Th selfless virtues of tolerance, forgiveness and sympathetic understanding

“Insofar as true love and compassion is the result of self-transcendence, it inevitably includes the selfless virtues of tolerance, forgiveness and sympathetic understanding (empathy). These virtues, more than anything else, are the acid test for the power of love as they are present in situations in which the ego is being offended or threatened. And what else can be more invaluable for a world fraught with conflicts and differences? Tolerance keeps our minds open to respect different opinions, ideas and religious faiths. Forgiveness involves surrendering feelings of animosity and hatred when others step on our toes. Sympathetic understanding means putting ourselves in others’ shoes and considering matters from their positions in addition to our own when a conflict arises. These virtues help close the gap between ourselves and others, making peace possible in the face of conflicts and differences. As far as spiritual practice is concerned, these virtues keep out mental negativities such as hatred, hostility and the more general feeling of aversion, so that they pose no hindrances to the mental well-being and spiritual progress of the practitioners. It is for this reason that the Buddhist metta practice – the practice of loving kindness – is directed not only towards charity, good deeds and kind words, but perhaps more importantly, towards the cultivation of forgiveness, tolerance and acceptance. (…)”
~ Chen Yu-Hsi, Ph.D, Religious Studies Fo Guang University, Taiwan

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