In this relative world, we will all encounter situations or people that will illicit from us emotions such as angry, hate and fear; all emotions that have the potential for a physical outburst or violent reaction. Fortunately, most of us are capable of preventing those emotions from extending that far, but sometimes, the people we face will push us to our limits of compassion and understanding. Growing up in an abusive household, I know the pain and scars left behind by violence, but after many years, through mindfulness of my thoughts and emotions I have been able to let go of a lot of the hate and anger and even find some compassion. Many of you too have also conquered hate towards another person and been able to forgive and show compassion. I think this gift of compassion is a gift we give ourselves, not the ones who hurt us.
"Forgiveness is primarily for our own sake, so that we no longer carry the burden of resentment. But to forgive does not mean we will allow injustice again."
However, does the understanding or expression of compassion always mean non-violence? Can a violent act be an expression of compassion? I think in some rare cases, based on the circumstances of the act, yes, violence can be an act of compassion. In this world, there will always be a few people incapable of compassion, empathy or understanding, whose only motivations are the obtainment of the objects of their desire. I believe in psychology they are commonly referred to as sociopaths. Just as we would help a person out of a burning house, so we should help a person being the victim of violence from another person, even if it takes violence itself to end it. When I talk about being the victim and helping by using violence, I am talking about seeing the actual act of aggression being perpetrated right then and right there, and not as in some form of reprisal. In my opinion, turning a blind eye and not helping, as so many people do these days, is sometimes the uncompassionate thing to do. I know I would not hesitate for one instant if I saw a woman being raped or a child being abused, that I wouldn't place myself in between the attacker and the victim, even if that meant using force. Sometimes the only words a man with a knife will listen to are the words from a man with a gun.
That said, I don't think violence should ever be taken lightly or used in a vigilantly sense. The Buddha said "In this world hate never yet dispelled hate, only love dispels hate. This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible." And I couldn't agree more with that statement. I detest violence, but in rare cases violence can sometimes be the only means to end a particular violent event. But in no way will the use of violence add to the understanding and compassion between humans, and this, I think should be our first priority. What do you think?
(ps These scientology ads here are a great example of a cult.)