Spiritual Support just-in-time. God's presence is with us for ever to overcome our pain and sufferings. Thank you.

Only heard the last 15 minutes, but loved everything I heard. How can I find out more about the 30 days of love your enemies?

I found the Love Your Enemies Facebook page! - www.facebook.com/LoveYrEnemies -.

Heard this on radio NPR this A.M. Thought you might find it interesting.

We interdependent human creatures depend on the happiness of others.

It started 3 yrs ago when I forgave a Nigerian scammer and embraced the fact that I fell in love with someone who didn't even exist. That opened a world of possibilities. Then about 3 weeks ago I listened to your old show on marriage's future and embraced my heart's desire again to a huge awakening. Today you published that awakening. Deep calls to deep, Krista! The question was before: do we have a connection of coincidence? Now it is: Who do I intend to hear from next? Krista will put them on the show! Thanks for the profound and the simple. EVERY WEEK!

Can someone please share the facebook page that was mentioned at the very end?

I was surprised that neither Thurman nor Salzberg brought up the most logical method in Buddhism to "love our enemies." If we have had innumerable lifetimes and have experienced all realms of suffering, at one point all sentient beings were once my mother, hence: [In the Exchange of Self and Others within Lama Chopa)]
"My mothers,, all these pitiful beings
Have looked after me so often with kindness
So by these thoughts, just like a loving mother for her suffering son,
Please bless me to develop natural compassion . . . ..

Krista, you quote Bob as saying, "It is highly rational for us to love our enemies." That made me think about how intention figures in to loving one's enemies. Why are we doing it? Because it's rational, in the sense that it will ultimately benefit us or the "enemy?" And, given the Buddhist ontology—non-self, non-substantiality, transience of all phenomena--what's the difference?

I found the meditation Thurman shared to be very useful, would there be a source for ordering these sort of guided meditations?

As I grow spiritualy,I realize religon is used by some to put labels on people,in terms that have nothing to do with the spirit. A judgement of how someone should grow,live and love. It might take someone an entire lifetime to realize they do not know what they believe.The awareness of humility,love and respect for others is a step in the right direction.To continue on this path is the way to grow spiritualy.

I found this On Being broadcast very interesting. I've never studied Buddhism and so I found the ideas of how to deal with ones anger very fascinating. I have to admit that I hold on to my anger all the time instead of talking about it or just letting it go. I can say that when my wife and I get in to an argument, I sometimes bring up things that have happened in the past. I have a hard time letting those old things that have bothered me go. Perhaps if I studied Buddhism a little more, I'd be able to let things go a little easier.

I know from experience just how much people time people can spend being angry at others. Thankfully, my wife has pointed this out to me, and I have been working on it. I realize now that getting angry should not be my first response and that it can be a wasted emotion. Anger is something that can get in ones way of what they want. In this way, we can be our own worst enemy.