The valley of violence offers a realistic study of vengeance, on the implications of taking it up and not. A wanderer enters a salon, simply seeking a break from his travels. However, he karmically (of course!) encounters the town bully. Sensing trouble, he refrains from reacting at first. Yet, as bullies usually expect responses for their kicks, he is semi-forced to confront him as the bully pushes on.
I used the word ‘semi-forced’ because it is usually due to lack of skilfulness that we habitually think of wanting a get-back in terms of verbal insult or even physical violence. Can we truly be forced by any situation to retaliate out of vengeance? Sadly, the answer is yes. Glady, this is so only for those untrained in patience, forgiveness, compassion and wisdom, thus adding fuel to the fire of hate.
The problem with vengefulness, with the worst being killing, is that even if there is only one so-called enemy killed, that enemy has many friends, who might in turn become your new enemies. Vengeance thus perpetuates if it is seen as the only solution, with killing spinning out of control exponentially for both sides. Vengeance then, powered by hatred is the true mutual enemy!
The real challenge is to be creative in the righting of wrongs without killing, to transform enemies to be friends. It gives chance for reformation. Of course, it is not always easy to show the enemy why redemption is needed in the first place. Again, this requires skilful means – an ideal mix of compassion and wisdom. The alternative is to be jerks to jerks, whose knee-jerk is to fight back!
Can Buddhists Seek Revenge?
The ‘Wu Xia’ Koan Of Forgiveness
Power Of Empathy Over Vengeance