Sunday, July 31, 2011

Should we hate those who hate us?

This weekend I was at a conference (I will blog about this later) and I saw a magnet with the following saying by the Dalai Lama:
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."

Later I started to reflect on how hard it is for us to have love and compassion for those who hate us; it is one thing to have compassion for those who ask for compassion and quite another to have compassion for those who hate us, those who want to harm us, or those who want to kill us.

I thought for example about the people that gave their testomonies to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in the mid 1990's after Apartheid. The stories of discrimination, brutality, human rights violations, etc, given by people from all parts of South African society were heartbreaking. The legacy of abuses, hate, and suffering contained in the stories told during those hearings left many to wonder: would the country be able to move forward from this? Could people forgive those who did these things to them?

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (one of the major figures against Apartheid) and who was named chair of the the Truth and Reconciliaiton Comission once said:
"Don't look for somebody else to be the one who is going to do the reconciliation," he urged his fellow South Africans. "Each South African is going to have to say, 'What is the contribution I am going to be making to what will be a national project?"

Tutu understood this and so does his friend the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama could tell people to hate the Chinese for opressing Tibet, but he never has. And this brings me back to the quote I saw this weekend:
"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."
I truly believe that this is something that not only Christians like Desmond Tutu and Buddhists like the Dalai Lama can understand, but also every human being in this planet.

Once in regards to the situation of Tibet, the Dalai Lama was asked the following question:
How can you not feel hatred against those who seek to annihilate you?
Notice the is not about those who hated him, or who wanted to harm him but those who wanted to annihilate him.

He responded by saying that the question not only applies to him but also to the 'other'; he said that we need to think of the connection between the one that is causing harm and his victims. Then he added the following:
"I am going to give you a concrete example. In India I recently met up with a man I had known a long ago, the abbot of a monastery who spent twenty years of his life in prison and in labor camps in Tibet. While we were speaking together he declared to me that during the entire time of his imprisonment in Chinese jails the greatest danger he had encountered was that of losing his compassion for the Chinese."

I can only hope and pray that if I ever find myself in a similar situation, that I may touch the source of strength and love that would allow me to never loose compassion for those who would do the same to me...that would  allow me not to hate, but to feel compassion.


No comments:

Post a Comment