Thursday, February 17, 2011
We have the power to change the world
Many of us today feel that modern science needs a renewed commitment to human values. While the main purpose of science is to learn about reality, another of it's goals is to improve the quality of life. But without altruistic motivation, scientists cannot distinguish between beneficial technologies and the merely expedient. All we have to do is look at the environmental damage surrounding us today to see the result of this confusion, but proper motivation may be even more relevant in governing how we handle the extraordinary new array of biological techniques with which we can now manipulate the subtle structure of life itself. If we do not base our every action on an ethical foundation, we run the risk of inflicting terrible harm on the delicate matrix of life. Which we can see this harm has already begun.
The regilions of the world are not exempt from this responsibility, as the purpose of religion is not to build beautiful churches and temples, (or at least it shouldn't be) but it is to cultivate positive human qualities such as tolerance, generosity, and love. Every world religion, no matter what its philosophical view, is founded first and foremost on the precept that we must reduce our selfishness and serve others. Unfortunately, sometimes religion itself causes more quarrels than it solves. Practitioners of different faiths should realize that each religious tradition has immense intrinsic value and the means for providing mental and spiritual health.
One religion, like a single type of food, cannot satisfy everybody. According to their varying mantal dispositions, some people benefit from one kind of teaching, others from another. Each faith has the ability to produce fine, warmhearted people; and despite their esposal of often-contradictory philosophies, all religions have succeeded in doing so. Thus, there is no reason to engage in divisive religious bigotry and intolerance, and every reason to cherish and respect all forms of spiritual practice. Often I am asked how I feel about other religions, as a Buddhist I cherish all religions that promote peace and love.
Today we find ourselves in the most painful period in human history. A time when, because of vast increase in the destructive power of weapons, more people have suffered from and died by violence than ever before. Furthermore, we have also witnessed an almost terminal competition between fundamental ideologies that have always torn the human community: force and raw power on the one hand; and freedom, pluralism, individual rights, and democracy on the other.
I believe that the result of this great competition are now clear. Although the good human spirit of peace, freedom, and democracy still faces many forms of tyranny and evil, it is nevertheless an unmistakable fact that the vast majority of people everywhere want it to triumph. Thus, the tragedies of our time have not been entirely without benefit and have in many cases been the very means by which the human mind has been opened. The collapse of Communism is just one thing that demonstrates this.
If there is ever to be peace in the world I believe that we have to allow religion to achieve its ultimate goal. I believe religions ultimate goal is to do away with religion. Many believe that world peace will never be realized. However I prefer to believe what is said at 2Peter 3:13 " There are new heavens and a new earth that are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell. Also at Rev 21:4 He will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore, the former things have passed away. And Buddha said that the world in a result of what we have thought and done, therefore if we are not happy with the way the world is we have the ability to change it with our own minds and actions.
Ther is no better time than now to start living in peace. We can start here, at our churches and temples. We can start in our communities by putting aside what we think is our differences and love one another. As it is said in John 13:35 "By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves. And Buddha said "Of all the ways you can think of, none has a sixteenth part of the value of loving kindness. Loving kindness is a freedom of the heart which takes in all the ways. It is luminous, shing, blazing forth. Such love reaches across racial, social, and national boundries, drawing people together in genuine brotherhood.
Everything we do matters, even the smallest thought. Lets make this a new year of hope and peace, make all we do count.