Norman Fischer

‘There is a big difference between regret for having done a harmful action and jumping to the conclusion that we are inherently bad people doomed to do bad things. It is a deeply held Buddhist perspective that there is no such thing as a fixed person, let alone an inherently bad or inadequate person. There is only what happens, arising and passing moment by moment according to conditions. There are tendencies, habits; there is responsibility for action. But none of that is a basis for feeling guilty about who we are, as if there was some substantial seed of evil of inadequacy were lodged inside us.’ (The World Could Be Otherwise)

I think it is important to hear this spelled out at a time when there seem to be many evil and cruel things happening in the world. Condemning a person as evil is a way not to have to reckon with the causes and conditions that brought them to the place from which they felt able to do something evil and cruel.

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