Seeing Enemies As Precious Treasures

If enemies reveal our fault of enmity,
are they not our spiritual friends too?

— Stonepeace | Get Books

There are many reasons for charity; the world is full of people in need. On the other hand, those who make us angry and test our patience are relatively few, especially if we avoid harming others. So when we encounter these rare enemies we should appreciate them.

Like a treasure found at home,
Enriching me without fatigue,
Enemies are helpers in the Bodhisattva life.
They should be a pleasure and a joy to me.

When we have been patient towards enemies, we should dedicate the fruit of this practice to them, because they are the causes of it. They have been very kind to us. We might ask, Why should they deserve this dedication when they had no intention of making us practice patience? But do objects need to have an intention before they are worthy of our respect? The Dharma itself, which points out the cessation of suffering and is the cause of happiness, has no intention of helping us, yet it is surely worthy of respect.

We might think, then, that our enemies are undeserving because they actively wish to harm us. But if everyone were as kind and well-intentioned as a doctor, how could we ever practice patience? And when a doctor, intending to cure us, hurts us by amputating a limb, cutting us open, or pricking us with needles, we do not think of him as an enemy and get angry with him. Thus, we cannot practice patience toward him. But enemies are those who intend to harm us, and it is for this reason that we are able to practice patience toward them.

A Flash Of Lightning In The Dark: A Guide To The Bodhisattva’s Way Of Life
The Dalai Lama

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