Friday, October 13, 2006

The remedy for ill will

I often encounter resistance to the idea of wishing our enemies well. People will often justify the wish for their enemies to suffer. H. Gunaratana speaks to this in his book Mindfulness in Plain English:
For all practical purposes, if all of your enemies are well, happy and peaceful, they would not be your enemies. If they are free from problems, pain, suffering, affliction, neurosis, psychosis, paranoia, fear, tension, anxiety, etc., they would not be your enemies. Your practical solution to your enemies is to help them to overcome their problems, so you can live in peace and happiness. In fact, if you can, you should fill the minds of all your enemies with loving-kindness and make all of them realize the true meaning of peace, so you can live in peace and happiness. The more they are in neurosis, psychosis, fear, tension, anxiety, etc., the more trouble, pain and suffering they can bring to the world. If you could convert a vicious and wicked person into a holy and saintly individual, you would perform a miracle. Let us cultivate adequate wisdom and loving- kindness within ourselves to convert evil minds to saintly minds.
So it is actually to everybody's benefit if our enemies are happy, peaceful and full of well-being. Remember, we want them to be truly happy - that is, full of compassion for self and others. If they are full of compassion, they will stop harming others. And, of course, wishing our enemies well is the remedy for the resentment that infects us. We will be happier and more peaceful if the resentment is dissolved.

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