Our Actual Enemy ~ 17th Karmapa

Our anger is our actual enemy. It is an obstacle that cuts us off from the cause of higher states of rebirth and the definitive excellence that is liberation. If we do not tame it, then outer enemies will simply multiply. They will increase to the same extent that we try to overpower them. And they could present a danger to our lives and to our ability to keep any of the three sets of vows (individual liberation, bodhisattva, and tantric) we may have taken.

Since we are the ones who make one another into enemies, they can proliferate without limit. By creating such projections, we are engaging in actions that are detrimental. Why is this so? Because there is not one living being who has not been our mother or father, and therefore they should all be the objects if our compassion. On the other hand, there is not one living being who has not been our enemy. In this way, all living beings are equally our friends and enemies, so being attached to some and feeling hatred for others makes no sense. Through a mind that sees this equality, we should tame the enemy of our own anger with an army of great compassion. This is the practice of a true bodhisattva.


17th Karmapa

from the book Traveling the Path of Compassion: A Commentary on The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva

translated by Ringu Tulku & Michele Martin



Read a random quote or see all quotes by the 17th Karmapa.

Further quotes from the book Traveling the Path of Compassion: