Never Have Contempt At The Contemptuous

Since the mind is not physical,
No one can ever destroy it.
It is strongly attached to the body,
And so it is harmed by physical suffering.

Contempt, offensive speech,
Ans unpleasant words
Do not harm the body,
Then why, mind, are you so angry?

– Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds
(Shantideva Bodhisattva)

Objection: When someone has contempt for me, etc., other people will not like me, so this is why I am unhappy about it.

Reply: This would have some truth if others’ dislike were to harm you. However, since their dislike does nothing to you, give up your unhappiness about others’ contempt. ‘Engaging in the Bodhisattva Deeds’ says: ‘Others’ dislike for me, does not devour me, in this or other lives. Why am I averse to it?’

Objection: Indeed I am not harmed by their dislike, but in dependence on it, I may be hindered in acquiring things from them, so I will get angry at those who have contempt for me, scorn me, or say unpleasant words to me.

Reply: Even if you acquire things, you must leave them here, whereas the misgiving of your anger at them will [karmically] follow you. Hence, of the two choices – dying quickly in destitution or living for a long time improperly – the former is better.

Even if you acquire things and live for a long time, you must die since you are not liberated from death. At the time of death, it is the same whether you have enjoyed pleasure for the previous hundred years or enjoyed it for merely one year, for both alternatives are nothing more than mere objects of memory; and at that time it makes no difference at all for your happiness or suffering. It is analogous to how in a dream the experience of pleasure for one hundred years, and the experience of a mere moment’s pleasure have no difference at all with respect to your happiness or unhappiness at the time of waking.

When you contemplate in this way and turn away from attachment to gain and honour, you will not become unhappy with unpleasant words and contempt. You have no interest in being special in the eyes of others, so you do not lose your contentment.

The Great Treatise On The Stages Of The Path To Enlightenment Volume 2
(Lam Rim Chen Mo)
The Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee
Joshua W.C. Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, Guy Newland, Editor

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