Sunday, February 1, 2009

There is no such thing as "evil"!

This is something I learned studying philosophy while I was in prison. Between the practice of my spirituality (Buddhism), reading Aristotle, Socrates and Plato as well as eastern philosophy, and being in the midst of what could be considered a collection of some of the most "evil" people, I discovered that "evil" does not exist.

It is extremely important that everyone learns this one thing. It determines how people react toward one another. It is the very solution to hatred, war, and violence.

I am not so ignorant and oblivious, naive or delusional to believe that everyone is capable of thinking this way, or that this message, in whatever form, through whatever source will reach everyone, nor that it will sink in and be understood by all whom it reaches. But it is my duty as a human being to try to share it with whomever I can. If this message opens the eyes of just one individual, then it can and will grow from there. I just ask that those who do grasp the message, please try your best to pass it on.

This is something that has been known from the beginning of time. It is not a new idea. But the world we live in and the "illnesses" that invade our minds hinder our ability to "see" it. These "illneses" are exactly what cause the illusion of "evil". Let me explain:

When someone commits an act of violence, or anything that one would consider "evil", one must truly evaluate, with an open mind, what state of mind that person was in, and what was their method of thought.

It is entirely understandable that the victim, or those close to the victim, would be angry with the transgressor, or "evildoer". Revenge may even come to mind. But these feelings of anger, hate, and revenge cloud our judgement, and tend to create more violence. These feelings never solve the problem. They don't get back what was taken from us, and they don't prevent it from happening again. So why do we continue to put ourselves through the anguish of being angry and risking the consequences of revenge?

It is because we are delusional. We have a hard time seeing the true nature of things. We don't see the ignorance in our non-productive, repetitive behavior. According to Buddhist philosophy, these delusions mean that we are mentally ill. And this mental illness that clouds our perception and creates our delusions is also what causes the "evildoer" to commit "evil" acts in the first place.

When a person committs an act that people consider "evil" we must take a moment to consider what that person might have been thinking at the time of the incident. I can't assume that the person did it simply to be evil. Whatever the reason, whether it is morally wrong or not, it made enough sense to that person in his/her ill state of mind that he or she felt that what they were doing was right. Therefor they are "ill"; not "evil". This was something that Jesus understood when he was being crucified. He said, "Please, forgive them father, for THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO." Also, Gandhi understood this when he was shot and killed. His last words were to forgive the man who shot him. His empathy was for the man who shot him because he knew that the Karma that the man indebted to himself by killing was so much that Gandhi couldn't help but to feel sorry for the man. And Ronald Regan, when he was shot, after getting out of the hospital, went to visit the man who shot him, in prison, to tell him that he had forgiven him. This is the correct way to view things. This is the true nature of people. People who can do this are closer to enlightenment than most. They do not suffer from the "illness" as much as most. These people are most likely more content than most.

I can't logically assume that there is anyone on this planet who is mentally stable that does hurtful things for the mere purpose or pleasure of hurting someone. The very act is a sign that the person is ill. By understanding this I can no longer rightfully feel angry at the person, much less want revenge. Instead I will be more inclined to feel pitty for the person.

This, in no way, measns that we/they are not responsible for what we/they have done. This person, and all people who committ a wrong are responsible for their actions. Otherwise we would not learn from our actions. The only thing that can cure this kind of illness is wisdom; enlightenment. The only way to obtain wisdom and enlightenment is through experience, and to take responsibility for our actions. And to pay the karmic debt of those actions teaches us wisdom and awakens us little by little. The only people who do not suffer from this type of illness are those who are fully enlightened. However, I don't know anyone personally who is fully enlightened.

This means that when we look at someone who has done something terrible, that we could very easily have done the same thing, since we all suffer from this illness of delusion and ignorance. We cannot judge someone for something if we do not know why they did it. In their mind they did the only thing they could think of at the moment and they thought it was the right thing to do.

If someone does something to hurt you, hurting them back only verifies this idea. It only proves that you too are mentally ill. Your reason for responding by hurting them back my be viewed as an "evil" gesture by some, while to you it was entirely justified. But there is no benefit to it. It is an insane gesture. It is much more healthy and feels much better to understand that what has been done to you was done by somone who is ill. And while we cannot prevent others from doing hurtful things due to their "illness", we CAN prevent it in ourselves. The only peson we can change is ourselves.

If everyone could understand this we would see the violence and hatred decrease considerably all around the world. We would feel a sense of "letting go". There would be a quietness in us that would envelop the world. It is a "stop" to the cycle of violence. Sadly, misunderstanding and miscommuncation are a major cause of conflict, everywhere from inside our homes to nations around the world. We must stop for a moment before we act or react. Try to understand what has been done to us and why. Ask yourself if what you want to do about it will help, or will it cause more pain? Then ask yourself if anything good could ever come from causing more pain? We must learn to forgive those who hurt us. To do anything else about it is pointless.

Please check this out. It helps to solidify this idea more to a relative point: