The Jedi Master Luke Skywalker once saw his apprentice Ben Solo, to be so potentially dangerous, that he almost destroyed him, in a bid to prevent him from actualising this potential. Yet, in that very moment, Skywalker forgot the existence of Solo’s Buddha-nature – that he has the potential for goodness and purity too. More fundamentally, Skywalker lost track of his own Buddha-nature too, which is why he considered giving in to the dark side within himself and even thought of killing Solo. He had forgotten that he was Solo’s teacher, the very person who should not entertain such a dark thought, being the only one capable of ensuring Solo does not turn to the dark side, by nurturing his Buddha-nature instead.
Thus did the Buddha teach us to avoid all evil, practise all good, and to purify the mind. With that arising from the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion surely evil, in the ‘fight’ to avoid evil, if there is hatred as the second poison, one has already given in to the dark side, by not avoiding evil in that moment. Those evil or potentially evil should not be hated, or oneself will become evil too, adding fuel to the fire without purifying either side. While practising good, there should also not be greedy attachment, or it would be giving in to the first poison. As always, the dualistic first and second poisons rise from the third poison. Such are the spiritual subtleties all need to be mindful of.
Guided by wisdom, the opposite of delusion, we must avoid yet transform evil compassionately, without hating the evil, and we must practise to benefit with the good generously, without greed for goodness. Only so can we truly purify our minds of the Three Poisons. Perhaps understanding this, Yoda, who was modelled after a Dharma master, reminded Skywalker to learn from his failure, to see it as his greatest teacher, to grow beyond his mistake of being weak and unwise. If there is nothing wrong with walking the right path, why give up, even if astray for a while? Why should the most renown Jedi after Yoda renounce the path, since his teacher never let him down with his continual inspiring instruction?
As a self-fulfilling ‘prophecy’, when Solo awoke to see Skywalker about to cut him down with his lightsaber in his sleep, it angered Solo such that he truly turned to the dark side, embracing and growing his otherwise latent hatred – for the Jedi Order and his teacher, who ‘betrayed’ him with distrust. One can only wonder what would have happened if Skywalker more skilfully counselled him instead. Although Skywalker held up his saber, he did hesitate to use it, but alas! Solo only saw the raised saber and not his doubt and struck back in defence. Such is the danger of not being mindful from thought to thought, with even a spur of hate able to lead to a lifetime of regret. If so, may the Dharma be with all always!