Forgiving Patience

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Key to the development of patience is recognizing that when we are harmed by someone, the person harming us is creating the cause of their own suffering. Pema Chodron remarks:

What I find helpful in this teaching is that what's true for them is also true for me. The way I regard those who hurt me today will affect how I experience the world in the future. In any encounter, we have a choice: we can strengthen our resentment or our understanding and empathy. We can widen the gap between ourselves and others or lessen it.

When people cause us trouble – and spark our anger – we focus on our own pain. Thus we harm ourselves. But another’s negative actions can be a reminder to us that we are still easily provoked, and each such moment is an opportunity to be patient rather than angry. quote

The logic can be difficult for us to embrace:

Our enemies provide us with irritation, injury, and harm, which are the occasions for us to practice endurance, forbearance, and forgiveness. The worse they treat us the more we benefit. quote

Shantideva offers us concrete situations in which we can practice patience.