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The Section on Evil from the Dhammapada

by Vairocana (2009)

Vairocana starts by questioning whether there is evil in the world, and if so, is it rooted in greed, hatred and delusion as stated in the Buddhist tradition? He ponders on Siddhartha's experience of dissatisfaction which led him to give up his life of privilege and luxury.

He then goes on to explore how the ego-identity is reinforced by fear. He looks at how the Buddha overcame fear and gained Enlightenment and particularly how he conquered fear in the stories of the attack of Mara, the entreaty of Brahma Sahampati and the encounter with Mucalinda the Serpent King. He also brings in Chapter 4 of the Majjhima Nikaya, Fear and Dread or the Bhayabherava Sutta.

He then goes into craving, aversion and delusion and reads from Sangharakshita's Human Enlightenment, giving definitions of these three terms. To compliment his reflections on fear he enumerates some positive motivations for practice, namely devotion to the Three Jewels, appreciation of artistic culture and fear of evil as a positive force, sometimes experienced as vigilance or apramada. He also mentions tranquillity, metta and creativity or openmindedness as the opposites of craving, aversion and delusion.

In the section on Patience in the Bodhicaryavatara, verse 21, Shantidevi reflects that compassion arises upon seeing the suffering of the world and that this manifests in one loosening ones pride. This leads to a fear of the consequences of evil and a delight in Enlightenment itself, or as Shantideva puts it, delight in the Conquerors.