Posted by: Upāsaka | 02/17/2020

The Last Word

Probably one of the hardest ad hoc spiritual practices that I have the opportunity to practice on a regular basis is that of allowing any person with whom I’m having a contentious discussion to have the last word. Whether it’s an irate customer, a resentful spouse or a snotty preteen, there are so many opportunities to practice what is often called “taking defeat into oneself” in the lojong tradition.

But, why is it so hard? There is the honeyed allure of anger that’s is the first trap I easily fall into, followed closely by a strong but ever-amorphous feeling of injustice. The third snare is ego; I just don’t want to be told what to do or belittled by anyone. And yet, what is won by claiming the last word? Not admiration. Not vindication. At best, I win the resentment of whomever I was speaking with.

May I always gift the last word to another. May I gladly take defeat upon myself.

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