Will you please tell us about the consequences of prejudice and show us how to get rid of it?

There are a lot of problems stemming from prejudice in Thai society today. Will you please tell us about the consequences of prejudice and show us how to get rid of it? https://dmc.tv/a3530

Dhamma Articles > Question and Answer for Life
[ Mar 26th, 2005 ] - [ read : 14058 ]
Question:
Venerable Luang Phaw, there are a lot of problems stemming from prejudice in Thai society today.  Will you please tell us about the consequences of prejudice and show us how to get rid of it? 
  

Answer
by Venerable Dhattajeevo Bhikku 
 

The word prejudice in Pali language is ‘agati.’  ‘A’ means no, and ‘gati’ means path.  Thus ‘agati’ means the wrong path.  Since it was rather difficult for Thai people to understand this archaic term, our ancestors created a new word, ‘lam-aieng’ that compared one’s mind to a boat.  Lam means boat.  When a boat tilts, or “aieng,” to the left, right, forward or backward, the boat will take on water.  Whoever is on the boat will drown.
 
This is the same for the mind.  Normally, a person who values morality and truth, or is developed in goodness, will possess a mind that will not deviate to the left, right, forward, or backward.  His mind is centered.

There are different types of people who have prejudice.

Those who are prejudiced because the love for their families and friends is too much.  They become biased and will give favor to those in their inner circle.  This person is prejudiced due to love.

Those who hate and despise others.  These people cannot learn from or even be friends with others.  This is bias based on hatred.
 
Those who are prejudiced because of their ignorance.  Their knowledge is insufficient and they tend to use shallow reasoning. This is prejudice based on ignorance.

There are also people who are not prejudiced because of love, hate, or ignorance, but due to cowardice.  Biased toward the wrong group of people because of fear, they are bound to the wrong group of people who influence them negatively.

If the political leaders are biased because of greed, hate, ignorance or fear, that country and its people will be in jeopardy.  The world has been at risk because of prejudiced people.  History has shown that in every century of every country there has been accounts of prejudice at one point or the other.

You are mistaken if you believe that Thailand is the only country that is biased.    It just appeared more obvious since you live here.

Let’s take a look at the cause and effect and see how we can rectify the situation.  In the case of a child, he can easily be corrected because he is still young.  A prejudiced young child can be corrected, but prejudiced parents are more difficult to correct.  Who is going to change them?  If a child sees that his parents are prejudiced, where is he going to acquire the wisdom to change them?  If he were to approach and critique their prejudiced way, he will be chastised or ignored.  It is difficult to rectify, and this is only on the family level. 

When it comes to the work place, whether it is in a private company or the government sector, the prejudice that arises is much more severe than the one at home.  Who then will be the one to address it?  It is the responsibility of the head of the office to intervene.  What if the head of the office is also prejudiced, then it is nearly impossible to solve this problem.  But nearly means that there is still a slim possibility.

No matter how high his status, he must have someone in his life that he reveres.  If we want to change that person, we need to seek the help of someone he or she respects.  But if we can’t find anyone like that, it may be challenging to change that person’s attitude.  There are still revered and respected Venerable senior monks that everyone respects and honors.  If we asked for their help, there is a slim chance that they may help us.  It doesn’t mean that we’ve run out of options.

If the venerable senior monks or bosses cannot help us, and the people they respect cannot be found, have we run out of options?  There is still a possibility.  If that person has any merit from his past, it may allow him to better himself and recognize the error of his way.  There may come a time where he finds himself at the end of another person’s prejudice.  This can happen.  He may run into a situation that may cause him to reconsider his views.  His parents or relatives may run into a situation where he begins to fear for the worst, which would allow him to see things more clearly.  This possibility may allow him to change his ways, but this scenario is not common.

Our ancestors, who were smart and insightful, left us with a method.  They encouraged everyone in their household and country to regularly practice giving, to observe the precepts, and to chant and meditate.

Over time, the accumulation of these good deeds can help reduce the greed, hate, ignorance and cowardice in oneself to a certain level.  This is considered the arrival of the fruits of merit.  The fruits of merit can help that person realize what he is doing wrong, or it would open the doors for a kalayanamitra (good friend) to come and help.

Therefore, before you proceed to correct others, you should examine yourself first for the prejudice which lies in your heart.  If there are none then I rejoice in you.  But if there is prejudice, make the necessary modification within yourself today.  How do you determine whether you are prejudiced?  A simple way is to ask: How many kids do you have and do you love each one of them equally?  If the answer is no, then you have some prejudice.  Therefore you need to hurry and make the change.  This will be a blessing for you, your family and country.  

 


http://goo.gl/8UyBG


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