If we are at war with our parents, our family, our society, or our church, there is probably a war going on inside us also, so the most basic work for peace is to return to ourselves and create harmony among the elements within us - our feelings, our perceptions, and our mental states. That is why the practice of meditation, looking deeply, is so important.
If we are too busy, if we are carried away every day by our projects, our uncertainty, our craving, how can we have the time to stop and look deeply into the situation-our own situation, the situation of our beloved one, the situation of our family and of our community, and the situation of our nation and of the other nations?
We may think that justice is everyone being equal, having the same rights, sharing the same kind of advantages, but maybe we have not had the chance to look at the nature of justice in terms of no-self. That kind of justice is based on the idea of self, but it may be very interesting to explore justice in terms of no-self.
I am determined not to kill, not to let others kill, and not to condone any act of killing in the world, in my thinking, and in my way of life. We cannot support any act of killing; no killing can be justified. But not to kill is not enough ... If in your thinking you allow the killing to go on, you also break this precept. We must be determined not to condone killing, even in our minds.
If we are not empty, we become a block of matter. We cannot breathe, we cannot think. To be empty means to be alive, to breathe in and to breathe out. We cannot be alive if we are not empty. Emptiness is impermanence, it is change. We should not complain about impermanence, because without impermanence, nothing is possible.
'Emptiness' means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything, full of life. The word emptiness should not scare us. It is a wonderful word. To be empty does not mean non-existent. Emptiness is the ground of everything. Thanks to emptiness, everything is possible.
Understanding and Love are not two separate things, but just one. To develop understanding, you have to practice looking at all living beings with the eyes of compassion. When you understand, you cannot help but love. And when you love, you naturally act in a way that can relieve the suffering of people.
To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides. If we take sides, it is impossible to do the work of reconciliation. And humans want to take sides. That is why the situation gets worse and worse. Are there people who are still available to both sides? They need not do much. They need do only one thing: Go to one side and tell all about the suffering endured by the other side, and go to the other side and tell all about the suffering endured by this side. This is our chance... Read more »
First, let us light the torch of our awareness and learn again how to drink tea, eat, wash dishes, walk, sit, drive, and work in awareness. We do not have to be swept along by circumstances. We are not just a leaf or a log in a rushing river. With awareness, each of our daily acts takes on a new meaning, and we discover that we are more than machines, that our activities are not just mindless repetitions. We find that life is a miracle, the universe is a miracle, and we too are a miracle.
Training is needed in order to love properly; and to be able to give happiness and joy, you must practice DEEP LOOKING directed toward the other person you love. Because if you do not understand this person, you cannot love properly. Understanding is the essence of love. If you cannot understand, you cannot love. That is the message of the Buddha.
All violence is injustice. Responding to violence with violence is injustice, not only to the other person but also to oneself. Responding to violence with violence resolves nothing; it only escalates violence, anger and hatred. It is only with compassion that we can embrace and disintegrate violence. This is true in relationships between individuals as well as in relationships between nations.
Every day we touch what is wrong, and, as a result, we are becoming less and less healthy. That is why we have to learn to practice touching what is not wrong—inside us and around us. When we get in touch with our eyes, our heart, our liver, our breathing, and our non-toothache and really enjoy them, we see that the conditions for peace and happiness are already present.
Feelings, whether of compassion or irritation, should be welcomed, recognized, and treated on an absolutely equal basis; because both are ourselves. The tangerine I am eating is me. The mustard greens I am planting are me. I plant with all my heart and mind. I clean this teapot with the kind of attention I would have were I giving the baby Buddha or Jesus a bath. Nothing should be treated more carefully than anything else. In mindfulness, compassion, irritation, mustard green plant, and teapot are all sacred.
We have the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast. But in the name of freedom, people have done a lot of damage. I think we have to build a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast in order to counterbalance. Because liberty without responsibility is not true liberty. We are not free to destroy.