Love and kindness toward "enemies"

To show love and kindness (metta) toward what others see as enemies seem to be a rare ability. But why do some people not see that to hold someone as enemy is more damage to one self then to others?

The only enemy there is our self.


Glad to see your contributions to the forum @Cultivator :slight_smile:

Since you are new, I just thought I’d give a few pointers re the topic categories . As you are aware this is a site for the discussion of Early Buddhist Texts. It is really a forum that serves to support the work of Sutta Central in the publishing of EBT’s in as many languages as possible in the public domain. So many of the categories are supports for the technical side of doing this. The other categories are for discussing aspects of the EBTs. As such threads should be couched in terms of this body of texts. The Q&A section tends to be for very specific questions, where one is looking for a specific answer - when the solution is given one uses the green ‘solved’ button :slight_smile:

For topics that are designed to foster more discussion, and that don’t have a specific ‘solution’ the discussion category is best. I think this subject is more worthy of discussion as there isn’t a solution as such to your question. As such, wearing my moderator hat, I’ll move it there.



I am not ging to disagree with the rules of this forum. But honestly it is to strict to only be allowed to use ETB view, As a Cultivator yes i use the Buddhist suttas within Theravada tradition, But those should not be followed without our own way of understanding them.
How can we gain wisdom if we can not think for our self?

Sorry to say it but even this was my thread i can not take part in it. And actually i will chose to log off.

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Sorry that you think so. I’ll check with the Moderation team, just in case I was out of line, but the guidelines are pretty clear.

Anyway, we are all human, and doing our best, and engaging in good faith, so please don’t finalise your judgement on something so small.

:anjal: :dharmawheel:


I think there’s a good opportunity here to consider what the suttas do say on this theme.

We all know the metta sutta,

especially in the Amravati version*, but I wonder which suttas speak directly about how holding someone as an enemy is more damaging to oneself than it is to others?


Kileasa (defilements) throw up a smoke-screen. They point outwards: ‘the problem is out there’. and the solution is not to be found internally. This is what mindfulness is about. MN20 will show that it’s important to focus internally ‘on this fathom long body’. Are you able to reflect, rather than react.


This sounds simple, but actually runs quite deep. There are several senses of enemy that can be distinguished:

  • enemy as a target of ill-will is unholesome since ill-will is a fetter. This is the simpler case. (–MN64)
  • enemy as a source of ill-will is problematic since it would generate resentment to overcome our metta. This is the complicated and difficult case. In this regard, DN33 offers nine methods to get rid of resentment.

Nine methods to get rid of resentment. Thinking: ‘They did wrong to me, but what can I possibly do?’ you get rid of resentment. Thinking: ‘They are doing wrong to me …’ … ‘They will do wrong to me …’ … ‘They did wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They are doing wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They will do wrong by someone I love …’ … ‘They helped someone I dislike …’ … ‘They are helping someone I dislike …’ … Thinking: ‘They will help someone I dislike, but what can I possibly do?’ you get rid of resentment.

Another example is Aṅgulimāla, a serial killer bandit without remorse or regret. He simply enjoyed killing people, much like the child burning ants with his magnifying glass. The people he murdered were inconsequential, hardly worth being called “enemy”. And yet one worthy did come by…

Then the Buddha walked by and said…

I’ve stopped, Aṅgulimāla—now you stop. --mn86


This is an interesting question and one that is very relevant to me on a personal level. As some who has lived through a civil war and has lost people very close to me(and in a rather brutal manner), It is extremely difficult for me to forgive. Since I was a little boy I had a clear understanding of who my “enemies” were. Yes holding hate in your heart is more harmful to yourself, I can see that now. Still it is extremely difficult to forgive forget. It is hard to let go when there is still some tension with the “enemy”.


“Forgiveness is not a line you cross it is a road you take”. :anjal:


This was such a startlingly powerful quote that I had to look it up.


I want to clarify this - sometimes the problem is out there, but the response, is in here. It is not that terrible crimes are committed and they should go with an adequate reaction from society…


For pondering .
Have you came up with anything ?
The problem is someone wants to discuss , moderator think otherwise , actually it is not a yes & no answer question .

So often people are very rigid therefore not very accommodating not to mention confronting one consider enemy .

Rules and Metta and wisdom does not get along huh !


Well it does require some effort sometimes :slight_smile: The moderator role is really to make sure things run smoothly and according to the guidelines. Apart from right speech, the issues tend to be about the scope of the forum. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources to be all things to all people, so we focus on providing a forum different from the general Buddhist chat, of which there are several choices to be had.

While we do try to strike a ‘happy balance’ inevitably this does disappoint some people :slight_smile:
Anyway, the Moderation team are all practicing Buddhists and volunteers and do try very hard to be fair. Please feel free to raise any issues you may have. There are 5 of us on the team and we share all decisions.
If ever anyone wishes to discuss anything or ask a question, a Personal Message to " moderators " will reach us.

Metta :slight_smile:


About the Discussion category:

“General chat, opinions, or ideas about the sutta.”

I think cultivator not in wrong category .

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that is because the thread was moved here from Q&A :slight_smile:

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??? From which to which

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Is this a teaching of the Buddha? I wonder… if you’re living in a village somewhere, and an invading army comes and burns, rapes, pillages, and murders your family, do you not then have an enemy? The reason some people see enemies is because they’re burning, raping, pillaging, and murdering.

@viveka looks to have intended to move this into Discussion, but I have unilaterally decided to move it to the Watercooler category. :cowboy_hat_face: