We begin by identifying the importance of developing skillful practice with differences and conflicts, whether inner conflicts or interpersonal conflicts or group or organizational conflicts or social or international conflicts. The claim is that the general principles and practices are fundamentally the same, even as the practices take different forms when there are more complexities.
We first give a definition of "conflict" as a difference of values, goals, or strategies, and as not necessarily involving hostility or aggression. This definition may help to go against the prevalence of negative conditioning about conflicts; we look at a number of reasons why bringing our practice to conflicts is commonly difficult. For the rest of the talk, we examine four more "inner" foundations of skillful practice with conflict: examining our own conditioning; working with the core relevant teachings of the Buddha, particularly about the nature of reactivity (as in the teaching of the Two Arrows); practicing with difficult emotions, body states, and thoughts; and bringing in the heart practices. After the talk, there is a discussion.