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August 19, 2012 / Ronald Chapman

Compassion rather than Violence

After much exposure to Buddhist teaching, I finally came to understand how it is that compassion (or love) alters everything. I saw it in one specific experience. And like all things, a single moment of clarity can alter everything.

Someone cut me off in traffic. It was a near miss, and it frightened me. I was instantly thrown into a rage. Fortunately my long-time mentor had just been speaking with me about using a specific awareness tool. I immediately began to consider possibilities other than the guy “cutting me off.”

It could be a mechanical failure in the car. Perhaps he swerved to avoid a collision or road debris. He could be distracted. It could be that some terrible thing had befallen him and he was caught by sorrow or grief. On the other hand, perhaps I was not paying enough attention.

This simple bit of thought altered my feelings. I was no longer angry. And a feeling of charity seemed to emerge from nowhere. And with that, a smile of compassion came to my lips … for him and for me.

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