This is a funny one as it came out if a reaction to me on another blog and I want to act in a certain way and had to stop myself and then that made me question intention and what the Buddhist principle of this is.
Basically, from my understanding, and this might be simplified, if you come at something from a good and selfless intention then if someone does take offence it is not on you and you should see it for what it is, issues that they are carrying with them.
So, where did this come from? Well, I placed a comment on a blog where the writer had asked about experiences with food intolerances and I placed a comment. I honestly meant it to be helpful but looking back it was perhaps a bit naive and made me sound like a bit of a know it all. I can still be comfortable in myself as I know this was not my intention and many people would have taken it as quite sweet, if a bit basic. However I got well and truly put in my place and when someone starts a comment “No offence intended” it usually means they are going to pull apart what you have said.
However then it became about my response, I had several options open to me at this point and the main ones were:
1. Ignore the comment and get on with my day knowing that I had meant no harm and also that the person who wrote the blog probably meant no harm either and was just coming at it from their point of view. After all we can never know someone’s life unless we live it.
2. Get angry and start an online argument and leave us both and anyone else reading the blog with a nasty taste in our mouths
3. Apologise, even though I didn’t think I had anything to apologise for but do it knowing that it might make the other person feel guilty and leave myself stewing for doing something that did not sit right.
Going through the above responses it is clear that the first one is the best way to handle things and should develop the best karma for me. I cannot comment on the other person because they are on their own battle and how they react to things and feel about them can only truly be known by them.
So, we know what the right thing to do is, the question is did I do it? I have to be completely honest and say no, I did the third option. I did it early in the morning right after I had seen the comment and before I really thought it through which is something I now regret. However the best bit about Buddhism is that every time you do something you are not condemned and you don’t have to repent it can just be taken as an opportunity to learn something and develop on your own spiritual path. It is for that reason that I thought I would share this as it helped me to work through it as well. It is important to constantly assess your actions and view points to see how they sit when broken down so you can eventually learn to do this before acting. Have you experienced anything similar and how did you handle it?