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Old 07-12-2008, 11:02 AM
Location: Y-Town Area
3,975 posts, read 5,312,723 times
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Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

...reflect upon the negative consequences of our strong attachment to friends and hostility toward enemies. Our feelings for a friend or a loved one sometimes blind us to certain of his or her aspects. We project a quality of absolute desirability, absolute infallibility, upon that person. Then, when we see something contrary to our projections, we are stunned. We swing from the extreme of love and desire to disappointment, repulsion, and sometimes even anger. Even that sense of inner contentment and satisfaction in a relationship with someone we love can lead to disappointment, frustration, and hatred. Though strong emotions, like those of romantic love or righteous hatred, may feel profoundly compelling, their pleasure is fleeting. From a Buddhist point of view, it is far better not to be in the grip of such emotions in the first place.
What are the repercussions of becoming overpowered by intense dislike? The Tibetan word for hatred, shedang, suggests hostility from the depth of one's heart. There is a certain irrationality in responding to injustice or harm with hostility. Our hatred has no physical effect on our enemies; it does not harm them. Rather, it is we who suffer the ill consequences of such overwhelming bitterness. It eats us from within. With anger we slowly begin to lose our appetite. We cannot sleep at night and often end up just rolling back and forth, back and forth, all night long. It affects us profoundly, while our enemies continue along, blissfully unaware of the state we have been reduced to.
Free of hatred or anger, we can respond to actions committed against us far more effectively. If we approach things with a cool head, we see the problem more clearly and judge the best way to address it. For example, if a child is doing something that could be dangerous to himself or others, such as playing with matches, we can discipline him. When we behave in such a forthright manner, there is a far greater chance that our actions will hit the mark. The child will respond not to our anger but to our sense of urgency and concern.
This is how we come to see that our true enemy is actually within us. It is our selfishness, our attachment, and our anger that harm us. Our perceived enemy's ability to inflict harm on us is really quite limited. If someone challenges us and we can muster the inner discipline to resist retaliating, it is possible that no matter what the person has done, those actions do not disturb us.
--from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama, edited by Nicholas Vreeland, afterword by Khyongla Rato and Richard Gere
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