The Power of Love and the Shadow of Hatred


Founder, Inner Pathway; Professor of Religious Studies, University of Redlands

Author at Gyuto Monastery, India, home of His Holiness the Karmapa

His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, one of the world's most highly regarded lamas, is a Tibetan refugee living in India at Gyuto Monastery.
When I interviewed him for the book, The Power of Love, he spoke on the power of "pure love" in the face of suffering:
[When pure love is in us], we are seeing their suffering, we are seeing the other as a part of ourselves, and we feel ourselves to be a part of the other. For that reason, when we witness their pain or their happiness, we experience it as our own pain and our own happiness. And when this basis is there, the basis that comes from love, then naturally their pain becomes unbearable for us to witness and we must act to do something about it. Interview with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
He said that, recently, a friend of his was murdered. Love means to forgive the one who killed.
It is very possible to see that the person who does the killing is actually an object of greater compassion than the victim of the killing, because it's an action done out of great ignorance. Looking at the action, the action was clearly wrong, it was a mistake, and there's no way around that fact. There is no excusing of the action. But the person himself can be forgiven. Interview with His Holiness the 17th Karmapa
When His Holiness visited the University of Redlands earlier this year, a student asked him how to view terrorists such as those of the Islamic State. "With compassion." We may have an initial reaction of anger and want revenge because the violence is so "horrific." But we can take a breath, step back from the strong emotional reaction, and see things from a "broader perspective" -- made possible by compassion. Compassion is born when we see that the terrorists are essentially "brainwashed from an early age." They are helplessly brought up to believe in a violent ideology and forms of behavior through "no agency of their own."

His Holiness the Karmapa walking into a class building at the University of Redlands
Photo credit: Carlos Puma/University of Redlands

Excerpt from 'San Bernardino Shooting: The Power of Love and the Shadow of Hatred', December 11, 2015, Huffington Post


  1. ..When my daughter was studying at Redlands , she volunteered to collect clothes for poor people in nearby San Bernardino through the local Lyon's Club . ..The first saturday she went there with an other student who's skin happend to be a little dark, the woman in charge took my daughter on the side and asked her the next time to come with a less dark skin friend : she never returned .


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