Posted by: Upāsaka | 05/19/2019

Insult Pacifism

“It is the part of a great mind to despise wrongs done to it; the most contemptuous form of revenge is not to deem one’s adversary worth taking vengeance upon. Many have taken small injuries much more seriously to heart than they need, by revenging them: that man is great and noble who like a large wild animal hears unmoved the tiny curs that bark at him.”

De Ira Seneca

I was referred to a post by William Irvine recently where he discusses how he has learned to practice what he calls insult pacifism as a result of applying Stoic principles and philosophies to his life. Naturally, as someone who has made of their a life a project of purification, the ideas he proposes are very attractive. Unfortunately for me, although I find much inspiration from Stoic philosophers both modern and ancient, there is a dearth of information about which, if any, techniques one should use to put these into practice.

As a result, I’ve simply come to the conclusion that Stoic philosophy is great food for the discursive mind (ad therefore very useful indeed) but that the practice of patient endurance (i.e., insult pacifism) relies on the development of contentment, equanimity and a host of other qualities of the heart best developed through the ariya atthangika magga (Eightfold Noble Path). Still, for those who can’t commit to the Buddhadhamma for any number of reasons, leading one’s life according to the philosophy of the Stoics would certainly not result in an opportunity wasted.


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