Can We Understand the Suffering of our Enemy?
When someone has done us, our loved ones, or our people, a great wrong, this is the very last thing in the world we want to do. We hate and loathe our enemies, and may well have very good reason for this antipathy. Look at Ireland. Look at India and Pakistan. Look at Israel and Palestine. There are enough grievances and hatred in these areas to perpetuate violence and mayhem endlessly, every act of retribution leading to retaliation, ad infinitum.
It takes tremendous courage and insight to break this self-perpetuating cycle, but it is possible. And Buddhism offers unique insights into how we can break down the barriers that separate us and find a path to peace. And one skillful way to do this is through meditation in which we empathetically become one with our enemy and his suffering. Again, this is not easy to do, but in understanding another’s suffering, however much we may think they deserve it or have brought it upon themselves, we find common ground. We all suffer. Being human, we all know what suffering is. We know what it is to lose a love one, to be abused, to be victimized. In our common suffering, and our compassionate response to suffering, we have a basis for finding and seeing our common humanity.
~Thich Nhat Hanh | Source: Metta Refuge