Never mistake the need to be firm
as the need to be angry,
as it is possible to be firm
without being angry.
Even the Dalai Lama, whose patience and nonviolent compassion in the face of the invasion of his homeland won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the admiration of the world, acknowledges this point [about response to injustice]. In ‘Healing Anger’, he says:
‘If one has been treated unfairly and if the situation is left unaddressed, it may have extremely negative consequences… Such a situation calls for a strong counteraction. Under such circumstances, it is possible that one can, out of compassion for the perpetrator of the crime and without generating anger or hatred, actually take a strong stand and take strong countermeasures. In fact, one of the precepts of the [Buddhist] vows is to take strong countermeasures when the situation calls for it. If a Buddhist doesn’t take strong countermeasures when the situation requires, then that constitutes an infraction of one of the vows.’
… The problem is that the truth of the injustice by itself often helps to fuel the anger, to keep it from being transformed or resolved. Notice that the Dalai Lama emphasizes that when we take action against a real injustice, we must try to do so when we are not feeling angry. He also says that our motivation should not so much be to protect ourselves as to feel compassion for the perpetrator.
Work As A Spiritual Practice