Abusive Relationship and Buddhism

Sumitta,

What is the Buddhist view on staying/leaving emotionally abusive relationships? If we are supposed to have loving kindness and compassion and realize that everyone just wants happiness and to avoid suffering just like ourselves, is it ever proper to endure such a relationship or would that be a hindrance to having compassion for ourselves?

—-

Dear Dhamma Follower,

When asked how many times to forgive, you should always answer “one more time.” HOWEVER, that does not mean you need to forgive from the same zip code.
Bhante Mahinda, at our temple, told a great story last night of a cobra in a deep state of loving kindness meditation. A woman, mistaking the cobra for rope, picked up the cobra and tied her bundle of cloth with him. She swung the cloth by the snake tail mindlessly as she went home and threw the package on the table. The cobra, bruised and sore, slithered back to his master and proudly relayed what had happened.

“You would be proud,” said the cobra. “I was so kind that no matter what she did, I did not bite and kill her.”

The monk reprimanded the cobra. “If you were truly kind, you would have hissed at her to show her that she had erred and teach her to be more mindful.”

(The first step in metta (unconditional friendliness) meditation is to remember to offer this unbound compassion to yourself first. What kindness is there to offer to others if you cannot offer it to yourself?)

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Categories: Buddha, Dharma, Divorce, Ethics, Four Noble Truths, Kharma, Lifestyle, Mahayana, Marriage, Meditation, New Age, Noble Eightfold Path, Relationships, Theravada, Tibet, Uncategorized, Virajana

Author:Sumitta

Joshua Hudson is a license clinical social worker with post graduate certificates in mental health. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, he has worked as an healthcare advocate for the Department of Veteran Affairs, Director of Psychological Health for the Air Force, in-patient counselor for inpatient adolescents, child and family therapist; and currently is a Prevention Interventionist for the Air Force creating programs to reduce interpersonal and self-directed violence (e.g. Sexual assault, suicide, alcohol abuse, domestic violence, etc.) in the military Joshua spent twenty years in the Navy as a combat photojournalist and public affairs officers. He was a senior account executive for a marketing company and managing editor for various national publications. He continues to write on myriad issues from engaged living and resiliency to spirituality and meaning making. He is also an organized minister by the Pittsburgh Buddhist Center and International Order of Buddhist Ministers. Currently, he lives in Bury St. Edmunds in the United Kingdom with his daughter; but still keeps residence in Pittsburgh.

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One Comment on “Abusive Relationship and Buddhism”

  1. June 18, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    “If you were truly kind, you would have hissed at her to show her that she had erred and teach her to be more mindful.” That’s a great little story. Agreed.

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