Bạn đã từng cố gắng và đã từng thất bại. Điều đó không quan trọng. Hãy tiếp tục cố gắng, tiếp tục thất bại, nhưng hãy thất bại theo cách tốt hơn. (Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.)Samuel Beckett
Hành động thiếu tri thức là nguy hiểm, tri thức mà không hành động là vô ích. (Action without knowledge is dangerous, knowledge without action is useless. )Walter Evert Myer
Hãy lặng lẽ quan sát những tư tưởng và hành xử của bạn. Bạn sâu lắng hơn cái tâm thức đang suy nghĩ, bạn là sự tĩnh lặng sâu lắng hơn những ồn náo của tâm thức ấy. Bạn là tình thương và niềm vui còn chìm khuất dưới những nỗi đau. (Be the silent watcher of your thoughts and behavior. You are beneath the thinkers. You are the stillness beneath the mental noise. You are the love and joy beneath the pain.)Eckhart Tolle
Của cải và sắc dục đến mà người chẳng chịu buông bỏ, cũng tỷ như lưỡi dao có dính chút mật, chẳng đủ thành bữa ăn ngon, trẻ con liếm vào phải chịu cái họa đứt lưỡi.Kinh Bốn mươi hai chương
Chỉ có hai thời điểm mà ta không bị ràng buộc bởi bất cứ điều gì. Đó là lúc ta sinh ra đời và lúc ta nhắm mắt xuôi tay.Tủ sách Rộng Mở Tâm Hồn
Mục đích chính của chúng ta trong cuộc đời này là giúp đỡ người khác. Và nếu bạn không thể giúp đỡ người khác thì ít nhất cũng đừng làm họ tổn thương. (Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.)Đức Đạt-lai Lạt-ma XIV
Thước đo giá trị con người chúng ta là những gì ta làm được bằng vào chính những gì ta sẵn có. (The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.)Vince Lombardi
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Thêm một chút kiên trì và một chút nỗ lực thì sự thất bại vô vọng cũng có thể trở thành thành công rực rỡ. (A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success. )Elbert Hubbard
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Lời Phật dạy về sự hòa hợp trong cộng đồng và xã hội - III. Đối trị sân hận

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Introduction

Among the mental defilements disruptive to social harmony, probably the most pernicious is anger. Since virtually all communities, including Buddhist monasteries, consist of people still prone to egotistical desires, they are in constant danger of being riven by anger, resentment, and vindictiveness among their members. For this reason, the control of anger is critical to communal harmony. The Buddha recognizes that while giving vent to anger brings a certain degree of satisfaction, he points out that angry outbursts ultimately bounce back upon oneself, entailing direct harm for oneself and entangling one in conflict with others. Hence in Text III,1 he describes anger as having “a poisoned root and honeyed tip.”

Anger occurs in different degrees, which distinguish people into different types. Text III,2 classifies people into three types on the basis of their relationship to anger: those who often get angry and nurture their anger are like a line etched in stone; those who often get angry but quickly dispel their anger are like a line drawn on the ground; those who remain patient even when attacked by others are like a line drawn in water. Text III,3 further distinguishes people in relation to anger by comparing them to four kinds of vipers.

Since the Buddha seeks the solution to human problems with the aid of the principle of causality, to help us understand more clearly why anger arises, he lays out “ten grounds for resentment,” which he enumerates in Text III,4 with his customary thoroughness and precision.

The ten are obtained by taking first one’s reactions to those who act for one’s own harm; next, one’s reactions to those who act for the harm of one’s friends; and next, one’s reactions to those who act for the benefit of one’s foes. Each of these is divided by way of the three periods of time — past, present, and future — for a total of nine. Finally, the Buddha adds irrational anger, the vexing case of “one who becomes angry without a reason.”

The establishment of communal harmony requires that the members of the community strive to overcome anger. The first step in removing anger lies in reflecting on the dangers in anger. I have collated a number of discourses on the drawbacks of anger in Texts III,5(1)–(4). Because anger poses such a formidable threat to one’s well-being, the Buddha proposes a variety of methods for removing anger. In Text III,6(1) he teaches the ten occasions when resentment should be eliminated, counterparts to the ten grounds of resentment. Again, in III,6(2) he prescribes five methods to eliminate anger. In Text III,6(3), the chief disciple Sāriputta explains another five methods to overcome anger.

Underlying the multiplicity of techniques to be deployed against anger stands one cardinal virtue, patience (khanti), which the Buddha calls the supreme austerity.1 Patience is both the means for curing the mind of anger and the quality that prevails when anger has finally been subdued. In Text III,7(1) the Buddha instructs his disciples to remain patient when they are attacked by sharp words; even more, he says, “if bandits sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw,” you are to restrain your wrath and extend to them a mind of loving-kindness. In Text III,7(2) Sāriputta teaches how a monk, when assailed by abusive words or attacked with weapons, can maintain patience by applying the contemplations of impermanence and the material elements. A discourse ascribed to Sakka, the ruler of the gods — included here as Text III,7(3) — contrasts two ways of dealing with transgression, that of the political realist and that of the ethical idealist. In this scenario, the celestial charioteer Mātali represents the political realist, who advocates punishment of enemies, while Sakka, as the righteous ruler, praises patience and restraint.

The challenge of maintaining patience can also be met by emulating worthy examples. In the last division of this part, therefore, I provide accounts of how exemplary figures upheld their commitment to patience under difficult circumstances. Texts III,8(1)–(4) show how the Buddha, the missionary monk Puṇṇa, the chief disciple Sāriputta, and the deity Sakka all drew upon patience to prevail over their adversaries.

III. Dealing with Anger

1. THE SLAYING OF ANGER

Sakka, ruler of the devas, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, stood to one side, and addressed the Blessed One in verse:

“Having slain what does one sleep soundly?
Having slain what does one not sorrow?
What is the one thing, O Gotama,
whose killing you approve?”

[The Blessed One:]

“Having slain anger, one sleeps soundly;
having slain anger, one does not sorrow.
The killing of anger, O Sakka,
with its poisoned root and honeyed tip:
this is the killing the noble ones praise,
for having slain that, one does not sorrow.”

(SN 11:21, CDB 337)

2. THREE KINDS OF PERSONS

“Monks, there are these three kinds of persons found existing in the world. What three? The person who is like a line etched in stone; the person who is like a line etched in the ground; and the person who is like a line etched in water.

(1) “And what kind of person is like a line etched in stone? Here, some person often gets angry, and his anger persists for a long time. Just as a line etched in stone is not quickly erased by the wind and water but persists for a long time, so too, some person often gets angry, and his anger persists for a long time. This is called the person who is like a line etched in stone.

(2) “And what kind of person is like a line etched in the ground? Here, some person often gets angry, but his anger does not persist for a long time. Just as a line etched in the ground is quickly erased by the wind and water and does not persist for a long time, so too, some person often gets angry, but his anger does not persist for a long time. This is called the person who is like a line etched in the ground.

(3) “And what kind of person is like a line etched in water? Here, some person, even when spoken to roughly and harshly, in disagreeable ways, remains on friendly terms with his antagonist, mingles with him, and greets him. Just as a line etched in water quickly disappears and does not persist for a long time, so too, some person, even when spoken to roughly and harshly, in disagreeable ways, remains on friendly terms with his antagonist, mingles with him, and greets him. This is called the person who is like a line etched in water.

“These, monks, are the three kinds of persons found existing in the world.”

(AN 3:132, NDB 361–62)

3. PERSONS LIKE VIPERS

“Monks, there are these four kinds of vipers. What four? The one whose venom is quick to come up but not virulent; the one whose venom is virulent but not quick to come up; the one whose venom is both quick to come up and virulent; and the one whose venom is neither quick to come up nor virulent. These are the four kinds of vipers.

So too, there are these four kinds of persons similar to vipers found existing in the world. What four? The one whose venom is quick to come up but not virulent; the one whose venom is virulent but not quick to come up; the one whose venom is both quick to come up and virulent; and the one whose venom is neither quick to come up nor virulent.

(1) “And how, monks, is a person one whose venom is quick to come up but not virulent? Here, someone often becomes angry, but his anger does not linger for a long time. It is in this way that a person is one whose venom is quick to come up but not virulent. So, I say, this person is just like a viper whose venom is quick to come up but not virulent.

(2) “And how is a person one whose venom is virulent but not quick to come up? Here, someone does not often become angry, but his anger lingers for a long time. It is in this way that a person is one whose venom is virulent but not quick to come up. So, I say, this person is just like a viper whose venom is virulent but not quick to come up.

(3) “And how is a person one whose venom is both quick to come up and virulent? Here, someone often becomes angry, and his anger lingers for a long time. It is in this way that a person is one whose venom is both quick to come up and virulent. So, I say, this person is just like a viper whose venom is both quick to come up and virulent.

(4) “And how is a person one whose venom is neither quick to come up nor virulent? Here, someone does not often become angry, and his anger does not linger for a long time. It is in this way that a person is one whose venom is neither quick to come up nor virulent. So, I say, this person is just like a viper whose venom is neither quick to come up nor virulent.

“These, monks, are the four kinds of persons similar to vipers found existing in the world.”

(AN 4:110, NDB 491–92)

4. THE GROUNDS FOR RESENTMENT

“Monks, there are these ten grounds for resentment. What ten? (1) Thinking: ‘They acted for my harm,’ one harbors resentment. (2) Thinking: ‘They are acting for my harm,’ one harbors resentment. (3) Thinking: ‘They will act for my harm,’ one harbors resentment. (4) Thinking: ‘They acted for the harm of one who is pleasing and agreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (5) Thinking: ‘They are acting for the harm of one who is pleasing and agreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (6) Thinking: ‘They will act for the harm of one who is pleasing and agreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (7) Thinking: ‘They acted for the benefit of one who is displeasing and disagreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (8) Thinking: ‘They are acting for the benefit of one who is displeasing and disagreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (9) Thinking: ‘They will act for the benefit of one who is displeasing and disagreeable to me,’ one harbors resentment. (10) And one becomes angry without a reason. These, monks, are the ten bases of resentment.”

(AN 10:79, NDB 1439)

5. DANGERS IN ANGER AND BENEFITS IN PATIENCE

(1) Five Dangers

“Monks, there are these five dangers in impatience. What five? One is displeasing and disagreeable to many people; one has an abundance of enmity; one has an abundance of faults; one dies confused; with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell. These are the five dangers in impatience.

“Monks, there are these five benefits in patience. What five? One is pleasing and agreeable to many people; one does not have an abundance of enmity; one does not have an abundance of faults; one dies unconfused; with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. These are the five benefits in patience.”

(AN 5:215, NDB 825)

(2) Another Five Dangers

“Monks, there are these five dangers in impatience. What five? One is displeasing and disagreeable to many people; one is violent; one is remorseful; one dies confused; with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell. These are the five dangers in impatience.

“Monks, there are these five benefits in patience. What five? One is pleasing and agreeable to many people; one is not violent; one is without remorse; one dies unconfused; with the breakup of the body, after death, one is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. These are the five benefits in patience.”

(AN 5:216, NDB 825)

(3) Seven Dangers

“Monks, there are these seven things that are gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that come upon an angry man or woman. What seven?

(1) “Here, monks, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he be ugly!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in the beauty of an enemy. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, though he may be well bathed, well anointed, with trimmed hair and beard, dressed in white clothes, still, he is ugly. This is the first thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(2) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he sleep badly!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight when an enemy sleeps well. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, though he may sleep on a couch spread with rugs, blankets, and covers, with an excellent covering of antelope hide, with a canopy and red bolsters at both ends, still, he sleeps badly. This is the second thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(3) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he not succeed!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in the success of an enemy. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, if he gets what is harmful, he thinks: ‘I have gotten what is beneficial,’ and if he gets what is beneficial, he thinks: ‘I have gotten what is harmful.’ When, overcome by anger, he gets these things which are diametrically opposed, they lead to his harm and suffering for a long time. This is the third thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(4) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he not be wealthy!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in the wealth of an enemy. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, kings appropriate for the royal treasury any wealth he has acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained. This is the fourth thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(5) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he not be famous!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in the fame of an enemy. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, he loses whatever fame he had acquired through heedfulness. This is the fifth thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(6) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘May he have no friends!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in an enemy having friends. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, his friends and companions, relatives, and family members avoid him from afar. This is the sixth thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

(7) “Again, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘With the breakup of the body, after death, may he be reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell!’ For what reason? An enemy does not delight in an enemy’s going to a good destination. When an angry person is overcome and oppressed by anger, he engages in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. As a consequence, still overcome by anger, with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell. This is the seventh thing gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that comes upon an angry man or woman.

“These are the seven things gratifying and advantageous to an enemy that come upon an angry man or woman.”

(AN 7:64, NDB 1066–67)

(4) Being Spurned by Others

“What kind of person is to be looked upon with equanimity, not to be associated with, followed, and served? Here, some person is prone to anger and easily exasperated. Even if he is criticized slightly he loses his temper and becomes irritated, hostile, and stubborn; he displays irritation, hatred, and bitterness. Just as a festering sore, if struck by a stick or a shard, will discharge even more matter, so too . . . Just as a firebrand of the tinduka tree, if struck by a stick or shard, will sizzle and crackle even more, so too . . . Just as a pit of feces, if struck by a stick or a shard, becomes even more foul-smelling, so too some person here is prone to anger and . . . displays irritation, hatred, and bitterness. Such a person is to be looked upon with equanimity, not to be associated with, followed, and served. For what reason? [With the thought:] ‘He might insult me, revile me, and do me harm.’ Therefore such a person is to be looked upon with equanimity, not to be associated with, followed, and served.”

(from AN 3:27, NDB 222)

6. REMOVING ANGER

(1) Ten Ways to Eliminate Resentment

“Monks, there are these ten ways of removing resentment. What ten? (1) Thinking: ‘They acted for my harm, but what can be done about it?’ one removes resentment. (2) Thinking: ‘They are acting for my harm, but what can be done about it?’ one removes resentment. (3) Thinking: ‘They will act for my harm, but what can be done about it?’ one removes resentment. (4) Thinking: ‘They acted . . .‘ (5) . . . ‘They are acting . . .‘ (6) . . . ‘They will act for the harm of one who is pleasing and agreeable to me, but what can be done about it?’ one removes resentment. (7) Thinking: ‘They acted . . .‘ (8) . . . ‘They are acting . . .‘ (9) . . . ‘They will act for the benefit of one who is displeasing and disagreeable to me, but what can be done about it?’ one removes resentment. (10) And one does not become angry without a reason. These, monks, are the ten ways of removing resentment.”

(AN 10: 80, NDB 1440)

(2) The Buddha Teaches Five Ways

“Monks, there are these five ways of removing resentment by which a monk should entirely remove resentment when it has arisen toward anyone. What five? (1) One should develop loving-kindness for the person one resents; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (2) One should develop compassion for the person one resents; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (3) One should develop equanimity toward the person one resents; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (4) One should disregard the person one resents and pay no attention to him; in this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. (5) One should apply the idea of the ownership of kamma to the person one resents, thus: ‘This venerable one is the owner of his kamma, the heir of his kamma; he has kamma as his origin, kamma as his relative, kamma as his resort; he will be the heir of any kamma he does, good or bad.’ In this way one should remove the resentment toward that person. These are the five ways of removing resentment by which a monk should entirely remove resentment when it has arisen toward anyone.”

(AN 5:161, NDB 773–74)

(3) Sāriputta Teaches Five Ways

The Venerable Sāriputta addressed the monks: “Friends, there are these five ways of removing resentment by which a monk should entirely remove resentment when it has arisen toward anyone. What five? (1) Here, a person’s bodily behavior is impure, but his verbal behavior is pure; one should remove resentment toward such a person. (2) A person’s verbal behavior is impure, but his bodily behavior is pure; one should also remove resentment toward such a person. (3) A person’s bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure, but from time to time he gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind; one should also remove resentment toward such a person. (4) A person’s bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure, and he does not gain an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, from time to time; one should also remove resentment toward such a person. (5) A person’s bodily behavior and verbal behavior are pure, and from time to time he gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind; one should also remove resentment toward such a person.

(1) “How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose bodily behavior is impure but whose verbal behavior is pure? Suppose a rag-robed monk sees a rag by the roadside. He would press it down with his left foot, spread it out with his right foot, tear off an intact section, and take it away with him; so too, when a person’s bodily behavior is impure but his verbal behavior is pure, on that occasion one should not attend to the impurity of his bodily behavior but should instead attend to the purity of his verbal behavior. In this way resentment toward that person should be removed.

(2) “How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose verbal behavior is impure but whose bodily behavior is pure? Suppose there was a pond covered with algae and water plants. A man might arrive, afflicted and oppressed by the heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. He would plunge into the pond, sweep away the algae and water plants with his hands, drink from his cupped hands, and then leave; so too, when a person’s verbal behavior is impure but his bodily behavior is pure, on that occasion one should not attend to the impurity of his verbal behavior but should instead attend to the purity of his bodily behavior. In this way resentment toward that person should be removed.

(3) “How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure but who from time to time gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind? Suppose there was a little water in a puddle. Then a person might arrive, afflicted and oppressed by the heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. He would think: ‘This little bit of water is in the puddle. If I try to drink it with my cupped hands or a vessel, I will stir it up, disturb it, and make it undrinkable. Let me get down on all fours, suck it up like a cow, and depart.’ He then gets down on all fours, sucks the water up like a cow, and departs. So too, when a person’s bodily behavior and verbal behavior are impure but from time to time he gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, on that occasion one should not attend to the impurity of his bodily and verbal behavior, but should instead attend to the opening of the mind, the placidity of mind, he gains from time to time. In this way resentment toward that person should be removed.

(4) “How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose bodily and verbal behavior are impure and who does not gain an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, from time to time? Suppose a sick, afflicted, gravely ill person was traveling along a highway, and the last village behind him and the next village ahead of him were both far away. He would not obtain suitable food and medicine or a qualified attendant; he would not get to meet the leader of the village district. Another man traveling along the highway might see him and arouse sheer compassion, sympathy, and tender concern for him, thinking: ‘Oh, may this man obtain suitable food, suitable medicine, and a qualified attendant! May he get to meet the leader of the village district! For what reason? So that this man does not encounter calamity and disaster right here.’ So too, when a person’s bodily and verbal behavior are impure and he does not gain from time to time an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, on that occasion one should arouse sheer compassion, sympathy, and tender concern for him, thinking, ‘Oh, may this venerable one abandon bodily misbehavior and develop good bodily behavior; may he abandon verbal misbehavior and develop good verbal behavior; may he abandon mental misbehavior and develop good mental behavior! For what reason? So that, with the breakup of the body, after death, he will not be reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell.’ In this way resentment toward that person should be removed.

(5) “How, friends, should resentment be removed toward the person whose bodily and verbal behavior are pure and who from time to time gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind? Suppose there was a pond with clear, sweet, cool water, clean, with smooth banks, a delightful place shaded by various trees. Then a man might arrive, afflicted and oppressed by the heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. Having plunged into the pond, he would bathe and drink, and then, after coming out, he would sit or lie down in the shade of a tree right there. So too, when a person’s bodily and verbal behavior are pure and from time to time he gains an opening of the mind, placidity of mind, on that occasion one should attend to his pure bodily behavior, to his pure verbal behavior, and to the opening of the mind, the placidity of mind, that he gains from time to time. In this way resentment toward that person should be removed. Friends, by means of a person who inspires confidence in every way, the mind gains confidence.

“These, friends, are the five ways of removing resentment by means of which a monk can entirely remove resentment toward whomever it has arisen.”

(AN 5:162, NDB 774–77)

7. PATIENCE UNDER PROVOCATION

(1) Being Patient When Criticized

“Monks, there are these five courses of speech that others may use when they address you: their speech may be timely or untimely, true or untrue, gentle or harsh, connected with good or with harm, spoken with a mind of loving-kindness or with inner hate. When others address you, their speech may be timely or untimely; when others address you, their speech may be true or untrue; when others address you, their speech may be gentle or harsh; when others address you, their speech may be connected with good or with harm; when others address you, their speech may be spoken with a mind of loving-kindness or with inner hate. Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading that person with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, and starting with him, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.

“Monks, suppose a man came with a hoe and a basket and said: ‘I shall make this great earth to be without earth.’ He would dig here and there, strew the soil here and there, spit here and there, and urinate here and there, saying: ‘Be without earth, be without earth!’ What do you think, monks? Could that man make this great earth to be without earth?” – “No, Bhante. Why is that? Because this great earth is deep and immense; it is not easy to make it be without earth. Eventually the man would reap only weariness and disappointment.”

“So too, monks, there are these five courses of speech that others may use when they address you: their speech may be timely or untimely. . . . Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading that person with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with him, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind similar to the earth, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.

“Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching. Herein, monks, you should train thus: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected, and we shall utter no evil words; we shall abide compassionate for their welfare, with a mind of loving-kindness, without inner hate. We shall abide pervading them with a mind imbued with loving-kindness; and starting with them, we shall abide pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.’ That is how you should train, monks.”

(from MN 21, MLDB 221)

(2) Non-Retaliation

[The Venerable Sāriputta told the monks:] “So then, if others abuse, revile, scold, and harass a monk, he understands thus: ‘This painful feeling born of ear-contact has arisen in me. That is dependent, not independent. Dependent on what? Dependent on contact.’ Then he sees that contact is impermanent, that feeling is impermanent, that perception is impermanent, that volitional activities are impermanent, and that consciousness is impermanent. And his mind, having made an element its objective support, enters into [that new objective support] and acquires confidence, steadiness, and resolution.

“Now, if others attack that monk in ways that are unwished for, undesired, and disagreeable, by contact with fists, clods, sticks, or knives, he understands thus: ‘This body is of such a nature that contact with fists, clods, sticks, and knives assail it. But this has been said by the Blessed One in his “advice on the simile of the saw”: “Monks, even if bandits were to sever you savagely limb by limb with a two-handled saw, he who gave rise to a mind of hate toward them would not be carrying out my teaching.” So tireless energy shall be aroused in me and unremitting mindfulness established, my body shall be tranquil and untroubled, my mind concentrated and unified. And now let contact with fists, clods, sticks, and knives assail this body; for this is just how the Buddha’s teaching is practiced.’”

(from MN 28, MLDB 279–80)

(3) Patience Over Punishment

The Blessed One said this: “Once in the past, monks, the devas and the titans were arrayed for battle. Then Vepacitti, lord of the titans, addressed the titans thus: ‘Dear sirs, in the impending battle between the devas and the titans, if the titans win and the devas are defeated, bind Sakka, lord of the devas, by his four limbs and neck and bring him to me in the city of the titans.’ And Sakka, lord of the devas, addressed the devas thus: ‘Dear sirs, in the impending battle between the devas and the titans, if the devas win and the titans are defeated, bind Vepacitti, lord of the titans, by his four limbs and neck and bring him to me in the Sudhamma assembly hall.’

“In that battle, monks, the devas won and the titans were defeated. Then the devas bound Vepacitti by his four limbs and neck and brought him to Sakka in their assembly hall. When Sakka was entering and leaving the assembly hall, Vepacitti, bound by his four limbs and neck, abused and reviled him with rude, harsh words. Mātali the charioteer addressed Sakka, lord of the devas, in verse:

“‘When face to face with Vepacitti
is it, Sakka, from fear or weakness
that you endure him so patiently,
listening to his harsh words?’

[Sakka:]

“‘It is neither through fear nor weakness
that I am patient with Vepacitti.
how can a wise person like me
engage in combat with a fool?’

[Mātali:]

“‘Fools would vent their anger even more
if no one would keep them in check.
hence with drastic punishment
the wise man should restrain the fool.’

[Sakka:]

“‘I myself think this alone
is the way to check the fool:
when one knows one’s foe is angry
one mindfully maintains one’s peace.’

[Mātali:]

“‘I see this fault, O Sakka,
in practicing patient endurance:
when the fool thinks of you thus,
“He endures me out of fear,”
the dolt will chase you even more
as a bull does one who flees.’

[Sakka:]

“‘Let it be whether or not he thinks,
“He endures me out of fear,”
of things that culminate in one’s own good
none is found better than patience.

“‘When a person endowed with strength
patiently endures a weakling,
they call that the supreme patience;
the weakling must be patient always.

“‘They call that strength no strength at all —
the strength that is the strength of folly —
but no one can reproach a person
who is strong because guarded by Dhamma.

“‘One who repays an angry man with anger
thereby makes things worse for himself.
Not repaying an angry man with anger,
one wins a battle hard to win.

“‘He practices for the welfare of both —
his own and the other’s —
when, knowing that his foe is angry,
he mindfully maintains his peace.

“‘When he achieves the cure of both —
his own and the other’s —
the people who consider him a fool
are unskilled in the Dhamma.’”

“So, monks, if Sakka, lord of the devas, could speak in praise of patience and gentleness, then how much more would it be fitting here for you, who have gone forth in such a well-expounded Dhamma and discipline, to be patient and gentle.”

(SN 11:4, CDB 321–23)

8. EXEMPLARS OF PATIENCE

(1) The Buddha Rejects Abuse

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. The brahmin Akkosaka Bhāradvāja, Bhāradvāja the Abusive, heard: “It is said that another brahmin of the Bhāradvāja clan has gone forth from the household life into homelessness under the ascetic Gotama.” Angry and displeased, he approached the Blessed One and abused and reviled him with rude, harsh words.

When he had finished speaking, the Blessed One said to him: “What do you think, brahmin? Do your friends and colleagues, kinsmen and relatives, as well as guests come to visit you?” – “They do, Master Gotama.” – “Do you then offer them some food or a meal or a snack?” – “I do, Master Gotama.” – “But if they do not accept it from you, then to whom does the food belong?” – “If they do not accept it from me, then the food still belongs to us.”

“So too, brahmin, I do not abuse anyone, do not scold anyone, do not rail against anyone. I refuse to accept from you the abuse and scolding and tirade you let loose at me. It still belongs to you, brahmin! It still belongs to you, brahmin!

“Brahmin, one who abuses his own abuser, who scolds the one who scolds him, who rails against the one who rails at him — he is said to partake of the meal, to enter upon an exchange. But I do not partake of your meal; I do not enter upon an exchange. It still belongs to you, brahmin! It still belongs to you, brahmin!”

(SN 7:2, CDB 255–56)

(2) Puṇṇa’s Courageous Spirit

[The Buddha said to the monk Puṇṇa:] “Now that I have given you this brief advice, in which country will you dwell?”

“Bhante, I am going to dwell in the Sunāparanta country.”

“Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta are fierce and rough. If they abuse and threaten you, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta abuse and threaten me, then I shall think: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are kind, truly kind, in that they did not give me a blow with the fist.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“But, Puṇṇa, if the people of Sunāparanta do give you a blow with the fist, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta do give me a blow with the fist, then I shall think: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are kind, truly kind, in that they did not give me a blow with a clod.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“But, Puṇṇa, if the people of Sunāparanta do give you a blow with a clod, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta do give me a blow with a clod, then I shall think: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are kind, truly kind, in that they did not give me a blow with a stick.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“But, Puṇṇa, if the people of Sunāparanta do give you a blow with a stick, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta do give me a blow with a stick, then I shall think: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are kind, truly kind, in that they did not give me a blow with a knife.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“But, Puṇṇa, if the people of Sunāparanta do give you a blow with a knife, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta do give me a blow with a knife, then I shall think: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are kind, truly kind, in that they have not taken my life with a sharp knife.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“But, Puṇṇa, if the people of Sunāparanta do take your life with a sharp knife, what will you think then?”

“Bhante, if the people of Sunāparanta do take my life with a sharp knife, then I shall think thus: ‘There have been disciples of the Blessed One who, being humiliated and disgusted by the body and by life, sought to have their lives deprived by the knife. But I have had my life deprived by the knife without seeking for it.’ Then I shall think thus, Blessed One; then I shall think thus, Sublime One.”

“Good, good, Puṇṇa! Possessing such self-control and peacefulness, you will be able to dwell in the Sunāparanta country. Now, Puṇṇa, it is time to do as you think fit.”

Then, having delighted and rejoiced in the Blessed One’s words, the Venerable Puṇṇa rose from his seat, and after paying homage to the Blessed One, departed keeping him on his right. He then set his resting place in order, took his bowl and outer robe, and set out to wander toward the Sunāparanta country. Wandering by stages, he eventually arrived in the Sunāparanta country, and there he lived. Then, during that rains retreat, the Venerable Puṇṇa established five hundred men lay followers and five hundred women lay followers in the practice, and he himself realized the three clear knowledges.2 On a later occasion, he attained final nibbāna.

(from MN 145, MLDB 1118–19)

(3) Sāriputta’s Lion’s Roar

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One and said to him: “Bhante, I have completed the rains residence at Sāvatthī. I want to make a tour of the countryside.”

“You may go, Sāriputta, at your own convenience.”

Then the Venerable Sāriputta rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed. Then, not long after the Venerable Sāriputta had left, a certain monk said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, the Venerable Sāriputta struck me and then set out on tour without apologizing.”

Then the Blessed One addressed a certain monk: “Go, monk, call Sāriputta.’’’

“Yes, Bhante,” that monk replied. Then he approached the Venerable Sāriputta and said: “The Teacher is calling you, friend Sāriputta.’’

“Yes, friend,” the Venerable Sāriputta replied.

Now on that occasion the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna and the Venerable Ānanda took a key and wandered from dwelling to dwelling, calling out: “Come forth, venerables! Come forth, venerables! Now Sāriputta will roar his lion’s roar in the presence of the Blessed One!”

Then the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One said to him: “Sāriputta, one of your fellow monks has complained that you struck him and then set out on tour without apologizing.”

(1) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as they throw pure and impure things on the earth — feces, urine, spittle, pus, and blood — yet the earth is not repelled, humiliated, or disgusted because of this; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like the earth, vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(2) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as they wash pure and impure things in water — feces, urine, spittle, pus, and blood — yet the water is not repelled, humiliated, or disgusted because of this; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like water — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(3) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as fire burns pure and impure things — feces, urine, spittle, pus, and blood — yet the fire is not repelled, humiliated, or disgusted because of this; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like fire — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(4) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as air blows upon pure and impure things — feces, urine, spittle, pus, and blood — yet the air is not repelled, humiliated, or disgusted because of this; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like air — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(5) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as a duster wipes off pure and impure things — feces, urine, spittle, pus, and blood — yet the duster is not repelled, humiliated, or disgusted because of this; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like a duster — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(6) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as an outcast boy or girl, clad in rags and holding a vessel, enters a village or town with a humble mind; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like an outcast boy — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(7) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as a bull with his horns cut, mild, well tamed and well trained, wanders from street to street and from square to square without hurting anyone with its feet or horns; so too, Bhante, I dwell with a mind like that of a bull with horns cut — vast, exalted, and measureless, without enmity and ill will.

(8) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as a young woman or man would be repelled, humiliated, and disgusted if the carcass of a snake, a dog, or a human being were slung around their neck; so too, Bhante, I am repelled, humiliated, and disgusted by this foul body.

(9) “Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk and then set out on tour without apologizing. Just as a person might carry around a cracked and perforated bowl of liquid fat that oozes and drips; so too, Bhante, I carry around this cracked and perforated body that oozes and drips.

“Bhante, one who has not established mindfulness of the body might strike a fellow monk here and then set out on tour without apologizing.”

Then that accusing monk rose from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, prostrated himself with his head at the Blessed One’s feet, and said to the Blessed One:

“Bhante, I have committed a transgression in that I so foolishly, stupidly, and unskillfully slandered the Venerable Sāriputta on baseless grounds. Bhante, may the Blessed One accept my transgression seen as a transgression for the sake of future restraint.”

“Surely, monk, you have committed a transgression in that you so foolishly, stupidly, and unskillfully slandered the Venerable Sāriputta on baseless grounds. But since you see your transgression as a transgression and make amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, we accept it. For it is growth in the Noble One’s discipline that one sees one’s transgression as a transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, and undertakes future restraint.”

The Blessed One then addressed the Venerable Sāriputta: “Sāriputta, pardon this hollow man before his head splits into seven pieces right there.”

“I will pardon him, Bhante, if he asks me to pardon him.”

(AN 9:11, NDB 1261–64)

(4) Sakka and the Anger-Eating Demon

The Blessed One said this: “Monks, once in the past a certain ugly deformed demon sat down on the seat of Sakka, ruler of the devas. Thereupon the devas found fault with this, grumbled, and complained about it, saying: ‘It is wonderful indeed, sir! It is amazing indeed, sir! This ugly deformed demon has sat down on the seat of Sakka, ruler of the devas!’ But to whatever extent the devas found fault with this, grumbled, and complained about it, to the same extent that demon became more and more handsome, more and more comely, more and more graceful.

“Then, monks, the devas approached Sakka and said to him: ‘Here, dear sir, an ugly deformed demon has sat down on your seat. . . . But to whatever extent the devas found fault with this . . . that demon became more and more handsome, more and more comely, more and more graceful.’ – ‘That must be the anger-eating demon.’

“Then, monks, Sakka, ruler of the devas, approached that anger-eating demon, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, and knelt down with his right knee on the ground. Then, raising his joined hands in reverential salutation toward that demon, he announced his name three times: ‘I, dear sir, am Sakka, ruler of the devas! I, dear sir, am Sakka, ruler of the devas!’ To whatever extent Sakka announced his name, to the same extent that demon became uglier and uglier and more and more deformed until he disappeared right there.

“Then, monks, having sat down on his own seat, instructing the devas, Sakka recited these verses:

“‘I am not one afflicted in mind,
nor easily drawn by anger’s whirl.
I never become angry for long,
nor does anger persist in me.

“‘When I’m angry I don’t speak harshly
and I don’t praise my virtues.
I keep myself well restrained
out of regard for my own good.’”

(SN 11:22, CDB 338–39)


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