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Author Topic: Feeling sorry for the victim but not the abuser?  (Read 1777 times)
Paris
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« on: April 05, 2011, 07:39:28 AM »

First, a little story:
About four months ago, some of my friends and I chanced upon a stray dog with quite possibly the worst state of skin problems and infections that we'd ever seen. He had no fur, his skin was totally wrinkled and saggy, he was all crusty from what looked like months of infection, and he had scratched himself all over until he was bleeding. This little dog, merely a 6 month old puppy couldn't walk more than 5 steps without sitting down to scratch again. Any movement looked a painful struggle.

We took him to the vet, who refused to let him stay because he had the worst case of scabies (highly contagious) that the vets had every seen. He was too much of a high-risk for all the other animals there. So we found him a place to live and thus began an arduous 3 months of persistent daily care, meditation and baths.

Later, I also discovered that he had a crushed pelvis, which resulted in a funny walk. It could have been that he was hit by a car, got into some sort of accident or even been physically abused. I sat for days and cried about the state that Gaston was in, feeling a tremendous sadness for the pain that this little fellow had to go through in his short life. My heart literally hurt from thinking about him.

So, I got to thinking about something Rinpoche said. Why is it that we feel so much sadness, so much pain and empathy for beings like Gaston? But we don't feel the same sadness for beings who are created the karma and cause, RIGHT NOW, to end up being just like Gaston in the future?

Remember the video going round on YouTube about the little poodle Sushi who was being beaten up by his owner? Outraged Facebookers the world over flooded the video posting with comments about how much they would like to tie up the guy and do exactly the same thing to him, beat him, kick him, throw him across the room. Pet lovers everywhere felt a huge anger for the guy and an overwhelming sadness and helplessness for the little dog in the video.

But hey, guess what? The little poodle could have been that same guy, doing the same things in a previous time. And that guy, is probably going to end up in a similar predicament in the future, suffering the same fate in the hands of someone who is just as cruel as him. All the wishes of those Facebookers - of wanting to abuse this guy in the same way - may just very well come true. He'll be a little dog in the merciless hands of another abuser in the future.

So why don't we feel sorry for him now? because he's heading right down that same way. And most likely, by the time we feel sorry for him, it will be too late.
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wmw111
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2011, 08:26:22 AM »

I've not heard of anything like that before in other teachings or teachers. Mind blowing stuff to have compassion for the abuser too. Karma is infallible u can run but u can't hide.
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2011, 08:50:03 AM »

I posted the same view on that situation when it was happening. But to be honest..if someone is let's say a child molester that is where any compassion ends.
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Joey
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2011, 11:12:23 PM »

I've not heard of anything like that before in other teachings or teachers. Mind blowing stuff to have compassion for the abuser too. Karma is infallible u can run but u can't hide.

I believe Rinpoche has mentioned this before. He said something about feeling sorry for the abuser, when the karma for the abuser ripens.

An easier way to illustrate this was the case of the kitten killer girl who killed kittens because she could not handle her parents' divorce losing her job, and her mom was no longer able to open her stall as people were harassing her every day. She lost her friends and source of income. I do pity her because she lost everything overnight after the video.

if only she has thought of it before she stomped on that kitten,  that this would happen even on a worldly level.

Have compassion for the person who abuse others, because they will be in a similar situation as their victim when their karma ripens.
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2011, 12:51:12 PM »

When i hear of these things happening i just feel sad at life or samsara if you like, its just a bit of life happenening to someone for both parties, though my initial sadness is focused more on the abusee, when i get things in perspective i feel sad for both parties, i wouldn't want to be either of them Cry

Jon
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Joey
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2011, 06:15:58 PM »

When i hear of these things happening i just feel sad at life or samsara if you like, its just a bit of life happenening to someone for both parties, though my initial sadness is focused more on the abusee, when i get things in perspective i feel sad for both parties, i wouldn't want to be either of them Cry

Jon

sadly the nature of samsara is such that sometimes you end up being one of them anyway...
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wmw111
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2011, 09:08:38 PM »

When someone stops , thats when the cycle of violence STOPS!

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Joey
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2011, 07:31:40 AM »

When someone stops , thats when the cycle of violence STOPS!



you mean by us not reacting in pain or lash out when we're the victim or press others down when we have the chance to?
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2011, 08:12:35 AM »

On a daily basis I face with persons who have committed serious crimes against other people.  This includes child molesters, killers, rapists, men who abuse their partners seriously, thieves, drug dealers [very serious in my mind as they perpetuate knowingly and for profit the spiritual destruction of others], and the list goes on.  The damage that these persons do to another person is great and impacts that person on such a negative level.  Sexual abuse is perhaps the most devastating, indeed debilitating for a person and leaves a permanent scar in the mind and spirit.  Having compassion for these persons is so difficult and it's something that I struggle with every day.  The feelings of anger and wanting Lex Talonis [eye for an eye] is indeed great and at times overwhelming.  You find out very quickly if the teachings are an "abstraction" or truly a part of you very fast in this environment.

 I am not all seeing or all-knowing, but from my understanding of karma it is somewhat evident where these persons will end up.  In my mind it is sad because they will most likely experience similar situations which will in turn only perpetuate the wheel of Sharp weapons further and further.  Even working with these persons, it is clear that their mindset and spirit is in a state of total negativity and disarray.  In some cases I have seen the karma ripen in a very short amount of time leading to very disastrous health, legal and personal consequences.  Truly sad, truly sad.
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Joey
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2011, 07:51:45 PM »

On a daily basis I face with persons who have committed serious crimes against other people.  This includes child molesters, killers, rapists, men who abuse their partners seriously, thieves, drug dealers [very serious in my mind as they perpetuate knowingly and for profit the spiritual destruction of others], and the list goes on.  The damage that these persons do to another person is great and impacts that person on such a negative level.  Sexual abuse is perhaps the most devastating, indeed debilitating for a person and leaves a permanent scar in the mind and spirit.  Having compassion for these persons is so difficult and it's something that I struggle with every day.  The feelings of anger and wanting Lex Talonis [eye for an eye] is indeed great and at times overwhelming.  You find out very quickly if the teachings are an "abstraction" or truly a part of you very fast in this environment.

 I am not all seeing or all-knowing, but from my understanding of karma it is somewhat evident where these persons will end up.  In my mind it is sad because they will most likely experience similar situations which will in turn only perpetuate the wheel of Sharp weapons further and further.  Even working with these persons, it is clear that their mindset and spirit is in a state of total negativity and disarray.  In some cases I have seen the karma ripen in a very short amount of time leading to very disastrous health, legal and personal consequences.  Truly sad, truly sad.


It can be very hard to have compassion for the perpetrator, towards someone who seemingly destroys the lives of others with little or no regard at all. A good way to overcome this is to try to see things  from their point of  view; like  what drove them to do such things, or why. Most of these people who do crimes against others have this notion that it is okay to do it to others because someone else have done this to them before. So we could start having compassion for them from there, and also of the disastrous effects on them that may arrive soon.
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« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 06:52:57 AM »

Joey (and everyone!),

What you said is correct.  In some cases however you must exercise caution about this, because there are some places that you do not want to venture or to necessarily understand.  With some of these offenders the reasons are beyond sick, deluded and downright disgusting.  With molesters in particular there is a sort of energy, something that is bent on stealing innocence, corrupting it for its own purpose.  It has a very sick feeling to it, right in your lower stomach making you feel nauseated. 

If one does not have a certain level in terms of spiritual development, working with these individuals can be very damaging.  I can speak from experience that leaves a negative impression in the mind stream and can be difficult to counteract this.  There are times I've dreamed about these individuals and is not pleasant.  I've always found that mushin and zanhin are the best approaches.  For those who have trained in the martial arts you will know what this means.  For those who have not, it refers to having a clear mind and being focused on the present situation without distraction to protect yourself (conceptual words fail to describe this state).  Because believe it or not, they will try to attack you in very subtle ways on a spiritual level with the intention to spread their corruption.
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« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2011, 07:12:11 PM »

Dear all,
With respect to what GOG has said, yes the perpetrator will try to justify his actions by spreading his views to others. If more people subscribe to my view, then am I less likely to be wrong. That is if there is no remorse in that person at all.

Does it mean being one with the present ( zanhin and mushin), not being stained by that person past's or even one's previous views/preoccupations/attachments , as that person in theory could switch over in that instant, when he sees things differently?

I like rinpoche's quote on this 'all monsters are wrongly afflicted', Angulimala was also a monster before he was finally subdued by the Buddha. If Milarepa, one guy ( Ajash... i forgot his name) who did fatricide could become enlightened in their lifetimes, then this puts things into perspective about the deeds of modern day monsters.

 
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~ Chogyam Trungpa ~
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« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2011, 09:00:45 AM »

In order to reach a state of wanting to change many things must cease and new behaviours begin as we wall know.  Eightfold path teaches this very well.  To me anyways making meaningful happen many things must  happen:  recognition of their actions and the impact upon others, development of victim empathy (no easy task), letting go of manipulative behaviours, dropping cognitive distortions and subduing the desire to benefit themselves only.  The potential for enlightment exists in all these guys (and girls), some have even embraced buddhism.  Sex offenders in my view (by this I mean molesters, child porn ect) never fully rehabilitate, they are strict management cases (monitoring them in the community to ensure they dont reoffend).   

I try to keep a positive outlook for these offendes and do my best to encourage them down paths leading to less harm to others and themselves.  The hard thing is that we rarely see the positive outcomes but only the negative (that being reoffending).  I guess you could say the fact they dont reoffend means we did something right or they just got better at covering things up.

Enlightenment is an instant, but the steps leading to this event could take a long time..............
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Joey
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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 08:07:27 PM »

Dear all,
With respect to what GOG has said, yes the perpetrator will try to justify his actions by spreading his views to others. If more people subscribe to my view, then am I less likely to be wrong. That is if there is no remorse in that person at all.

Does it mean being one with the present ( zanhin and mushin), not being stained by that person past's or even one's previous views/preoccupations/attachments , as that person in theory could switch over in that instant, when he sees things differently?

I like rinpoche's quote on this 'all monsters are wrongly afflicted', Angulimala was also a monster before he was finally subdued by the Buddha. If Milarepa, one guy ( Ajash... i forgot his name) who did fatricide could become enlightened in their lifetimes, then this puts things into perspective about the deeds of modern day monsters.

 

Ah you're talking about prince Ajatashu. He is the son of King Bimbisara and his story is quite interesting. Apparently Bimbisara  could not have children for a number of years and he consulted a sadhu who told him that an ascetic was due to be his son after he passed away. Not wanting to wait any further, the king ordered that ascetic to be executed and true enough, his wife became pregnant soon.

Devadatta told Ajatashu of  the story of his birth, which enraged  him to steal his father's crown by locking him outside the palace. He captured his father and skinned the soles of his feet and made him walk on live hot coals and also starved him. His mother secretly applied butter and honey to her body so that the former king may be fed. When she was caught she was prevented from doing so and in her great suffering prayed to  the Buddha who appeared to her and Bimbisara and taught them the existence of Amithaba's Pureland as their minds were already in deep suffering (according to Mahayana sources).

Ajatashu himself had an untimely end. There are 2 different accounts on how he died: he was suffering from heavy illness as well as prolonged insomnia and much mental suffering. One of his advisers advice him to go to the Buddha. On the way some accounts state that he was swallowed whole by the earth while others said a speeding bullock cart ran over him. Another source says that he died of his illness before he could reach the Buddha.

In this case, Ajatashu would not have did what he did if Devadatta had not incite him to do so. Also it is interesting to note that Devadatta under Ajatashu's patronage gained the manpower to try to crush the Buddha with a boulder and also intoxicated an elephant to send it charging to the Buddha. In short Devadatta manipulated Ajatashu for his own gains while Ajatashu spirals downwards...

If Ajatashu had not been manipulated, do you think he would have commited what he did?
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 08:09:54 PM by Joey » Logged

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WayBackHome83
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« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2011, 07:55:54 PM »

There is an understandable urge to criticise, loathe, hate and want to seek revenge against someone who causes us or those close to us considerable harm. Some people like to think they're above "lowering themselves to the level of the perpetrator", but they kid themselves. It's fine to say we must be compassionate to all beings or whatever on a forum while everything is relatively pleasant. Few people can hold the same view in the true sense when they have the misfortune of having a loved one raped or killed by another. They want retribution. It's only natural.

To feel compassion for an abuser takes real spiritual practice. Anyone can talk a good game, but to actually feel genuine compassion for, say, a paedophile or a killer? Difficult.

What could be argued - and is argued - is that there is no such thing as a killer, a paedophile, a thief. There is a person who kills. There is a person who commits an act of child abuse. There is a person who steals. There's a world of difference. Defining someone as a killer defines the whole person as a killer, which is a bit like having a flat tyre on your car and viewing the whole car as defunct. From that view, by separating the act from the person, it's possible some compassion can arise. But even the very title of this post adds to the problem and demonstrates exactly why this is so difficult: there is no such thing as an abuser - there is a person who abuses.

Straight away, there are labels and stigmas and bad feeling attached to those who commit serious offences. An "abuser" implies that the person spends most of their time abusing, just as an IT support worker spends most of his week at the computer desk. However, a person who abuses has many different aspects to their character. OK, so one of those aspects may be hideous, but there is more to even the most "evil" person than the deeds they commit. Hitler was a vegetarian who painted and wrote poetry: one poem in particular (about his mother) is beautiful.  But can compassion be shown towards someone like that?

On a very high spiritual level, yes. Otherwise, compassion in this sense is very hard to give. But we're a conditioned bunch: someone need only sit in our chair at work or disagree with an opinion and we immediately take a dislike to them - how will our minds find compassion for "bad" people?

And of course, openly express your compassion for Hitler (or even that there's a slim possibility of doing so!) and you are yourself labelled as mad. But we have to achieve the balance: you can't ignore horrendous deeds, but you can take pity on those who are unstable enough to commit such acts. The trouble is, people judge and condemn others by their own standards. If someone can't string a sentence together, to me, I might see them as an idiot - how hard can it be? Even some "writers" can't do the job properly (I actually don't hold this view - I merely illustrate the point). Likewise, my friend - who has a post-doctorate in Physics - probably thinks I'm stupid because I can't get my head around Algebra.

The trouble lies, therefore, in our perception. Any relatively sane average person who says they can feel sincere compassion for a person who has raped a child is either lying to appear altruistic and holy (and humbly so, of course) or they will have a sore neck, resulting from having their heads stuck in the clouds for so long. Sincere compassion for abusers is for the highly-attained. If at any point you have gotten pissed off during a simple argument or discussion, that rules you out (and me, too).

Easier said than done, but the solution lies in education and understanding. You cannot punish a problem - that's why the death penalty has never worked. You can kill a person who has killed, but you cannot kill the act of killing. It's only by serious contemplation of the root causes of behaviours and responsible application of proper treatment of the problem that there will be any chance of making real progress.

To find compassion for anyone is - in words, anyway - easy: you simply see the person as a whole and not just the acts they commit. But this is far more difficult to practise than can be imagined by the ordinary person. But then again, the simplest of truths are always incomprehensible.

Kind regards,
Sandy Smiley
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