Saturday, November 12, 2011
HOW TO BEHAVE TOWARDS BAD PEOPLE
In the library today, I found these verses, from the 'Eight Verses of Thought Transformation' by Langri Tangpa.
I will learn to cherish beings of bad nature
And those pressed by strong sins and sufferings.
May I cherish them as the rarest find,
Like chancing upon a treasury of jewels.
When others feel jealous of me
And abuse and attack me wrongly,
I will learn to take all loss
And offer the victory to them.
When one whom I have benefitted with great hope
Unreasonably hurts me very badly,
I will learn to view that person
As an excellent spiritual guide.
At first, this may seem a strange attitude. You may think: if I offer bad people the victory, and cherish them, then they will take advantage of me! But think of it from the point of view of learning. If the aim is to become a better person, then bad people, who attack us wrongly, and hurt us unreasonably, have the potential to help us to improve ourselves. They can be our coaches, training us to a better nature, if we can respond kindly, and overcome any temptation to react badly.
So, next time someone acts badly towards you, try not to attack them back. Try to be glad that you are being given the opportunity to practise patience!
NOTE: does this mean we always give in? No. As the Dalai Lama comments:
"Where it says that we should accept defeat and offer the victory to others, we have to differentiate two kinds of situation. If, on the one hand, we are obsessed with our own welfare and very selfishly motivated, we should accept defeat and offer victory to the other, even if our life is at stake. But if, on the other hand, the situation is such that the welfare of others is at stake, we have to work very hard and fight for the rights of others, and not accept the loss at all."
For more commentary, by the Dalai Lama, on the 'Eight Verses of Thought Transormation', see: