Dhammapada 3-6

Here are couplets 3-6 of the Dhammapada:

‘He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me’
— for those who brood on this,
hostility isn’t stilled.

‘He insulted me,
hit me,
beat me,
robbed me’
— for those who don’t brood on this,
hostility is stilled.

Hostilities aren’t stilled
through hostility,
Hostilities are stilled
through non-hostility:
this, an unending truth.

Unlike those who don’t realize
that we’re here on the verge
of perishing,
those who do:
their quarrels are stilled.

And a few sentences of my own:
Hitting, beating, robbing. These are some pretty serious incidents! Notice how Buddha goes ahead and includes insults in with physical injury. The ego is a big, swollen thing and Buddha was a smart guy – those insults to our pride can hurt just as much and last twice as long in our minds as a physical thing. But he says anyone who broods on this, anybody that holds onto resentment and replays the great play of negativity over and over again on the screen in our minds is never going to still hostility. Interesting there because it means that to let all these things go, the goal has to be letting go of hostility, not revenge or the preservation of some reputation. You have to truly want to let go of your hostility and anger. Hostility is stilled through non-hostility, in thought, word and deed. The only hostility you control is your own. And also notice he says don’t BROOD on it. He doesn’t imply you should avoid it at all costs or if you’re just nice enough, bad things will never happen to you. You’re going to be insulted, hit, beaten, robbed – not just in the literal sense but in all kinds of emotional senses. Don’t brood.

And he finishes by saying, HEY! We’re dying. We’re dying you idiots. Stop quarreling. There’s no great cosmic father figure who’s going to turn the car around.

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