by Richard Doyo
The Peaceful heart…what is so hard about this? Daily, moment to moment we go about killing one another with words, apathy, bullets, of course, hurtful thoughts, and the list could on and on. If something, is so good, why is it so difficult to reach? As Buddhist, we must set the example of what a life could be, without purposeful harming. The key must lie in our motivation, to do no harm intentionally. A purity of motivation, that requires mindfulness, a momentary pause for most of us, that ultimately becomes natural. Reading the newspaper or listening to the news, the accounts of failure of this abounds. All that it may take is a moment. How sad is this? Despite our best efforts, we mess up, but our motivation was not to do harm. Shit happens, in such moments, given our deep desire to do no harm; we must find ways to be kind to ourselves. Even, this can be a hardy task for many of us. We have been taught to be hard on ourselves; the benefits are quite meek if any at all. So, why does any of this have to be?
I am inclined to think we have been taught, indirectly or directly, perhaps unconsciously, to be hateful. Seemingly, we have found ways in our society to justify our acts. The opportunities to look within, to consider our actions, are absent.
Each week I ask my college students to write a paragraph in their journal, “What I have I brought to my learning experience tonight, for myself and others?” Further, I ask them to write on, “How will I care for myself so I may care for others”. The point is to have clinical counseling students to think deeply about themselves and others. No one is in this universe alone; there is a constant interdependency, all actions having a reaction. We are responsible for one another in the grand scheme of things.
Thay’ explains this so eloquently. A peaceful heart is indeed, hard to come by given the forces of our psyche, society, the inclination to be self-centered. The antidote, of course, is to look within, seeing ourselves with greater clarity, in doing so we can see we all are much more alike than different. As we soften to our experience, it would seem others would do the same in our presence. Coming together in this manner is risky, but so is the way we are. Becoming a peaceful heart needs be incorporated into society’s curriculum. I wonder if we can standardize a peaceful heart?
Richard Doyo Sensei is a Lay Minister with Bright Dawn Way of Oneness Sangha. For information about Bright Dawn and the Lay Ministry program please visit our website.