Actually, if we look around, people whom wedon’t like and people who harm us are in the minority. Let’s say we’re at work, at a social gathering, or at a Dharma center with thirty people. How many of them do we really dislike? We may have problems with a few people here and there, but we manage to stay in a room together, don’t we? It’s not like we despise them and they hate us. The number of people we can’t stand in this world is actually very small. These people are rare. To practice patience we need the people that we don’t like. We can’t practice patience with our friends or with people who are kind to us. Finding people that we don’t like or who threaten us is not so easy. So, when we finally find them, they are a precious treasure! They are rare to find. When we meet them, we can think, “Fantastic, I get to practice patience now.”
They say that high-level bodhisattvas pray to meet disgusting, uncooperative people because they want to practice patience. Of course, when you really want to meet obnoxious people, they don’t show up! Why don’t they turn up for high-level bodhisattvas? Because high-level bodhisattvas don’t have any anger. We could be sitting in a room with many people whom we consider unbearable, but high-level bodhisattvas don’t see them that way at all. To them, these people appear lovable. Bodhisattvas have such a hard time finding detestable people, whereas we come across them so easily! So, when we find people whom we don’t like, feel threatened by, or find despicable, we should recognize that there aren’t so many of them around. Therefore, we should cherish them and take the opportunity to practice patience with them.
Excerpt from “Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig” by Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron