Q. What is ‘good’? What is ‘evil’? Can there be ‘good’ without ‘evil’?
A. There can’t be ‘good’ without ‘evil’ just as there can’t be ‘right’ without ‘left’. They are relative concepts to each other.
For example, is a soldier who killed a lot of enemies good or evil? He may be admired as a great hero by his comrades and his people since he is regarded as a very unselfish and brave man who carried out his duty risking his life for his fellows and nation. However, he must be evil to the opposing side, their fellow soldiers and especially to the families of the victims whom he took lives from. Is he good or evil?
Therefore, it is not because human nature is good but because we think of it as good that human nature is good and vice versa. So, it can be said that whether human beings are good, or evil depends not on human nature but on our perspective. This is Buddha’s teaching that the essence of everything is empty and neutral unless we make discriminations.
All writing ©Boo Ahm. All images ©Simon Hathaway
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