How Do We Want To Live?
It seems as though profit has become the dominant value in the U.S. to the exclusion of the needs and dignity of workers for a living wage, health insurance and security. Serving the stockholder has become top priority and the quality of life for many has deteriorated as a result.
The Buddhist Point of View
Everyone Has a Buddha Nature
Buddhism teaches that every person has the Buddha Nature, an Enlightened level of life.Because of this every person is worthy of respect. No one should be devalued or exploited to serve any other purpose.
The Ten Worlds
Buddhism also discusses a concept called the Ten Worlds.These are internal states within each of us, which we live every day. One of these, the second lowest, is the world of Hunger.This world represents unsatisfied craving or unsatiated greed.We see such craving active in the lives of individuals who cannot get enough of something, for example drugs, material things, or fame.
Buddhism considers the world of Hunger one of the six lower paths and predicts that the end result, from manifesting this world, is suffering. One example is addiction, another someone who puts money over the needs of family and ends up alone. We see the results of greed on a larger scale when the profit motive is unrestrained, and companies reduce people’s salaries to lower than living wage.
What Can You Do to Help Restore Balance?
Are you concerned with the greed demonstrated by corporations and individuals? Maybe you feel that it’s impossible to reverse the selfish direction our society has been heading.
Be encouraged. Nichiren Buddhism gives us the tools we need to help lift us out of the lower world of Hunger and into the more enlightened world of the Bodhisattva where compassion and kindness are dominant.
Here are some things you can do.
- Chant daily to bring out the more compassionate level of life in yourself by tapping into your Buddha Nature
- Each one of us has a unique role to play, so when you chant with that intention, note any ideas and prepare to act on them.
- How will you know what is right for you?You’ll get an idea for a step to take and it will feel right. You will feel connected to it. It doesn’t matter whether your idea is for a small action or a larger one. Don’t talk yourself out of it even if it seems small. Small actions multiplied can add up to big changes. Think of Rosa Parks, who inspired many, when she refused to sit in the back of the bus.
- Take whatever action comes to you and continue to chant with the goal in mind. Your direction will keep coming, one step at a time.
One Person At A Time
When one person, then another, then one hundred, then thousands take action, we can start to shift ourselves from a society where the question is ‘how do I get mine?’ to one where the question is ‘how do we benefit everyone?’
But it must begin with each one of us.
Next Topic: What is compassion?