Because of the defilements, greed, anger and delusion, the world is full of suffering. People kill each other, steal from one another, commit adultery, tell lies and abuse drugs and alcohol. They discriminate against each other and blame each other. When someone has done something wrong to us, we are challenged to participate in the suffering by taking revenge. Taking revenge is of course a fools errand because, when we take revenge, we are motivated not but an opportunity for gain but by a desire to harm someone else. Instead of causing happiness in the world, we are adding to the suffering.

By practicing insight meditation, we can reflect on the cause and effect of our past actions and realize that taking revenge only adds to the problems. Our teacher, Ajahn Tong Sirimangalo, has encouraged us to always be a diamond. By this he means that no matter what the world throws at us, we should respond with loving kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy or neutral. When we see an opportunity to help someone in need we should exercise loving kindness. When a person has made mistakes, our compassion for him will encourage us not to give up on him. When a person’s work has made her more successful than us we will participate in her joy instead of being jealous. And, finally, when a person insists on remaining angry despite our attempts to help him, we will put ourselves in neutral position.

When we adopt Ajahn Tong’s advice to always be a diamond we will not be creating anymore negative karma. Instead, we will be building merit to support our meditation practice and eventual release from suffering.

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(1) Always Be a Diamond, C. Peaceful Families and Communities