A number of years ago, I took the bodhisattva vow. I would try to ease the suffering of all sentient beings. I was only 30 at the time and starting my psychotherapy practice. It seemed straight forward - ease suffering thought loving kindness. I founded my business and the Open Grove out of those principles.
I quickly found my dilemna. I didn't want to ease the suffering of certain beings. The black widow spider that looked like it was going to sting me. The person who hurt my dog. The guy who mows his lawn and doesn't pick up the cuttings so they float all over my sidewalk. And what about pedophiles?
Working in the Open Grove, I learned some ways to cheat the need to "ease sufffering of all sentient beings". Edward Espe Brown told me that Suzuki Roshi encouraged you to say, "May you be Buddha" to everything you killed. So I say that now when I kill a black widow spider and feel no guilt. Sharon Salzberg told me that the point was to be aware of the suffering you cause. Sylvia Boorstein told me that causing suffering was a part of our essential nature. Tara Brach encouraged me to accept my capacity for causing suffering so that I might then do some good. Mark Epstein just laughed and said, "Ya, that is a problem."
But what about pedophiles? I knew a few growing up. Of course I did. I found them to be desperate people driven by a compulsion that they could barely control. This compulsion drove almost every action in a way that the clean, clear word "addiction" can't quite define.
Does that justify the gut wrenching damage they cause? The multigenerational damage as one damaged shamed person acts out their pain on another passing and magnifying the damage? Is it possible to wish lovingkindness to the person who causes this damage?
It's time to start this discussion. Check out this Time Magazine article. I don't have any answers here. What do you think?