Ending Conflict talk by Ajahn Brahm

Another excellent talk of his posted on youtube. He is not talking about bullying or worse, he is talking about general disagreements where people need to find a way to work together and get past things. I don’t want anyone to think its about staying in abusive situations, get out of those. I embedded it below my notes, quotes:

You have to know where someone is coming from to really empathize with them to respect your enemy. We have to meet with people we disagree with. And allow that disagreement to occur. And to realize the only way we can have peace and harmony, is to say yes disagreements are there but that is perfect to have disagreements. Because if you think they shouldn’t be there then conflict will always be there.

Unfortunately in the western world we have this terrible concept of justice which is revenge; an eye for an eye; seeking revenge and to punish. In Buddhism the focus is acknowledge you made a mistake, give forgivenss and strategies to work with to keep it from happening again. Punishment creates more conflict. If you’re a Buddhist karma will resolve it. No one gets away with anything there is always a sort of natural justice. That gives of the freedom to forgive and not to need to punish. Otherwise conflicts will never end if we think that the opponent has not been punished enough yet.

Instead Buddhism focuses on what strategies will work so that it will never happen again. Reordering priorities. Standing back and thinking what is really important. Being right is not that important, justice is not that important. Then conflict can be ended. Mostly they are based on ego: I am right. Ajahn encourages people to disagree with him so it can be worked through. “That would be terrible if people always agreed with me, that would be like a cult…if you don’t disagree with me I will get very upset, but not too much please.” LOL

Its not about you, its not about someone else, its about us. Change your priorities and you end conflict. Whose right whose wrong matters is the focus. We’re all always halfway in between somewhere of right and wrong. When we change the priorities where peace and harmony matter more than who is right in that moment, we end conflict.

Don’t keep bringing it up, let grass grow over it. Forgive. Let the us be bigger than the: I am right. The best result is that the “us” is healthy and strong. Let all that pain of the past go. Sometimes people send Ajahn complaints; he deletes those; he keeps the kind ones. Why not? It encourages him to do more.

He tells the story about a broken motor on a boat that is way out to sea. In the stress two people repairing the engine get in such a terrible fight one of them says I am leaving, literally packs their bag and shows up on deck. Realizing the idiocy of it through his rage. He goes back to work on the engine. There is no escape for us right away sometimes.

We realize that blame doesn’t really help at all. Its all about us, the big us that is important. Get those priorities right and we can have a very peaceful world. Don’t give up hope there is a path there is a way. Focus on the beautiful stuff, that is actually much bigger. Someone gets angry with you that is a short time, compared to the many times that it worked out. Two bad bricks is not reason enough to destroy a wall. We let that go.

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