Tolerance and Compassion

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Just ending a run of school and community visits, they always inspire especially some of the interactions and some very thoughtful questions.
One of the things I cover is the four regulative principles, however one never refers to them as regulative principles but as the four protections; normally including some statistical information and examples of how following protects from many social ills
There is however one that always brings the greatest discussion that of No Meat Eating, so for the past few years I’ve started to get them first to talk about and share experiences of their own pets. It always brings out a pause for thought and often continues well after the scheduled time.
Several years ago after one such presentation one individual felt somewhat cheated as he felt only one outcome of the way I introduced the concept of non meat eating, and found out my schedule for the next few months. It was challenging as each time his vocal interruptions and comments became more cutting;however I felt this is a great opportunity to learn tolerance, but also how to adjust each presentation to counteract his growing hostility.
So seeing him approaching me earlier on this week after another community presentation I was ready for another interesting interaction where he brings different reasons why everyone should eat meat. Surprisingly this was truly a sweet interaction, he thanked me for never throwing him out and always giving him some time to speak, by the way I’ve been vegetarian for over a year now which took me by surprise.
He started to explain that during each interaction he started to realise that his arguments failed each time, and that whilst he was getting angrier I had remained calm and that a the end of our last meeting I handed him a Gita and said one day he will be able to read it and understand.
He explained how much his health had improved since giving up meat and one day decided he would read the Gita, we sat as he had lots of questions based on what he had read; a truly remarkable change.
It reminded me that being more tolerant than a tree and full of compassion for the fallen conditioned soul is more than words we say every morning, but something we should put into practice as each person we meet no matter how hostile can one day make a start in a life of devotion.