Getting Rid of Likes and Dislikes
Nichiko Niwano, President of Rissho Kosei-kai
Sufferings Arise from Our Point of View
Shakyamuni described this situation as “the
If this is the case, it would be best to overcome
Well, then, in human relations, is there no way to
Buddhism teaches that no one escapes the four sufferings of birth, old age, illness, and death. In other words, they are our destiny.
On the one hand, the sufferings we experience in dealing with disagreeable people or unpleasant situations are part of life. But we can overcome those sufferings by changing our point of view and way of thinking. Achieving this depends on practice of the Buddha’s teachings.
Our like or dislike of someone is based on our
personality, and as such is a rather delicate and
Not Making Assumptions about Others
As I have mentioned in one of my previous essays, since we have the same characteristics that we dislike in others, we may be sensitive to those characteristics. Once we are convinced that we dislike someone or something, we become attached to that feeling, and it diminishes our capacity to accept other people. Yet, the human heart is not that small, narrow, or hard.
Not only human relations, but everything else in this world, without exception, is impermanent and subject to change. Furthermore, life, through every encounter—every karmic connection—is continually undergoing creative change. Therefore, by changing our point of view and meeting other people, we may open our hearts even to difficult people.
Besides, since every karmic encounter happens for the sake of us, changing our perspective allows us to benefit from everything around us.
After considering all this, if we still find it difficult
to get along with someone we dislike or find
One thing would be to savor the meaning of
Shakyamuni’s saying, “Among people filled with
The Dhammapada says, “How difficult it is to be born human.” When we closely examine this teaching about the essence of life, or when we read the verses “The sky is empty enough to let birds fly at will; the sea is broad enough to let fish leap,” which praise the vastness of the skies and oceans, they suggest how to take a broad view of human life.
Buddhism teaches us not to try to change others but to accept them by changing ourselves, and to put that into practice. In this sense, someone we dislike becomes the very benefactor who teaches us the strength of our own ego, and serves as the whetstone upon which we polish our minds. When this realization sinks in, our likes and dislikes vanish, and we can live joyful lives.
Read past Guidance messages from President Niwano.