HHDL on the antidote to self-hatred (hindrances to cultivation)
- Q: Can you discuss the problem of self-hatred, and the Buddhist means to alleviate it?
A: In fact, when I first heard the word "self-hatred" and was first exposed to the concept of self-hatred, I was quite surprised and taken aback. The reason why I found it quite unbelievable is that, as practicing Buddhists, we are working very hard to overcome our self-centered attitude, and selfish thoughts and motives. So to think of the possibility of someone hating themselves, not cherishing oneself, was quite unbelievable. From the Buddhist point of view, self-hatred is very dangerous because even to be in a discouraged state of mind or depressed is seen as a kind of extreme. Because self-hatred is far more extreme than being in a depressed state, it is very, very dangerous.
So the antidote is seen in our natural Buddha-nature--the acceptance or belief that every sentient being, particularly a human being, has Buddha-nature. There is a potential to become a Buddha. In fact, Shantideva emphasizes this point a great deal in the Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life, where he states that even such weak sentient beings as flies, bees, and insects possess Buddha-nature, and if they take the initiative and engage in the path, they have the capacity to become fully enlightened. If that is the case, then why not I, who am a human being and possess human intelligence and all the faculties, if I make the initiative, why can't I also become fully enlightened? ...no matter how poor or weak or deprived one's present situation may be, a sentient being never loses his or her Buddha-nature. The seed, the potential for perfection and full enlightenment, always remains.
--from Healing Anger: The Power of Patience from a Buddhist Perspective by the Dalai Lama, translated by Geshe Thupten Jinpa, published by Snow Lion Publications
Excerpted from Snow Lion Publications "Dalai Lama Quote of the Week"
May this be of benefit.