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Revenge is a dish that gives you heartburn

zenguitarzenguitar Bad BuddhistNew England Veteran

For the perusal of the Sangha, an interesting article (at least I think so) from the New York Times here on "The Futility of Vengeance":

http://nyti.ms/1Iq8adM

I think this paragraph near the end is intriguing: "Interestingly, people who are the least likely to seek vengeance tend to believe those who wronged them will ultimately get their comeuppance — in this or the afterlife. They let some higher power or fate be the final arbiter or avenger, as it were. It could be framed as forgiveness, letting it go or giving antagonists enough rope to hang themselves."

Are we Buddhists less likely to exact vengeance on an evildoer because we are nice people? Just letting go? Or are we giving the person just enough rope? :smile:

Shoshin

Comments

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2015

    I haven't got the energy to seek vengeance or hold grudges, it seems so pointless.

    ShoshinRowan1980Buddhadragon
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @zenguitar says Are we Buddhists less likely to exact vengeance on an evildoer because we are nice people? Just letting go? Or are we giving the person just enough rope? :smile:

    It's a whole lot of little things, like not even knowing how to play chess, we know the odds are not in our favor to exact 'vengeance' on our own...the conniving that comes with those who deliberately and maliciously do us wrong is not in our [my] basic nature. The odds are much better that sooner or later, cr*p will happen to them in a totally unexpected way. What a great feeling to say in all honesty, "I didn't do it!"

    and I'm very lazy-I'd rather...

    zenguitarShoshinBuddhadragon
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @zenguitar said:.... I think this paragraph near the end is intriguing: "Interestingly, people who are the least likely to seek vengeance tend to believe those who wronged them will ultimately get their comeuppance — in this or the afterlife. They let some higher power or fate be the final arbiter or avenger, as it were. It could be framed as forgiveness, letting it go or giving antagonists enough rope to hang themselves."

    Are we Buddhists less likely to exact vengeance on an evildoer because we are nice people? Just letting go? Or are we giving the person just enough rope? :smile:

    No, because when you learn about Kamma, you understand that it's not how it works.

    Only the misinformed speculate on "Well it's his karma!" or "What goes round comes around!"

    If you're a Buddhist with some knowledge, those kinds of thoughts are not manifest....

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    And when is revenge appropriate? Righteous? Correct?

    When it comes to legal litigation, or disputes (such as divorce, for example) I am forever advising people: In matters of emotion, it's understandable you'll use your heart... but in all matters practical, make sure you use the head, and nothing else.

    Head, given time to remain level, will make good decisions.

    Heart may feel righteous, but sadly, will invariably lead you to the wrong choices.

    Bunks
  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    @federica said:
    In matters of emotion, it's understandable you'll use your heart... but in all matters practical, make sure you use the head, and nothing else.

    But aren't emotional situations the ones in which people are most likely to exact vengeance? And don't vengeful people turn almost every situation into an emotional one? Hmm...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes. That's exactly why you shouldn't use the heart to make decisions the consequences of which can have a serious backlash...

    It's knowing how to tell the difference... which is why it's always best to 'sleep on it' if possible....

    people conscious of their own abilities and emotions, people who are not in denial about their tendencies, are usually quite good about taking a step back and apparaising a situation.
    Those who fly off the handle, shoot from the hip and fire off without thinking, are generally those who end up shooting themselves in the foot....

    zenguitar
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    @zenguitar said:

    Are we Buddhists less likely to exact vengeance on an evildoer because we are nice people? Just letting go? Or are we giving the person just enough rope? :smile:

    You never lived in Thailand.

    zenguitar
  • HamsakaHamsaka goosewhisperer Polishing the 'just so' Veteran

    Seeking revenge means you have to deliberately seek to and intend to hurt someone. After a while, deliberately intending to hurt someone just won't fly no matter what. There's a lot of people out there who don't have to meditate or play Buddhist dress up to not be willing to hurt the person who hurt them. In fact, they are getting more and more outspoken :) and even showing up in the news!

    lobsterzenguitar
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2015

    Be a mench.

    “Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?”
    ― Abraham Lincoln

    . . . and he was a politician . . . we have metta bhavna

    JeffreyBunksVastmind
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    There is revenge, and then there is REVENGE.

    What if you want a serial transgressor (of whatever) to learn a lesson and stop being a transgressor?

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited February 2015

    @vinlyn

    Mostly when I hear people speak of revenge, it is about a personal payback for an inflicted harm.
    If you just want a serial transgressor to learn a lesson without thinking of it as a personal
    payback then justice seems like a better word....

    But so many folks seem to justify revenge by calling it justice that the separation becomes pretty murky.

    zenguitar
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    That sounds reasonable, @how.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    We peeps are a pretty murky bunch. >:)

    lobsterzenguitar
  • zenguitarzenguitar Bad Buddhist New England Veteran

    @how said:
    zenguitar
    We Buddhists is a pretty vague grouping to work with.
    If you doubt that, then just start a thread here asking what a Buddhist is.

    Good idea, but I think I'm giving @federica heartburn with all the silly threads I've started, so I'll let someone else do that. :lol:

    mmo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    No, it's ok, don't worry....! In any case, they're countered by the ones which give me a real headache... Alka Selzers anyone...? :lol:

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    Life is so short.
    Why should you waste it on holding grudges, exacting revenges, keeping tabs?

    I have never been so wronged by anyone as to be eager to seek revenge.
    But I have lived long enough to be able to see that mean people are pretty unhappy people and that is their worst punishment.

    federicalobstermmo
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    It is said that "The best Revenge is to Live Well"....

    VastmindBuddhadragonsilver
  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Life is so short.
    Why should you waste it on holding grudges, exacting revenges, keeping tabs?

    I have never been so wronged by anyone as to be eager to seek revenge.
    But I have lived long enough to be able to see that mean people are pretty unhappy people and that is their worst punishment.

    Generally agreed, but there is such a thing as justice, and a person who wrongs one person is probably wronging other people, as well.

    silver
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Yes, but we've discussed the difference between the two, and how to differentiate....

    Remember also that unfortunately, the Law is not set for the individual, but for the good of Society as a whole. What we define as (Moral) justice is sadly, often entirely different to legal Justice.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @DhammaDragon said:
    Life is so short.
    Why should you waste it on holding grudges, exacting revenges, keeping tabs?

    I have never been so wronged by anyone as to be eager to seek revenge.
    But I have lived long enough to be able to see that mean people are pretty unhappy people and that is their worst punishment.

    I do believe that is a Hell they've inadvertently designed for themselves - even if their victims don't seek revenge, they're creating a solid group of people / animals who will never trust them again and will turn their backs on them.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran Veteran

    Justice is the one quality that is perhaps the most challenging to achieve. But revenge was never satisfying to me even when it wore the cloak of honor.

  • vinlynvinlyn Veteran Colorado...for now Veteran

    @federica said:
    Yes, but we've discussed the difference between the two, and how to differentiate....

    But I'm not sure that the individual seeking justice, particularly if for himself (which is most common) can see the fine line between revenge and justice...except perhaps in hindsight. At least that's been my experience.

    Shoshin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    No, sadly, most can't. And it's as I pointed out before, it's best to take a step back, 'sleep on it' and try to use the head, not the heart, to ascertain the best, most productive and least 'harmful' course of action.

    I realise many don't do that. And this is what leads to so many acrimonious divorces and separations, parting of the ways and divisions....

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