Return to Meditations
Opening To People You
Find Offensive—Even Yourself.
Whenever I meet a person of
overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering,
I will hold such
a rare one dear,
As if I had
found a precious treasure.
Think of someone whom you consider to have a bad nature, negative energy or
intense suffering—perhaps meanness, or sexual perversion, or a murderer, a
thief, an alcoholic, drug addict, or a suicide bomber.
Recall that compassion—the wish for others to be free of suffering and its
causes—is generated by observing others’ pain. There is no other way to
develop compassion besides turning into others’ plight. Others are a
precious treasure in that they are the basis upon which we develop the noble
quality of compassion.
Imagine being that person. What does it feel like to think and feel like
them? In the same way that you spontaneously want yourself to be free from
suffering, let compassion arise for that person.
People with intense suffering could be those who are injured, deformed, or
very ill. For example, we don’t like going into hospitals. Seeing people who
are sick reminds us of our own mortality. When we encounter people who are
disfigured, who are very ugly, or who have severe emotional problems, we
shirk away. People with negative energy, intense suffering, or a bad nature
can be relatives, strangers, or enemies. The last thing we want to do is to
hold them dear as if they were precious treasures. But, this is the thing we
really need to do. With thought transformation, we cease blocking them out
as if they didn’t have feelings. Instead we see their humanity. We recognize
that they want to be happy and avoid suffering just like we do. We are
exactly the same. We open our hearts and recognize that this person is a
product of causes and conditions.
we can remember that all things are constantly changing and transforming and see
that there’s no solidly existing repulsive person there. What we’re seeing is
just a temporary bubble appearing due to causes and conditions. That’s
it. How can we hate someone who is experiencing such pain and confusion? How can
we be disturbed by someone who doesn’t really exist in the way he/she appears to
us? We can remember they are temporarily overwhelmed by negative attitudes—just
like we have been before.
Offering Respect and
When others, out
of jealousy or other attitudes/reasons,
Mistreat me with
abuse, slander and so on,
I will practice
respect and acceptance.
Offering respect and
acceptance doesn’t mean blaming yourself for things that aren’t your
responsibility, losing your self-dignity or making yourself a doormat. It means
letting go of having to be right, of having to have the last word.
Think of a situation when someone insulted, slandered, disappointed, or
verbally abused you. Think of the state that person’s mind, or what their
life must have been like in order to made them act that way. Were they
happy? Perhaps they were overwhelmed? Let yourself forgive them and feel
compassion for everyone in the situation.
What would happen if you accepted that you were wronged and let go of the
resentment, without retaliating or having the last word? When we offer
acceptance, we don’t have to have the last word. We don’t have to prove our
case. We don’t have to make sure that everybody understands that we are
right and the other person is wrong. It means letting go of our ego’s need
to prove itself and be the conqueror.
Imagine accepting their harsh words with a calm mind, without fighting back.
Would you lose anything? Could it help the situation? What would happen if
instead of sowing bitterness you sowed forgiveness?