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How to See Others: Difference without Discrimination
t is the time when the term a global citizen prevails more and more. Accordingly, to collaborate and cooperate with other people becomes one of the necessities for a successful life, even up to an international level in the future. However, people are so different in many ways that it is not easy to understand others or work together effectively, not to mention keeping a good relationship.
Most of the problems that students ask me for advice are related to a relationship or conflicts among people. "My friend just doesn't know what I like," "I can't trust anybody." is one of the common one. In order to cope with hardships caused by differences of people, and make a chance to learn from others, you should think about your mind and attitude in some aspects.
What is important in a relationship is to accept others as who they are, and try not to expect that they have a same view or personality as yourself. Everybody has the right to be unique and creative in their own way. So, acknowledge their differences, but do not discriminate them by judging your own criteria. One of the remarkable experts in human relations, Dale Carnegie, suggests that you should avoid the BIG THREE Cs in any relationship. Those are Criticise, Condemn and Complain. The Cs prevent the opportunity to open people's mind and to trust by hurting their mind before any communication begins.
A Buddhist point of view offers a valuable teaching of how we see others. Everything in the world is interconnected, hence you and other people are not completely separate beings; we all share big energy of the one mind, which is the foundation of our life. And throughout the countless previous lives, there are no beings which we have not been, and nothing we have not done no matter how good or bad it is. Understanding that other people are other forms of ourselves, we are able to start to feel compassion toward those who do something wrong or have problems. At the same time, since everything changes, it is obvious that people are changing as well, so there is no fixed 'bad' man forever.
It means not to be deceived by who others temporarily are, but to able to see the true inner mind in them and maintain the belief that all humans are equal and precious beings in their nature. Keeping it in mind, we can bring about a positive attitude and hope even dealing with very difficult people. In my own experience, it has been a great help for years to meet with and understand prisoners under heavy sentences including the capital punishment. Many times I was blessed to find a beautiful truth of light in the minds of those who are abhorred by most people.
Would you like to be a happy, leading global citizen? Then, you should make an effort to broaden and cultivate your mind. You may want to change your habit of thinking, and remember how to see others: Difference, but No Discrimination.
The writer is a professor in the Dept. of Seon Studies

Hwang, Soo-kyoung  sunheeyou@dongguk.edu

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