Buddhist bases for responding to crimes motivated by hate
“He was angry with me. He attacked me, he defeated me, he robbed me. Those who do not dwell on such thoughts will surely become free from hatred.
For hatred can never put an end to hatred; love alone can. This is an unalterable law. People forget that their lives will end soon. For those who remember, quarrels come to an end”.
The Dhammapada - translation Eknath Easewarren P78
The Dhammapada is a collection of useful, practical verses from the Buddha probably originally gathered into an oral collection by his first disciples.
The Buddha experienced a nightmare on his night of enlightenment. He saw that Dukkha came from the self and led to communities and nations going to war
In “Zen Therapy”, David Brazier - draws on the Abidharma teachings of conditioning of the mind - explaining how our minds work – that attachment and Avoidance are add-ons worsening dukkha. The root of suffering being Avidya (ignorance, blindness), fed by the three poisons - Greed Hate and Delusion, Attachment to views takes greed further to perverted views, hatred to extremism and delusion to unreal views.
The antidote is vidya, an open mind in which there is love, compassion and wisdom. Mindfulness meditations help us know our own feeling responses and help us not react unwisely returning hate with hate.The Buddha made sure that Bikkhus going into dangerous warring areas had enough training so that they would not respond to violence with violence and were walking the path with right – view, thought, speech, energy action etc.
“Speak quietly to everyone, and they too will be gentle in their speech. Harsh words hurt and come back to the speaker. If your mind is still, like a broken gong, you have entered nirvana, leaving all quarrels behind you.”
The Dhammapada - translation Eknath Easewarren p111
A great example of peacemaking is a hero of mine, Maha Ghosananda, who was the only senior monk left alive after Pol Pot’s killing fields in Cambodia because he was in retreat in Thailand at the time. He decided he needed to stay alive and help the peace process after the war ended. He played a big part spreading wisdom and compassion as he walked step by step in his “yatras” And spoke wisely in the courts.
I would like to quote from “Step by Step” by Maha Ghosananda P51
“Peacemaking requires compassion. It requires the skill of listening. To listen we have to give up ourselves, even our own words. We listen until we can hear our peaceful nature. As we learn to listen to ourselves, we learn to listen to others as well, and new ideas grow.
… Peacemaking requires mindfulness. There is no peace with jealousy, self-righteousness, or meaningless criticism. We must decide that making peace is more important than making war.
… Peacemaking requires wisdom. Peace is a path that is chosen consciously. It is not an aimless wandering, but a step by step journey.
Peacemaking is the middle path of equanimity, non-duality, and non-attachment. Peacemaking means the perfect balance of wisdom and compassion, and the perfect meeting of humanitarian needs and political realities. It means compassion without concession, and peace without appeasement.
Loving kindness is the only way to peace.”
Finally I would like to quote again from the Dhammapada
“Let us live in joy, never hating those who hate us. Let us live in freedom, without hatred, even among those who hate.”
The Dhammapada - translation Eknath Easewarren p138