Monday Musings Forty-six: An Eye For An Eye
An Eye For An Eye
In the current climate of world troubles and terror attacks, it seems apt to say a few words on revenge and attempting to control others. Violence is never the answer. As the Buddha stated in the Dhammapada:
‘Hatred does not cease by hatred,
by love alone does hatred cease.’
Other wise teachings tell us that it is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Only then will we ever find peace. Only here, within this body, right now, can the seed of world peace find a home and begin to grow.
We’ve all heard the common Christian saying taken from the Bible that would seem to tell us to ‘take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. Unfortunately, like another oft misquoted verse (the sun shines on the righteous), this has gotten taken out of context and twisted into something it was never meant to be. The full verse changes the meaning entirely:
Matthew (5:38-42) New Testament, ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.’
So, rather than an instruction for revenge, it offers sage advice to turn the other cheek. When we take a closer look, we find the same with the ‘righteous’ quote too (the sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous alike). As with Monday Musings Twenty-three, forgiveness isn’t what we think and benefits the forgiver far more than the perpetrator.
No true religion advocates terrorism and has as its basis spirituality, which demands of us compassion for all living things. Terrorism has no religion. Historian Howard Zinn tells us, ‘It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people.’ Remember, hate begets hate. Do you want to live in a world of hate?
Sometimes the best response is no response; i.e. be still and know thyself. Be still and do no harm. Be still. Empty. Let go. Don’t add fuel to the fire of anger. Pour the waters of compassion. Early on in our Monday Musings, we talked about how we make our world, and then we live in it. Mind made are all things. It always comes down to our perception—how we see a thing.
We mould the clay into a vessel, and then we get busy filling the emptiness inside. It saddens me deeply that we miss that we have the choice of what we put into that pristine emptiness. That emptiness holds whatever we want.
Our every action and thought impact us, whether we realise it or not. They effect us far more than they can ever affect another.
In the wise words of Zen:
‘An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.’
If you’ve missed my previous Monday Musings, you can find the links here: https://www.harmonykent.co.uk/category/monday-musings/