Recognizing that all humanity suffers, every spiritual book teaches that even our enemies and the most ignoble deserve compassion. Everyone should be treated with loving-kindness.
Despite this common teaching, there is one category of person who I suggest falls outside that orbit of loving-kindness. If someone is truly evil … whether it is a Hitler or a person with Narcissist Personality Disorder (not to be confused with garden-variety narcissists) … that person is no longer human. They have been taken over by the devil. There is no saving such a person through good efforts. They are like vampires. They will only respond to loving-kindness by using it to take advantage of the giver and gain control over them.
It is true that no one is born evil or that their heart chooses to be evil, and that they lost their humanity because of their life experiences, their ego-mind, and for that reason one should have compassion for them. But do not treat them with loving-kindness. They have entered the world of the devil and are eternally lost. They feed on good people and suck the life out of them. We have seen this most clearly in cults, where the leader has absolute control; the followers may appear to be happy, but they are not; they are delusional, they are under a spell.
I used to think that truly evil people were a rare exception. My increasing knowledge of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and its widespread nature, however, has made me change that assessment. People with NPD (Narcs) are everywhere. The spread of this phenomenon has probably been brought about by our increasingly cold and loveless society. But it is a fact; the frequency with which I bump into people who have had first-hand experience with a Narc is frightening.
I know this sounds very strange coming from a Buddhist teacher. But one must recognize danger in the world, with dispassion, free of emotion, in order to protect oneself by being in touch with the positive energy in your heart. The devil is not a figment of the imagination; it is very real. We must learn to recognize it and speak the truth about it so as to warn others.
To protect yourself, both from the attacks you’ve experiences and from future ones, the key is to connect with the joy and positive energy in your heart. The devil and other emotional predators find your weak spot, your fears, and use them to gain power over you. But as I’ve written, when you are one with that positive energy in your heart and you radiate it outward, it creates a forcefield around you that negativity cannot penetrate, whether it comes from an external source or from your own ego-mind. As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. (See my post, “Change Your Life by Changing the Direction of Its Energy Flow.”)
Remember, if you want life to be different in any way than it is right now at this moment, if you have cravings for things you do not have, those are the points of entry for those who would control you and use you. They will play up to you, they will make you feel that they are wonderful and helpful, but they are not. They are not out to help you, but use you. And this applies to people you may encounter in all areas of your life. You must learn to discriminate between those who are truly good people and those who are charlatans, con men.
But while it is critical that you face the devil with dispassion, with equanimity, it is equally important you do not ignore the devil. When faced with the devil you should not say, “its just the way it is.” When you sense the devil in your presence, you have to take action, You have two options: either you must remove yourself from the devil or counter it.
In a personal setting one cannot win so don’t try to fight the devil; you will only damage yourself; instead put distance between you and the devil. However, if someone evil is trying to gain power, then work with others to call it out, to rouse your fellow man to resist the allure spun by the devil … they are masters of manipulation … and deprive it of the innocent support it feeds upon.