Hardship also helps you to see the advantages of freeing yourself from negative attitudes. In addition, through your own experience of suffering you will be able to empathize with the pain of others and generate a strong desire to do something for them. So, seen in this way, suffering can provide remarkable opportunities to stimulate practice and reflection.

From this viewpoint, forces that oppose you teach inner strength, courage, and determination. This does not mean you should give in to those who would harm you. Depending on your enemy's attitude, you may have to defend yourself vigorously, but deep down try to maintain your calm by realizing that, like you, she or he is a person who wants happiness and does not want suffering. It is hard to believe, but over time, it is possible to develop such an attitude. Here is one way to do it.


Consider the so-called enemy this way:

1. Because this person's mind is untamed, he or she engages in activities that are harmful to you.

2. If anger — the wish to harm — were part of the basic nature of this person, it could not be altered in any way, but as we have seen, hatred does not reside in the nature of a person.

3. Even if it were the nature of a person to hate, then, just as we cannot get angry at fire because it burns our hand (it is the very nature of fire to burn), so we should not get angry at a person expressing his or her nature.

4. This said, hatred is actually peripheral to a person's nature. When a cloud covers the sun we do not get angry at the sun, so we should not get angry with the so-called enemy, but instead hold the person's afflictive emotion responsible.

5. We ourselves sometimes engage in bad behavior, do we not? Still, most of us do not think of ourselves as completely bad. We should look on others the same way.

6. Therefore, the actual troublemaker is not the person, but his or her afflictive emotion.

When we lose our temper, we don't hesitate to use harsh words, even to a close friend. Afterward, when we calm down, we feel embarrassed about what happened. This indicates that we, as persons, do not really want to use such harsh words, but because we were dominated by anger, we lost our self-control.

As I mentioned earlier, we can learn to separate a corner of the mind from strong emotions like hatred and observe the mind from this vantage point; this indicates that the mind and hatred are not one, therefore the person and hatred are not one.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama in How to Be Compassionate