Discover the Dharma‎ > ‎Dharma Notes‎ > ‎Precepts‎ > ‎

Putting an End to Disputes

Seven Ways of Putting an End to Disputes (Sapta dhikarana-shamathadharma)

1. If a meeting of the Sangha is needed with the
presence of those who are involved in the dispute
so that they can talk about the injustice and
suffering they have experienced, and during this
meeting the Sangha can practice deep and
compassionate listening in order to relieve the
suffering of both sides, then let the Sangha call
such a meeting to resolve the dispute.

2. If a meeting is needed to encourage those
involved in the dispute to recall and tell what they
have seen, heard, and thought about the dispute in
the spirit of deep listening and loving speech, then
let such a meeting be called to resolve the dispute.

3. If a meeting is needed to affirm that a person
involved in the dispute was going through a mental
crisis or illness at the time of the dispute and did
not know that he was causing difficulties and
making others suffer, and now that the crisis is
over he still cannot remember well what happened,
then let such a meeting be called to resolve the
dispute.

4. If a meeting is needed to give those who are
involved in the dispute an opportunity to
recognize and acknowledge their own
unskillfulness and lack of mindfulness, wherein one
person first expresses his unskillfulness, lack of
mindfulness, and regrets using loving speech, and
then the other person(s) will be encouraged to do
the same, helping to de-escalate the conflict, then
let such a meeting be called to resolve the dispute.

5. If a meeting is needed to appoint a committee to
investigate and study the causes and nature of the
dispute, and after investigating this committee
should present a report to the Sangha so that they
can resolve the dispute, then let such a meeting be
called to resolve the dispute.

6. If a meeting is needed to resolve the dispute by
means of a majority vote, since the dispute has
gone on so long unresolved, and after the decision
by majority is made no one can bring the matter up
again, then let such a meeting be called to resolve
the dispute.

7. If a meeting in the presence of the most
respected elders of the community is needed to
resolve a dispute and in this meeting the elders will
declare a general amnesty, encouraging everyone to
use their compassion to put an end to resentment,
like laying straw on the mud, then let such a
meeting be called to resolve the dispute.

From Freedom Wherever We Go by Thich Nhat Hanh

Comments