At Saturday Sangha, quite some time ago now, the topic came up of dealing with difficult people. Chong Go Sunim related to us what he’d once heard Daehaeng Kun Sunim say in reference to a difficult individual, “If you think they’re difficult now, you should have seen them in their past life!”
Although it sprung from one of the many off topic spirals our talks often have the fortune to end up in, it’s stuck with me ever since. Depending on the relation between the thickness of my own skin, and someone else’s ability to crawl under it, this has helped me step back and see, “Hey, this person is still somewhere along the path, making progress.”
There are times that I’ve lashed out at people whom I seemed to have a particularly strong allergy to, instead of holding out a helping hand. I’m really sorry I didn’t respond with more patience, but keeping this short teaching in mind has helped on many other occasions.
I’ve also turned it towards myself, when I’ve realized I’ve been the difficult one, and accepted I still have a way to go!