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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Love Thy Perpetrator

Robert Thurman  (Photo by Cmichel67)
It’s hard enough to love thy enemy in theory, but when someone targets you personally, it’s almost impossible.

That’s when practice comes into play.  If you wait until a bully is beating down the door, fight or flight could be the only options.  But if you practice forgiveness on a regular basis, such incidents won’t fester for years to come.

Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman has an unusual approach.  He deliberately visualizes brutal scenarios in which hoodlums attack him or his loved ones.  While feeling “waves of nauseating sickness and disbelief,” Thurman then rehearses “not hating even the most heinous perpetrator.”

Thurman’s imagined scenarios include the murder of his beloved children, as well as the vandalization of his cherished home.  He then critiques his “rising anger and sense of outrage.”  Last, he compares his own response to that of a “Buddha, Jesus, Allah, wise person or saint.”  His goal is to feel some sympathy for thugs “who are earning for themselves a large wave of negative evolutionary momentum.”


Copyright June 11, 2017 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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