This book came into being after Buddhist writers and spiritual teachers Sharon Salzberg and Robert Thurman teamed up to present a weekend workshop on coming to terms with one's enemies. They share personal stories, meditation sessions, and a variety of spiritual practices designed to spur love for those who are seen as adversaries or opponents.
According to Buddhist philosophy there are four kinds of enemies in everyday life. They are : the outer enemy such as people, institutions, and situations that mean to harm us; the inner enemy of anger, hatred, fear, and other destructive emotions; and the secret enemy that isolates us from others; and the super-secret enemy of self-disgust and self-loathing.
The chief contributor to division in the world is the philosophy of dualism, which promotes the idea that there is an Us and a Them. This has infected people's minds and opened the door to more violence. Salzberg describes three kinds of patience we can cultivate to counter the inner enemy of anger: tolerant patience, insightful patience, and forgiving patience.
Thurman writes cogently about the tyranny of separation and salutes the ideal of restorative justice where both the victim and the perpetrator tear down the walls that cut them off from each other. Another positive practice is doing the yoga of self-creation "to provide you with a playful, magical way to experience creative self-confidence."
Buddhists have made an invaluable contribution to spirituality in our time with their emphasis upon waking up to the joys and wonders that can abound after we make friends with our enemies.