There are unfortunately many movements around the world that discriminate against people because of their race, gender, abilities, or because they are different from others, and promote slander and violence against them. When considering this issue, it is important for us to think about why we should not harm others in the first place.
Buddhism actually gives us a clear answer to this question.
According to a Buddhist scripture called Saṃyutta Nikāya, Sakyamuni Buddha states “ Though in thought we range throughout the world, We’ll nowhere find a thing more dear than self. So, since others hold the self so dear, One who loves oneself should injure none.”
There are many things in this world that are important to us, such as family, friends, and pets. Ultimately, however, there might be no being more beloved or more important to us than ourselves. This is true for everyone, that is, it is the same for someone else, and everyone loves and is important to oneself. Sakyamuni Buddha shows us in very simple words through this sutra; if you think you are important, you must also respect the thoughts of others who feel the same way. So you must not harm others.”
What these words teach us is that it doesn’t matter whether you are rich or not, whether you work hard or not, whether you have superior abilities or not, what color your skin is, your birth, your gender, your occupation, or the situation you are currently in, or any of those things. He is simply saying that if you are the most important (and to achieve this), you should also respect the thoughts and lives of others.
The society we live in is very complex, with many different values, and each person values different things. Therefore, it is natural that there will be times when people will “fit in” or “not fit in” with each other’s values, and there may be times when people will have to decide what is “necessary” or “unnecessary” for them. It would be nice if we could get along with all people, but that is not easy. Even if a person does not agree with you, even if you feel that he/she is not necessary or irrelevant to you, it is still a dangerous way of thinking to selfishly assign a superiority or inferiority to a person’s life or existence, and to think that you can eliminate those you judge to be of no value to you.
This is what I need to do, to question myself, because I always live my life making selfish value judgments.
We live in a complex society with various values. That is why we should return once again to the simple and universal point that Buddhism shows us, to understand why we should not harm others, and to live in a world where we can make the most of each other’s lives.