A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Daily Prompt: Plead the Fifth

What question do you hate to be asked? Why?

The question I hate, answering doesn’t exist. The one I hope not to hear, because it takes a while to answer is; “How can you love that person after what they did to you? This refers to something in the past. I usually give a few quotes to begin, here are some I have used.

“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”  Abraham Lincoln

“In the New Testament our enemies are those who harbour hostility against us, not those against whom we cherish hostility, for Jesus refuses to reckon with such a possibility. The Christian must treat his enemy as a brother, and requite his hostility with love. His behaviour must be determined not by the way others treat him, but by the treatment he himself receives from Jesus; it has only one source, and that is the will of Jesus.”  Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business.”  Mohandas Gandhi

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.”  Mohandas Gandhi

“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals.  Just keep being friendly to that person.  Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies.”  Martin Luther King Jr.

“Whenever we want to combat our enemies, first and foremost we must start by understanding them rather than exaggerating their motives.”  Criss Jami

“It is a man’s own mind, not his enemy or foe, that lures him to evil ways.”  The Buddha

“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner. Nelson Mandela

“Compassion and love are not mere luxuries. As the source both of inner and external peace, they are fundamental to the continued survival of our species.”The 14th Dalai Lama

Then I will explain that love in Buddhism is closer to what Christians refer to as Agape love than what western literature means, when the word love is used. Love is unconditional, you have to develop the capacity to make others happy without expecting something in return. Love is non-attachment, you want the other person to be happy regardless of what they have done to you. This isn’t easy for it means you have to begin by accepting yourself flaws and all, for when you accept you as you are now, then you can accept others as they are. This means that one act does not define the person for all time.

However there is a selfish reason to love the person who hurt you, it takes less effort. If you have ever tried to stay mad at someone, you know it takes effort. Your stress level goes up, you may not sleep well. Being angry is like holding a hot coal in your hand to throw at someone, the longer you hold it, the more you are hurting yourself. So by not staying angry, and by wishing the person the best of life, you are releasing yourself from suffering.

So why are you carrying a grudge?



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9 thoughts on “Daily Prompt: Plead the Fifth

  1. It’s easier said than done to forgive. It takes a lot of maturity, grace and wisdom to do just what you mentioned in the last paragraph. When you feel betrayed or hurt, it is never easy. Thank you for this enlightening piece. It’s a great target to achieve to welcome the new year.

  2. Pingback: The Question I Hate The Most | Beyond Beauty Tips

  3. carrying a grudge… that is my big problem. but it is true, the one who carries it around is the one who suffers the most…

    • When I was first told of the hot lump of coal in my hand, I started to use that as a visual aid to quit carrying grudges. Now if I feel a grudge starting, my mind automatically pictures it as that hot lump of coal, and soon I drop it.

  4. Pingback: Inspiration: Dig Deeper For Gratitude… | Mirth and Motivation

  5. There are no stupid question… Sure, there are difficult ones and hard to answer ones. 🙂

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