Dharma Quote of the Week
A tenth-century Bengali pandita named Palden Atisha reintroduced Buddhism into Tibet. He had a servant who was really awful. He was abusive to Atisha, disobedient, and generally a big problem. The Tibetans asked Atisha what he was doing with such an awful guy who was so completely obnoxious. They said, "Send him back. We'll take care of you." Atisha replied, "What are you talking about? He is my greatest teacher of patience. He is the most precious person around me!"
Patience does not mean suppression, and it doesn't mean bottling up our anger or turning it in on ourselves in the form of self-blame. It means having a mind which sees everything that happens as the result of causes and conditions we have set in motion at some time in this or past lives. Who knows what our relationship has been with someone who is causing us difficulties now? Who knows what we have have done to him in another life! If we respond to such people with retaliation, we are just locking ourselves into that same cycle. We are going to have to keep replaying this part of the movie again and again in this and future lifetimes. The only way to break out of the cycle is by changing our attitude.
--from Reflections on a Mountain Lake: Teachings on Practical Buddhism by Venerable Tenzin Palmo, published by Snow Lion Publications