Distinguishing Between Good and Evil

memoir, buddhism, happiness, self publishing

Founding Soka Gakkai president Tsunesaburo Makiguchi left the following important words of guidance:

“Unless you have the courage to be an enemy of those who are evil, you cannot be a friend to the good.”  – Living Buddhism, April 2014 p. 46

Current SGI president Daisaku Ikeda goes on to state: “It is very important to perceive and understand negative influences for what they are and stand firm against them. Good cannot prevail unless we combat evil. Defeating negative forces is also a form of compassion.”

Compassion does not always necessarily mean to pity a person or to commiserate with them regarding all of their troubles. In certain instances, a person might need to be corrected and taught the proper way to resolve their problems. In other cases, the negative or evil behavior needs to be immediately curtailed. Compassion does not mean allowing other people to deceive us or to take advantage of our good nature.

An extreme case in point would be Hitler. Obviously, he was the epitome of evil and he had to be defeated. There was no question about it. In other cases and with different people, the distinction is not always so crystal clear. Yet we still need the ability to distinguish right from wrong, truth from lies, and good from evil. As Edmund Burke’s saying goes: “All that is needed for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.”

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