Rid yourself of hatredScene One
Two millennia ago, Christ taught: Do not judge others, so that you will not be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged; the measure you use for others will be used to measure you. (Matthew 7:1-2)
He also added: How can you see the tiny speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and yet not see the wooden plank lodged in your own eye?
I’m curious why we receive judgment ourselves if we judge others.
Buddha was staying at the Veluvana Bamboo Grove monastery in India when the Brahmin Akkosaka Bharadvaja came and insulted him. This Brahmin had heard that a young man from the esteemed Bharadvaja clan had cut his hair and entered the homeless life. Buddha listened to the man’s tirade and then responded, “Do your friends, colleagues and relatives ever visit you as guests?”
“Yes, they do.”
Buddha asked again, “If they don’t accept the delicacies you serve, then to whom does that food belong?”
“It’s mine, of course.”
The Buddha continued, “In the same way, you have scolded, berated, and insulted me — it’s just like us sharing food together. But I do not partake in this food you have served; I do not accept what you have given me. Those insults are all yours, Brahmin.”
It is said that later the Brahmin Akkosaka Bharadvaja entered the homeless life under Buddha and became an Arahat himself.
God formed the entire universe; he created the heavens and the earth, and then he made men in his own image, so men resembled God. Even our ability to create is similar to God. For instance, look at our minds — we can create whatever thought, emotion or idea we like.
For example, if thoughts of hatred arise, before we know it our mind’s storehouse is full of spiteful feelings. If thoughts of love arise, the mind is overflowing with feelings of compassion. In this way, our mind has the power to create all sorts of emotions and make use of them — the mind’s potential is truly infinite.
Christ told us not to judge others — in other words, not to give rise to judgmental thoughts. This is because our feelings have momentum, and these thoughts of spite, hatred, and jealousy all contain harmful, poisonous energy. We typically direct this spiteful energy toward someone we dislike by using thoughts, words, and facial expressions — we subconsciously hope that when the other person receives this destructive energy that they will suffer harm.
Think about it for a second — in order for me to arouse these feelings of dislike toward someone else, my own mind must first be full of this emotion; if I am able to arouse such malice toward another person, my own mind must also be full of this feeling. By this logic, who is the primary consumer of this hateful energy? That’s right — I am.
The more we hold onto these spiteful, judgmental, destructive energies directed toward others the more we take on these qualities ourselves.
Eventually we end up absorbing most of this energy that we have aroused — if we hold malicious feelings, we take on destructive energy; if we hold compassionate feelings, we take on loving energy. That’s why we are actually being judged ourselves before we judge others; we are also being loved ourselves before we love others — this is the universal rule.
Christ said, “Do not judge others, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged.”
When we see a speck of sawdust in the eye of another, however, this principle doesn’t apply — only when we see the wooden plank stuck in our own eye does this rule come closer to our hearts. That’s the reason Christ asked us to realize that there’s a plank stuck in our own eye — it’s the first step toward understanding this principle.
Buddha was the same — he realized where abusive speech arises, where it abides, and where it returns to, as this is also the universal rule. When Jesus told us to love our enemies, who was he actually saying we should love?
*The author is a JoongAng Ilbo writer on religious affairs.