Sentient beings would attack others out of the excessive love they have for themselves. Such a toxic mentality needs to be eliminated."
Most people love themselves excessively. This inevitably causes one to develop a self-protective nature, which makes one fearful of being harmed by others.
A person may get into attack mode when he is overly protective of himself. As the saying goes, "The one who strikes first gains the advantage; the one who strikes later suffers." This saying reflects the ill mentality of ordinary people.
For example, most people would kill a snake at the sight of it, fearing that they might be bitten by the creature. However, snakes live in harmony with their own species. But why do they behave fiercely when they encounter humans? The reason is: they are afraid of being killed by people, too.
(Therefore, all sentient beings share such a mentality.) It is their excessive self-love that leads them to making the first move to attack others. This is a toxic mentality.
Such a toxic mentality is very common in interpersonal relationships. For example, among colleagues, most tend to get jealous when someone else appears better than them. When they see a colleague who is capable and is more valued and appreciated by the company, they may find that unbearable and may become slanderous and fussy about the person. They may even sow discord between that person and others, which brings about interpersonal conflicts. This is a concrete example of a toxic mentality.
A healthy society is one where people support and take care of each other. When we intentionally or unintentionally gossip about others and destroy their image and reputation, it is tantamount to throwing dust against the wind, and it will only be blown back to our face. Defaming others does not benefit anyone or anything; it will only destroy our own image.
An old saying goes, "Gossip dies when it hits a wise person's ears." Rumours and defamations will only affect ignorant people with the same toxic mentality. A wise person will only dismiss them with a laugh or respond with some sympathy. Therefore, those who spread rumours and create troubles are only making themselves appear ignorant and foolish.
Although unintentional spreading of gossip may not cause any bodily harm to a person, it may damage his reputation and image. Such a sin is even more severe than harming the person physically. This is because bodily pain is only temporary, while the damage caused to the person’s reputation and image may distort others’ perception of that person’s character for a lifetime. Such harm can never be compensated with anything tangible, such as money. Therefore, such invisible toxins are like pollutants in the air.
If we have such a toxic mentality, we must quickly eliminate it, so as to avoid harming ourselves and others and bringing disaster to society.
Extracted from “Huan Xi Zi Zai”《欢喜自在》
Translated by the Tzu Chi Singapore translation team