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Buddhadharma : Summer 2019
THICH NHAT HANH 55 we look into our own and others’ psychological traits. If someone is always angry or sad, we feel uncomfortable with that person, and we have the tendency to blame or shun him. But once we understand the roots of his anger and sadness, once we see how it manifests in dependence on other factors, we will be able to accept him, to look at him with compassion, and we will want to help him. Naturally, we and the other person will suffer less. This is the fruit that can be realized right away due to insight into interdependent coarising. When we see a child who is wellbehaved, it is easy to understand the source and reason of her good behavior in a wholesome home environment and neighborhood. It is even more important to see the interdependently coarisen nature of a child who is cruel. Just as with good behavior, the reasons for a child’s cruelty can be found in her family, society, school, friends, and ancestors. If we do not shine the light of interdependent coarising on the child’s character, we get angry or afraid, and we blame her. We must do our best to understand her interdependent selfnature in order to understand her, accept her, love her, and help her transform. If we look at the death penalty in the light of interdependent co arising, we see that such an extreme punishment is not reasonable. A person commits a serious crime because of, among other things, the seeds he has inherited from his ancestors and seeds that have been planted during his own lifetime. He has been exposed to various environments, and his parents, siblings, friends, educators, authori ties, and society have not done enough to help him transform the unwholesome seeds that he has received. The ripening of those seeds has created a tremendous force in him that has driven him to kill, rape, or commit other serious crimes. When we think there is noth ing else to be done with that person than to kill him, we manifest our collective powerlessness. As a society, we are defeated. We must look deeply at all the causes and conditions that helped make the Whether the ground beneath our feet is heaven or hell depends entirely on our way of seeing and walking. Samsara and suchness have the same ground—the ground of our consciousness, our mind.