The two central components of enlightenment are wisdom and compassion. Wisdom that allows us to see things as they are and compassion how we engage the world.
Buddhism encourages us to engage the world from the position of compassion. It is not easy to do this. We are not Buddhas. However, if the pattern of our behavior is to respond to anger with anger that will become the established pattern of our behavior. If we respond with kindness and compassion then that will become the established pattern of our behavior. There are examples of this throughout Buddhism. Shinran’s example of water dripping from eaves that over time leave dimples where they fall. Or Shakyamuni Buddha’s example of the incense handler who’s body, after time, is permeated with the fragrance of the incense.
Buddhism is simple yet difficult. It begins with the question, “How do we resolve the difficulties we cause and experience?”. It’s a simple question because we all experience this and most would rather be free of difficulties than not. Becoming free of difficulties is the challenge. What do we do? Should I even think about it?
If we are to resolve the difficulties we experience, from a Buddhist perspective we need to begin to examine how we view the world. We need to begin to acknowledge that our view may simply be, my view. It may also be a view that I feel defines me. Makes me who I am. That if i were to let go of that view I would no longer be worthy. I think I am still twenty years old. This is not helpful. I am not twenty. Not only am I physically different, how I think, what I think has changed. To hold on to that twenty year old me prevents me from seeing how who I am now engages the world. If someone offers to help me I should, if I am seeing things as they are, probably accept.
This is a trivial matter. How we see the world can have profound consequences. If i can begin to think and respond to the world that is not bound to how I think I see the world then I can b begin to see how others might see the world. “Here comes an old guy who may need help”. Me thinking, “I’m a young guy who can is still pretty agile.” The foolishness with which I view the world is not just about ourselves but of others as well.
How we think about the world affects how we experience the world.
“He insulted me, he beat me; he threw me down and robbed me.” Dwell on such thought, and your hatred will never cease.”
“He insulted me, he beat me; he threw me down and robbed me.” Put away such thoughts and hatred will never arise.” from the Dammapada
With the world immersed in cacophony of words and actions that conflict and constantly transmogrified, how will we see things as they are. If we respond to hatred with hatred how we see the world will be distorted by what I think and feel. How I engage the world will be distorted by what I am experiencing. If we can acknowledge our anger but respond with compassion there is opportunity to move forward. We can begin to address the cause of hatred and its resolution.