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On the other hand, if we are in touch with basic goodness, we are always relating to the world directly, choicelessly, whether the energy of the situation demands a destructive or a constructive response. The idea of renunciation is to relate with whatever arises with a sense of sadness and tenderness. We reject the aggressive, hardcore street fighter mentality. The neurotic upheavals created by conflicting emotions, or the kleshas, arise from ignorance, or avidya. Ignorance is very harsh and willing to stick with its own version of things. Therefore, it feels very righteous. Overcoming that is the essence of renunciation: we have no hard edges.

Warriorship is so tender, without skin, without tissue, naked and raw. It is soft and gentle. You have renounced putting on a new suit of armor. You have renounced growing a thick, hard skin. You are willing to expose naked flesh, bone and marrow to the world.

This whole discussion is not just metaphoric. We are talking about what you do if you actually have to slash the enemy, if you are in combat or having a sword fight with someone, as you see in Japanese samurai movies. We shouldn’t be too cowardly. A sword fight is real, as real as making love to another human being. We are talking about direct experience and we’re not psychologizing anything here. Before you slash the enemy, look into his or her eyes and feel that tenderness. Then you slash. When you slash your  enemy, your compassionate heart becomes twice as big. It puffs up; it becomes a big heart; therefore you can slash the enemy. If you are small-hearted, you cannot do this properly.

Of course, many times conquering the enemy might not involve cutting them in two. You might just turn them upside down! But you have to be willing to face the possibilities.

When the warrior has thoroughly experienced his or her own basic rawness, there is no room to manipulate the situation. You just go forward and present the truth quite fearlessly. You can be what you are, in a very straightforward and basic way. So tenderness brings simplicity and naturalness, almost at the level of simple-mindedness.

We don’t want to become tricky warriors, with all kinds of tricks up our sleeves and ways to cut people’s logic down when we don’t agree with them. Then there is no cultivation of either ourselves or others. When that occurs, we destroy any possibilities of enlightened society. In fact, there will be no society; just a few people hanging out. Instead, the fearless warriors of Shambhala are very ordinary, simpleminded warriors. That is the starting point for developing true bravery.



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