Antidotes

Conquer anger with non-anger;
Conquer wickedness with goodness;
Conquer stinginess with giving,
And a liar with truth.

Dhammapada v. 223, translated by Gil Fronsdal

This verse is so compact and so complete, I can only say WOW.

OK, maybe I’ll say a little more, but I cannot improve on these words.

Each line is both a description and an instruction. Non-anger (love, compassion) overcomes anger; this is what happens [description]. AND if you want to overcome anger (your own or someone else’s), use your love and compassion [instruction].

Likewise, goodness overcomes wickedness – that is, our own goodness can overcome our own wickedness and is also the appropriate remedy for the wickedness of others. Giving is the best response to stinginess in ourselves or others; and truthfulness is the only way to counteract lies.

One of the ways we can use the teachings of the Buddha is to remember them and try to apply them day by day. If we recognize anger, wickedness, stinginess and lies, and we are familiar with our own levels of non-anger, goodness, generosity and truthfulness, these understandings can provide guidelines for our actions and words.

Mainly, this verse produces a feeling of gratitude in me. I recognize it as deeply true and helpful.

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