The Argument of Who is Good and Who is Evil

Published June 8, 2014 by jptan2012

Good_Evil_Wallpaper_by_VermishisThe past few weeks, I was lucky enough to have several healthy discussions with a reader who has become a good friend. DU and I would always try to meet up to simply talk about Feng Shui and charms and amulets, however, lately our discussions has become so much deeper, to some extent it has become philosophical.

I believe we were discussing about karma when we got to talk about good and evil. She was asking me whether a person is innately good or bad. I told her that I believe that all people although they may be doing things that we perceive as bad, to the extent that we label them as bad are all capable of doing being good or they have the inner desire of wanting to be good rather than bad.

But the questions is although for most of us there is a clear cut definition of whether a person is good or bad, I really believe that in the end, while there are good or bad things and that there are people who do good or bad things there can’t be a person who is absolutely bad. As mentioned, I believe that most if not all people generally want to be good even though they may be doing bad things.

But what is really good or bad. I can go on and on and on making arguments of what is good or bad. I can say that if it hurts somebody then it may be considered as bad, but I would like to share here that in the Buddhist’s perspective, there are no clear cut answer of what is good or bad. What is good or bad boils down to the intent of the person committing the act. For example, and I’m sharing here what I told Denise, if I slap her people will generally think the act as bad, but the truth is it boils down to my intent. Using this as en example to drive my point but even if I cannot give a reason as to why I would slap DU, in Buddhist perspective the act itself should not be categorized as good or bad, it’s the intent that one must look at.

We got to talk about Hitler, and I know I must thread carefully here in talking about him. History has already presented Adolf Hitler as one of the most evil people the world has witnessed and the world has ever had. Maybe he is, I certainly don’t agree with the things he has done. But if I were to be a good Buddhist, the truth I should not readily judge him, what I should be doing is to look at Hitler’s intent. I should be asking questions like what were his intentions? Is it possible that he truly believe that the Aryan race is the superior race and that he is doing the world a favor by eradicating all the Jews in the world? Again, I’m not saying he is right, in fact even if I live in a different generation, I cant help it but be appalled at the thought of what he did to the Jews. I’m appalled that be orchestrated the holocaust! The act of killing human, much less all those innocent, helpless kids makes me angry, but if I were to be a good Buddhist I should not be judging Adolf Hitler as evil, instead in the end one should look at his intent, and again at the end only he can truly say what were his intentions.

Of course, we cannot deny all the evil that he has done and as a Buddhist it is my belief that one has to fight all the “bad” things that are happening in this world, keeping quiet is almost tantamount to doing the act itself. But we should fight this with love and compassion and kindness. However, the “perpetrator” should not be judged and one should deal with the “perpetrator” with love, compassion, kindness, and we must seek to understand his or her motivation and intent. In truly trying to understand the motivation and intent it is only then when we can truly help stop his acts that may be causing harm. However, we can never judge the “perpetrator” because in the Buddhist perspective he is the only one who can judge his or her intent and whatever his intentions are it will be dealt with by his karma.

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