Beyond Differentiation: Do Not Insult

Venerable Master Hsing Yun

Chinese character: peace

Do Not Insult Others

None of us should reject others, or judge them, or demean them or reduce them in any way. It is easy to understand this truth, but difficult to practice what it teaches. To understand ourselves, we must look closely at what nearly all of us actually do quite often.

We look at someone and decide we don’t like them, or we hear them say something we don’t like and decide they are not wise enough to be in our company. Then we avoid them. This is the first step in what the Sutra has called “insulting others.” In polite society, insults are rarely verbalized. However, whenever we give someone the cold shoulder, are we not insulting them without words?

Now look more deeply at why we avoid people at all. There are three basic reasons: first, we feel that they have or they will insult us; second, they threaten us because we feel that they may be better than us in some way; and third, we feel that we are better than them. These are dangerous attitudes or tendencies, and they are extremely deleterious to the practice of Buddhism. Any one of these attitudes involves a mistaken judgement of others plus a mistaken judgement of ourselves!

Whenever we feel jealousy, anger or the need to avoid or insult someone, it is almost always a result of our having misjuged both ourselves and the other person.

Karma and the conditions of the world we live in bring us into contact with other people. Brace yourself if you must, but face your own tendencies to judge and insult others. Never let your own fear or hostility control your behavior. Whatever lesson is before you will stay before you until you have learned it; you will not grow as a Buddhist through insult and rejection of others. This is certain.

The minds of sentient beings have inner and outer parts. Whatever they grasp grasps them and forces them to see what they see.

–Vijnaptimatratasiddi Sastra

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