- “CONQUER EVIL WITH VIRTUE”
When a conflict occurs, people often think about the wrongs done to them by the others, causing anger to grow. But in those who forgive, anger quickly vanishes. They are at peace with themselves most of the time. A praiseworthy man is the one who exercises self-restraint over evil in his mind by an act of forgiveness and non-retaliation. Here’s a tale from the Buddha’s lifetime about one of his followers, a woman whose household chores left her with no time to go to the temple and perform any other religious activities and functions after marriage.
Uttara’s husband was a rich non-Buddhist man. In order to solve the problem, she hired the courtesan named Sirima to be her husband’s mistress for a fortnight so she could perform meritorious deeds for the Buddha and His disciples. But Sirima developed jealousy of Uttara, entered the kitchen, seized a pot of boiling ghee, and threw it at Uttara’s face.
But Uttara’s mind was at that time full of compassion for Sirima.
She thought, “My friend Sirima had done me a great service. The Earth maybe too small, the high heaven too low. My friend’s virtue is so great, for it is through her help that I have been able to make off erings and listen to the Buddha’s teachings. So if there is any anger in me, let the oil burn my skin.But if I am free of anger, it won’t burn me.” The oil felt like cool water the moment it hit Uttara’s face. No damage was done.
“Conquer anger with non-anger, conquer evil with virtue,
conquer misers with generosity, conquer liars with truth.”
From “Buddha’s Words”, 5000s Magazine Vol.9