Does Evil Really Exist?

What is good or bad?

'Hell is other people'

Other People can either drive us to Heaven or Hell!

We often hear - can't live with them, can't live without them!


Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right.
-- Isaac Asimov

"We are healed of suffering only by experiencing it to the full" Marcel Proust

It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
-- Chinese proverb

"We understand why children are afraid of darkness,
but why are men afraid of light?" -- Plato
(light of self- awareness?)

"Be urgent in good; hold your thoughts off evil. When one is slack in doing good
the mind delights in evil. - Gautama Buddha"

"Do not think lightly of evil that not the least consequence will come of it. A
whole waterpot will fill up from dripping drops of water. A fool fills himself
with evil, just a little at a time. - Gautama Buddha"

"One should avoid evil like a merchant with much goods and only a small escort
avoids a dangerous road, and like a man who loves life avoids poison. - Gautama

Adapted from 'The Road Less Travelled, by Scott Peck'

1. Evil is real. It is not the figment of the imagination of a primitive religious mind feebly attempting to explain the unknown. There really are people, and institutions made up of people, who respond with hatred in the presence of goodness and would destroy the good insofar as it is in their power to do so. They do this not with conscious malice but blindly, lacking awareness of their own evil - indeed, seeking to avoid any such awareness. As has been described of the devil in religious nature, they hate the light and instinctively will do anything to avoid it including attempting to extinguish it. They will destroy the light in their own children and in all other beings subject to their power.

I define Evil , then as the exercise of political power - that is, the imposition of one's will upon others by overt or covert coercion - in order to avoid extending one's self for the purpose of nurturing spiritual growth.

2. Ordinary laziness is non-love; evil is anti-love

3. Existence of evil is inevitable, at least at the stage of human evolution.

4. In it's most extreme form, human evil, is strangely ineffective as a social force. Evil backfires in the big picture of human evolution. For every soul it destroys - and there are many - it is instrumental in the salvation of others. Unwittingly, evil serves as a beacon to warn others away from it's own shoals. Our consciousness of it is a signal to purify ourselves.

It was evil, for instance that brought Christ to the cross, thereby enabling us to see him from afar.

Our personal involvement in the fight against evil in the world is one of the ways we grow.

Above adapted from 'The Road Less Travelled, Scott Peck'

"There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so"

Shakespeare (Hamlet, Act II, scene2 )


Dharma talk on 20/3/92

(page 31-32 Achievement of Rainbow Light Body volume five) Translated by Yuan Zheng Tang

I talked about what is good, and the eight fields for cultivating blessedness a few weeks ago. I like the analogy used by Patriarch Je Tsongkapa on what is good and what is evil in his book "a treatise on the stages of walking the Bodhi path."

To him, whatever you do for the benefit of others is considered good. By so doing, the fruits that you reap will be sweet. For such acts will lead you to selflessness. Therefore altruism is selflessness!

To him, transgression of the five precepts of killing, telling lies , stealing , sexual misbehavior and taking intoxicants is itself not an evil act. It is whatever you do for your own good that is evil. By so doing, the fruits that you reap will be bitter.

For such acts will encourage your attachment to material wealth and enhance your quest for egoness.

Therefore our understanding on the issue of good and evil should be :

Good -- altruistic -- sweet fruit -- selflessness.
Evil -- self-beneficial -- bitter fruit -- egoness.

Just take a few minutes to brood over these questions :
Why do we kill ?
Why do we steal ?
Why do we lie ?
Why do we drink intoxicants ?
Why do we have sexual misbehavior ?
Are they not done for self-benefit and personal desire ?

Therefore he concluded that whatever we do, if they are done for our own benefit, there are always evil. If we always do things to the benefit of others , eventually a kind of selflessness will develop -- therefore such acts are good deeds.
Bitterness is self-beneficial, while sweetness is "egoless." This was what Patriarch Je Tsongkapa explained in his book on what is the difference between good and evil and its relation to self-benefit and benefit for others.

Sometimes the line between good and evil can be very thin. To distinguish them more easily, maybe we can use the concept as expounded by Je Tsongkapa.

Om Mani Padme Hum

Be as You Are - The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi

Q: Sankara says that we are all free, not bound, and that we shall all go back to God from whom we have come as sparks from a fire. Then why should we not commit all sorts of sins?

A: It is true we are not bound and that the real Self has no bondage. It is true that you will eventually go back to your source. But meanwhile, if you commit sins, as you call them, you will have to face the consequences of such sins. You cannot escape them. If a man beats you, then, can you say, 'I am free, I am not bound by these beatings and I don't feel any pain. Let him beat on'? If you can feel like that, you can go on doing what you like. What is the use merely of saying 'I am free?'

Q:What is right and wrong?

A: There is no standard by which to judge something to be right and another to be wrong. Opinions differ according to the nature of the individual and according to the surroundings. They are again ideas and nothing more. Do not worry about them but get rid of thoughts instead. If you always remain in the right, then right will prevail in the world.

Intention - Motives

...whatever is done lovingly, with righteous purity and with peace of mind, is good action. Everything that is done with a stain of desire and with agitation filling the mind, is classified as bad action.

Means to an End?

Do not perform any good action [karma] through a bad means, thinking 'It is sufficient if it bears good fruit.' Because if the means is bad, even a good action will turn out to be bad one. Therefore, even the means of doing actions should be pure.

from: 'Be as You Are' - The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, David Goodman

Bad and Good Depend on the Individual Person's Interpretation
by Lama Zopa Rinpoche

Bad and good depend on the individual person's interpretation. In general, if you are able to spend your life collecting more virtue and less negative karma, that's a good life. Even spending half the life this way is quite good. Spending even one quarter of the day creating good karma is better than spending the whole 24 hours creating only negative karma. So today, if you are able to create more virtue than negative karma, that's a good life. Even though you might be exhausted, even though you might have almost died from practicing Dharma, you had a good life today.

Naropa, for example, had to experience the 12 great hardships and the 12 small hardships under the advice of Tilopa. And Marpa would not allow Milarepa to come to teachings and initiations; he received scoldings and beatings only, no sweet words like "you are such a good disciple" or "you have done excellent practice"; he only received Marpa's wrathful aspect. Then Milarepa had to build a nine-story tower by himself, alone, and not just once; he had to tear it down and build it three times. Because of doing these intensive preliminary practices and following exactly his guru Marpa's advice without having any negative thoughts towards him, Milarepa became enlightened in that life.

That's the best life, you see, the best life. The definition of a bad life and a good life is very important, because if you don't know you will be very confused; if your connotation is wrong you will go in the wrong direction. The result of this will be no attainment, no realization. The result will be that the mind is empty.

There is an interpretation of bad and good life according to attachment, according to ego. Then there is an interpretation of bad and good life according to the point of view of Dharma wisdom, the wisdom understanding karma, understanding lam-rim. Of course, they are totally opposite.

The common thing in the world is to follow the interpretation according to attachment. So if one has more success, more wealth, more external development, then that's regarded as a good life: more and more things, more friends, more children, then grandchildren, then their children—the more there is happening, the more successful the life. So that's one view.

Of course, everyone is looking for peace of mind and satisfaction in the heart, but they have no idea how to get it. Their methods are through external development only. Even though they really want peace and satisfaction, because of lack of spiritual education, Dharma education, they don't have methods, they don't have knowledge of practice. So they end up just as the Rolling Stones sang: "I can't get no satisfaction."

So from my point of view, unless you have renounced attachment you will not find satisfaction. You could be living in life-time retreat, or in the monastery or nunnery following the moral disciplines, having sacrificed a lot of the pleasures of this life, a lot of comfort, in order to live in pure morality, but if the mind is still suffering, it's because it didn't renounce attachment, it is not separated from attachment clinging to this life. You didn't make the mind free, so the mind becomes friends with attachment clinging to this life, the mind associates with the thought of the eight worldly dharmas.

Therefore, even if the body is in retreat or in the monastery, the mind cannot enjoy following the moral discipline or the meditation practices. There's no peace, no happiness in the heart. As the mind has become friends with attachment, you cannot give up this life's comfort to practice Dharma. Then it gets difficult to follow the advice of the virtuous friend, it gets difficult to do service for the monastery, for the monks and nuns, and it's difficult to serve other sentient beings.

Even though there is not yet any happiness in the mind because you have the attitude of attachment clinging to this life—you're stuck with that, not with Dharma—nevertheless, your mind is protected from obstacles because you are trying, you are practicing morality. Then you can have great peace and can practice Dharma without obstacles. It's the same with somebody doing long retreat, or someone who's serving the virtuous friend or other sentient beings. What I am saying is that even though your motivation is more stuck with attachment and even though you mightn't experience any happiness in your heart yet, it is still a good life because your practice of morality brings good results, a good rebirth in the next life. Even though your mind is not completely pure, even though the mind is not completely renounced, it is still a good life.

Of course, it takes time for this to happen. You need very intense and continuous meditation, especially on impermanence and death related to karma and the lower realms, and the general suffering of samsara, particularly the lower realms, and the preliminary meditation, the perfect human body, how it is highly useful and difficult to achieve again.

Or you could do the opposite: give up this life and think, "Oh, it didn't make me happy." After many years of practicing and studying Dharma—philosophy, highest tantra, anything that can be explained by qualified teachers—after all that I didn't find happiness, so I'd better try something else." You give up everything, and what you tried to abandon before, for all those years, now you have all of them. You are without rule, without discipline—you become a free guy.

So now you have a lot of physical comfort, wealth, friends and so on and you believe you have enjoyment; in fact it is a hallucination because the uncontrolled mind is the motivation. When you don't think of the motivation and the future karmic result, this new life appears as pleasure. But if you think of the motivation and karmic result, then you realize it is not really a happy life.

What I am saying is that, according to my interpretation, a happy life is when you have a good motivation and your actions bring good results. As I mentioned before, Naropa and Milarepa had so much hardship but it brought a fantastic future, the best future. So that is the best life.

But in the West the interpretation of a good life is whether or not it makes me happy now. Now! This moment. Today. One is involved in the psychology of cherishing oneself, which gives you so much inspiration that you are important. But practicing Dharma is not rejecting yourself, it's actually the best way to take care of yourself.

Practicing renunciation helps you become liberated from samsara, so that's what you need, otherwise you experience suffering again and again, without end. And practicing the right view, emptiness: that's the best way of taking care of yourself because it cuts the root of suffering. And what else do you need? What is better than this? What else is there that is better than this?

Therefore we must rejoice that we have met the precious Buddhadharma, especially lam-rim, the integration of the entire 84,000 teachings of the Buddha, and that without any confusion we can practice and achieve enlightenment.

Besides all this, we are able to do so much service for other sentient beings. Without talking about meditating on the stages of the path, practicing purifying negative karma, collecting merits, without that. Therefore we should rejoice.


Devil, comes from the Greek word 'Diablo' - to divide.

Early Christian crusaders - took the Pagan god, Pan, the horned nature spirit, and made him into the 'devil' in order to undermine pagan's and get converts.

I see evil as anything fear based or arising from the negative ego. The evil are the defilements and delusions that keep one in the state of ignorance and hence in a state of separation.

The negative ego always divides and separates, in order to manipulate & overpower.

Higher wisdom discriminates & integrates, with awareness, for highest good of all.

Even Satan believes in God. Many of us don't even do that! So we are even more ignorant than Satan!

Images of the Devil

None in Greece, Rome, Japan

Only Christians started

Images of the Devil started in between 900ad & 1000ad

Image of devil constructed from bits of history

Idea of Devil

Oldest no moral absolutes

Eaerthquakes, plah=gues

Earliest Gods - Egypt & Sumeria - Good Gods & Bad Gods

Big Distinction of Goog God came with Judeo - early Hebrew religion insight of prophets

Book of Job - Satan servant of God - whose Job is to test people to see if they are good

Satan - means to test

Satan not servant - but fallen angel - who rebeled against god - satan became more of an antogonist

Personal Responsibility

What is evil - saying the Devil is responsible

Evil lies in you

I don't think personal devil, making people do things - putting aside responsibility for own life.

While there are plenty of people who don;t believe in Satan, for others belief that we can challenge him


The devil - pure spirit - rebelled againt - keeps power and intelligence of angel -stronger than men

Indirectly yes - speak with him, ask questions and he answers

First put on stole

Bless with holy water


Then I start to pray - very simple

Then special prayers reserved for exorcists

He seemed

eyes extraordinary - never blinked - does it everyday 5 -12 days per day -

Dr jekyl & Mr Hyde

Separating good from evil - went wrong - pure evil developed because of his wrong intentions - science

hyde does not seduce - but rapes

Evil not out there, inside us - when right circumstances it comes about

Scottish Enlightenment in 18th century -till 1900 - especially in medicine - chloroform - losing connection - between body & mind

Believed by analyzing photos of criminal that could find criminal type - assumption converged with Victorian photography - could superimpose - end up with pure criminal type

Interest in forensic photography & composite photography - developed from phrenology - facial expression

Ascent of Man

Expression of emotions - of man and animals

Charles Darwin theory of evolution - if degenerate classes growing larger than upper classes - then maybe going back in evolution

Most fertile were most fit

Genics 1883 - new science of racial engineering

Convict - criminal through back to past - biologically - criminal not responsibility

Some criminals are incapable of acting otherwise - believes can identify certain facial features to lead

idenify & isolate what makes evil - sub species

For our age

Serial Killer -

Jack the Ripper, Yorkshire Ripper, Ted Bundy

sinister figures who haunt

Ripper myth - serves purpose

1890. 1820 - serial killers - in each age unprecedented - part of rhetoric that need to make - we're going through bad time - threat to women and chikdren

Psychiastrics - freudian approach

Feminists approach -

consumers problem

Error of pop culture -women serial kiler

what know about - 25% -

If image of what most frightened of -just made up

1979 - Peter jay polioceman - went to Scottish Mans house found

15 / 16 bodies - why - he asked police why - desperate to have a relationship - dead people sitting in chair - he was worringly normal - mr average

Face of serial killer - face of bore

Other 20 century images of face of evil

Political Leaders responsible for massacres and genocide

Not Stalin, Hitler who killed - ordinary people - bakeers, shopkeepers

One historian what ordinary men can do -change to do worst

Ordinary Germans - battalion 101 - spring of 1942 - never harmed a soul - not raised in Nazi schools - many unskilled labour

told to round up all jews - 1800 - many had never being in combat - arrived at village - out of trucks at village - short speech by general - terrible task - tears down cheeks - bring jews to town centre - in trucks to woods

any who don't feel up to it - step out - dozen men - out of 500 take up offer not to shoot

How did these ordinaru

didn;t want to appear weak - peer pressure

In spirit of time - dodn't know better - suprised to be on dock -didn;t feel guilty - felt had bad luck -self-pity - what they had to suffer - they had to carry this out

Transformaiton - 1st massacre quite traumatized, over period of time - hard core - enjoyed killing - enjoy over meal - become what do -there is human choice - group

human choice and responsibility remains - given circumstances - govt. will find enough people = - carrying it out make it in a sense evil.

Choosing something which is less compassionate - that is less evil

in position of power that can lead to catastrophic circumastance

Hiostort of finding evio;l - history

Denis Nealson - worryingly normal -face of man next door#your face or mine

'evil thoughts' Ian Rankin C4 30th Nov 2002 ,1900 - 2000

Lucifer in latin means light bearer

Lucifer the fallen angel - can be seen as a metaphor for negative ego - creating fear, greed, hate, temptation etc. - separate from God and thus an illusion

666 is the number for pan, Nature Spirit

999 upside down is 666

"Did you ever ask yourself the suprisingly difficult question: How does one choose evil? How do we commit sin? The will can choose, by its very nature, only that which is somehow good. I am personally convinced that the exercise or use of free will in a given situation of guilt is this: The will, desirous of some evil that has good aspects (if I steal your money, I will be rich), forces the intellect to concentrate on the good to be acquired in the evil act. The will impels the mind to turn away from the recognition of evil. And so the intellect must rationalize that which was originally recognized as evil. While I am doing something wrong (in the act of doing it), I cannot be squarely facing its evil aspect; I must somehow be thinking of it as good and right. Consequently, free will seems to be exercised in the act of coercing the intellect to rationalize rather than in the execution of the act itself." John Powell

for more about this is, read ego page or psychology page


Embracing & Releasing your dark side

Become aware of your dark side. But instead of excluding it & hiding from it - see the core motivations and release it with the eye of insight - burn the dark side with the light of illumination.

It is like switching on a light in a dark room - the dark instantly disappears. (However some shadows remain!)


"one must have chaos in one to give birth to a dancing star" Fredrich Nietzche

Transform the ignorance into awareness. Use the weeds as food for growth (of flowers).

Use manure, as fertilizer to grow good crops.

Learn the lessons and Release the negative ego.

A lotus flower has its roots in the mud but rests peacefully on or above the water!

A peacock eats plants that are regarded as poisonous to others animals.

A Bodhisattva / Saint does not run from evil & ignorance. Rather a Saint acknowledges, forgives & accepts the dark side.

"One of the many paradoxes about soul-making is that its reward is the most valuable and unique a person could have, and yet its raw material is often the most despised and common" Thomas Moore

Without forgiveness life is governed by... an endless cycle of resentment and retaliation. Roberto Assagioli



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