Disclaimer: The translations are not official nor endorsed by 2OR, so please just treat it as a ‘fan-based’ translation. The Buddha-Dharma is profound. No matter how you convey it, it won’t be completely perfect. Because the Buddha-Dharma is an experience, it’s an awakening 【佛法深奥无比，怎么写，都不会是究竟圆满。佛法是一种悟】. Please enjoy, and I hope it serves as a good filler until the official English version comes out.
In the 84,000 Dharma Doors, there’s a Dharma Door called ‘Forbearance Dharma Door’. There are five levels to it, starting from beginner to advanced.
The first level is called ‘Initial Forbearance’. It’s when you are being slandered, wronged or humiliated, and you know you have no ways to avoid it. For example, when you’re with a group of friends and one of them suddenly humiliates or slanders you. At that moment, you can’t fight it. So you steel yourself. That’s initial forbearance. It’s when you let them continue with it even though you disagree with what they say. Forbearance is mentally painful, but you must do it. The first step is to put aside the matter temporarily. If you don’t and you immediately get enraged, it might cause the situation to go out of control. That’s why initial forbearance is when you first put aside the matter since you don’t know how the other party would react. So you first forbear with it and bottle up your rage. Take note. At this level of forbearance, there is still rage. So initial forbearance is still a premature level of forbearance.
The second level is called ‘Forbearance with Power’. When you encounter a situation where you are being slandered and humiliated, first, you must use your mental power to have an internal dialogue with yourself. “I’m not like that.” “I didn’t even do it.” Because your mind has power, you don’t make a fuss with the other party. So you take a step back. You would think, “I’m a Buddhist; I shouldn’t be disputing about these petty matters with you.” That way, you would be able to suppress it first. And then have your faith in the Bodhisattvas, “Because I have the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in my heart, they would definitely help me.”
When you believe that everything in this world happens due to karma, you would ease up the mood and use your mental power to ease up your suppressed emotions. At that moment, you must immediately think of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and all the other great Buddhas. All of them have an incredible power of forbearance to cease their hatred. Please take note, people with mental tenacity can reverse their way of thinking when they get into a situation where they are being humiliated. They would see it as an opportunity to train themselves and see whether they still harbour hatred within their mind. If you don’t get angry when you are humiliated, it means that your level of spirituality is high. That is ‘Forbearance with Power’.
The third level is called ‘Forbearance of Affinity’. When others humiliate you, forbearance of affinity is when you use your wisdom to contemplate karmic affinity. In other words, when others scold or humiliate you, you would think, “I shouldn’t get angry. It must be a karmic debt that I owe from the previous life.” If it’s your child who scolds you, would think, “I raised him to an adult; why is he still mistreating me? It must be because I owe him karmically. That’s why he was reincarnated into my family so that I continue repaying my karmic debts.” In this method, you are using your wisdom to contemplate this karmic affinity. Why were you humiliated for no reason? Why were you slandered for no reason? Why were you beaten or scolded for no reason? Trees have roots; water has a source. You must ponder. In this world, nothing is simply as it is. You must realise that people won’t insult you for no reason. It must be related to your previous life karmically. That is ‘Forbearance of Affinity’.
Forbearance requires a deep understanding of karmic affinities. You must understand that your negative karma causes the unwholesome consequences you are experiencing. Otherwise, why would people scold you or hate you for no reason? You should think, “It’s the negative karma that resides within me; I must repay it back.” How do you repay it? When others humiliate you, you must forbear it. When you are forbearing, you’re actually repaying the karmic debts. That way, you could comprehend the truth behind being humiliated. What’s that truth? Why are others scolding you? It’s because you must have scolded them in the past. If you have hurt others in your previous life, you will receive karmic retribution in your current life. You have realised the truth. There’s absolutely no such thing as love or hatred without any reason or cause. When you possess these thoughts, then when you’re humiliated, you won’t develop hatred.
The fourth level is called ‘Forbearance of Contemplation’. When a person suddenly targets you, scolds you and humiliates you, what should you do? Your level of spirituality must be high. It would help if you used the ‘wisdom of empty contemplation’. It’s when others scold you; you develop thoughts like, “I’m already a Buddhist, I have no ego, what is he scolding at?” When you worked in the past, haven’t you encountered the following situation before? A colleague badmouths somebody without naming them. Then suddenly, some people violently react because they assumed that they were being badmouthed while others are indifferent about it. Why is that so? It’s because they didn’t take it personally. Their ego was empty. That’s why when one has let go of their ego, or ‘selfless’, how could they encounter a situation where they feel being humiliated?
Those who have emptied their ‘self’ and those who don’t have an ego are able to forbear. They don’t feel that they’re on a pedestal, so when others scold them, they only feel that this world is filled with desires and defilements. Everything is empty and impermanent, so even if they’re being scolded, they don’t feel humiliated. They’re already cultivators. They’re already empty. To illustrate this with an example, if you direct the searchlight at the sky, would you be able to shine at the bottom of it? You can’t. What you could see are only the clouds. That’s because the sky is empty and limitless. If your mind is empty, how could you be humiliated?
One must learn not to get angry. If you use the method of empty contemplation, that your hatred would disappear. “Who is he scolding at? I don’t know.” Because you are already selfless, you don’t know who he’s scolding. That way, you won’t develop new karma. New karma is created when you fight back. In the company, people scold people namelessly. “So shameless. If you’re a man, then come at me directly. Don’t go badmouthing in front of my superior behind my back.” Some people will definitely come out and say, “When did I ever talk about you?” They took it personally. Those who are selfless would be thinking, “I never said anything, so there’s no need to come out.” If you don’t fight others, then you won’t develop new karma.
The fifth level is ‘Forbearance of Compassion’. Firstly, you already view yourself as a Bodhisattva. So when you encounter hardships or situations where you are being humiliated, not only don’t you develop hatred, you would also develop compassion towards the aggressor and feel that they are pitiful. “Although he’s scolding me, his heart is uncomfortable, and his blood pressure is rising. His health will worsen from his rage. He’s wronging and offending others. Angry people are the most foolish. Foolish people are pitiful.” Not only do you not develop hatred, but instead, you pity them. Master regularly thinks like that. If somebody said that he was bad, Master would pity the person. “How could he be so ignorant? If he continues doing so and commit deeds of verbal misconduct, then his health will get worse. When that happens, he has only himself to blame due to his negative karma.” You must pity and develop compassion for them.
When your husband scolds you at home, you shouldn’t scold back. You have to pity him that he’s lost his reason and acting like an animal, barking madly. Maybe he was oppressed at his workplace, so he vented it out at you when he came back home. When you encounter other’s deliberate provocation, you should react compassionately. It would help if you thought, “I’m a Buddhist, I must forbear it, and requite resentment with kindness. If people casually humiliate or slander others like me, they would definitely encounter karmic retribution. They are sowing the karmic seeds of being humiliated and slandered by others. When their time comes, their health might get worse, or get into a dispute, or get hurt by others.” Because you understand this, you won’t get angry, and you pity their ignorance and their future consequences.
You have to learn how to use the Bodhisattva’s great compassion with no reason, their great level of empathy, and their convenient teachings that enlighten you. So that you become aware of your faults and correct them, cease your unwholesomeness and cultivate all wholesomeness, and begin your life anew. Forbearance of Affinity, Forbearance of Contemplation and Forbearance of Compassion are known as Ideal Forbearances in the Buddha-Dharma. Buddhists must have good manners and be refined. Those who quickly lose their temper are unrefined. They are not Buddhists. If they can’t even forbear, then how could they overcome their deep-rooted bad habits?