Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Buddha On Conflict Resolution

If, in an argument, the accused and the accuser do not practise honest self-examination, you can expect that it will lead to drawn out, bitter, contentious strife and no one will be able to live in peace. And how should the two parties practise strict self-examination? The accused should reflect: "I have committed some wrong and that other person saw me. When he saw, he got annoyed and said so. He rebuked me and I got annoyed and went and told the others. So, it is I who am at fault." And how does the accuser practise strict self-examination? The accuser should reflect: "This person has committed some wrong and I saw him. Had he not done it, I would not have seen it, but as he did it, I saw it. When I saw, I was displeased and I told him so. He got annoyed and told the others. So it is I who am at fault." Thus it is that if in an argument the accused and the accuser both practise strict self-examination, you can expect that all will be able to live in peace. (A.I.53)


Soe am i said...

doing this self introspection would require a certain humility. It also brings me to the thought that it is better to first focus on correcting our own actions. Thank you Bhante.)

bernhard said...

Venerable Bhante,

Thank you for pointing out that focusing on one's mindstate rather than on the actions of others fosters peace.

However, I would like to ask you one question: How should one criticize wrongdoings skillfully? I don't believe it would be wise to let people get away with just everything, would it?

Best wishes,

PS: Thank you for all your blogs, they have (almost) made me like my computer.

Terasi said...

Ah why I can't see the accuser to be at fault? If he saw someone made mistake and he went on to tell him so, then he has done something right. This is assuming that his intention was only showing the accused that it's wrong (so better not doing it again) instead of picking a fight, and the telling is done in polite and respective way.
Or do I miss something here?

Ken and Visakha said...

If each accepts responsibility for the argument there is no longer an argument.

And in any action, whose motives (excepting an Arahat) are perfectly pure? Whose rebuke is entirely objective?

This kind of honest self-examination must end in no conflict at all.

It makes sense where people are on a spiritual path. Could it ever work between groups or nations? Just wondering what it was like to live during King Ashoka's reign or at the time of Sho Toku Taishi.