This is an idea that seems difficult for Westerners to accept: when someone harms us, they create the cause of their own suffering. They do this by strengthening habits that imprison them in a cycle of pain and confusion. It’s not that we are responsible for what someone else does, and certainly not that we should feel guilty. But when they harm us, we unintentionally become the means of their undoing. Had they looked on us with loving-kindness, however, we’d be the cause of their gathering virtue.
What I find helpful in this teaching is that what’s true for them is also true for me. The way I regard those who hurt me today will affect how I experience the world in the future. In any encounter, we have a choice: we can strengthen our resentment or our understanding and empathy. We can widen the gap between ourselves and others or lessen it.
from the book No Time to Lose: A Timely Guide to the Way of the Bodhisattva
Read a random quote or see all quotes by Pema Chödron.
Further quotes from the book No Time to Lose:
- Our true nature
- Heroic perseverance
- Our capacity for love and tenderness
- Three attitudes
- The cause of our enlightenment
- Connect with Groundlessness
- Three bite practice
- Benefits of pain
- Our pain is self-inflicted
- Our Mistaken Feeling of Separateness