An Excerpt from An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life by the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama's teachings from his appearance in New York City in 1999 focus on compassion and openheartedness. Here's a passage on the spiritual practice of teachers.

"Imagine that your neighbor hates you and is always creating problems for you. If you lose your temper and develop hatred toward him, your digestion is harmed, your sound sleep goes, and you have to start to use tranquilizers and sleeping pills. You then have to increase the dosages of these, which harms your body. Your mood is affected; as a result, your old friends hesitate to visit you. You gradually get more white hair and wrinkles, and you may eventually develop more serious health problems. Then your neighbor is really happy. Without having inflicted any physical harm, he has fulfilled his wish!

"If, in spite of his injustices, you remain calm, happy, and peaceful, your health remains strong, you continue to be joyful, and more friends come visit you. Your life becomes more successful. This really brings about worry in your neighbor's mind. I think that this is the wise way to inflict harm upon your neighbor. I do not mean this as a joke. I have a certain amount of experience here. In spite of some very unfortunate circumstances, I usually remain calm, with a settled peace of mind. I think this is very useful. You must not consider tolerance and patience to be signs of weakness. I consider them signs of strength.

When we are faced with an enemy, a person or group of people wishing us harm, we can view this as an opportunity to develop patience and tolerance. We need these qualities; they are useful to us. And the only occasion we have to develop them is when we are challenged by an enemy. So, from this point of view, our enemy is our guru, our teacher. Irrespective of their motivation, from our point of view enemies are very beneficial, a blessing."