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The society we live in today is plagued by numerous crises—climate change, energy and food crises, environmental pollution, wars, and acts of terrorism. And the crises are becoming increasingly serious day by day. The root cause of all these is that “the human mind has turned bad,” that we have overlooked the important teachings on moral relations, and that the innate nature is good.
According to Chronicles by Zuo Qiuming, “If humans abandon moral relations, evil will prevail. ” Guan Zhong, [Qi politician, 723 BCE–645 BCE] said, “Dispensing with the four principles (propriety, righteousness, honesty, and shamefulness) will lead to the downfall of a nation.”
Today, the world is in turmoil, and disasters occur with increasing frequency. The root cause is the deterioration of the human mind. There are reasons for this deterioration: People of the East neglect the teachings of the sages passed down by their ancestors; Westerners neglect religious education.
The Mahayana Buddhist sutras state that “forms are created by the mind; the environment changes in accordance with the mind” and “all phenomenon is are created by the mind.” “Forms” refer to our physical appearance. “Environment” refers to our surroundings, including people and events; mountains, rivers, and the earth; and trees, grass, and flowers. They all change in accordance with our thoughts.
Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan, with his renowned experiments on water, has proved that the crystallization of water can be changed from beautiful to ugly when experimenters’ thoughts change from kindness to evilness. This is perhaps a most direct proof of the law of cause and effect. Confucius taught in the Book of Shan: “. . . do good and a hundred good fortunes will manifest. Do evil and a hundred misfortunes will ensue.” The Bible says: “Woe unto the wicked! It shall be ill with him: for the reward of his hands shall be given him.” Isaiah 3:11 (King James Version). The Quran says: “And whatever of misfortune befalls you, it is because of what your hands have earned.” 42:30 (The Noble Quran)….
Ever since we entered the 21st century, human and natural disasters have been constantly occurring: climate change, global warming, melting of icebergs in the Arctic and the Antarctic, rising sea level, increasing terrorist attacks, the Iraq war, the Indonesian tsunami, the Wenchuan earthquake, the global financial crisis, food crises, and so on. In particular, the occurrences of the Haiti earthquake, the volcano eruptions in Iceland, the Yushu earthquake in China, the H1N1 pandemic, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill—these types of event are increasing in frequency. They are what the ancients called “signs from heaven,” a tolling bell to warn human beings of a pending major catastrophe.
Can we prevent these disasters from happening? Absolutely.…
The first eight sentences in the Three Character Classic are the upmost concepts in education passed on by our ancestors from thousands of years ago. “The nature of people at birth is innately good.” This sentence gives human nature a positive description. Everyone is born with virtue. Sakyamuni Buddha said: “All sentient beings are originally Buddhas.” So simple and direct! You are a Buddha! Why have we now become an imperfect, worldly person? In the Three Character Classic, there is a great explanation that explains: “Their natures are similar; their habits are vastly different.”
There is no difference between our original virtue and that of Buddhas or bodhisattvas. Why are we now so different? It is because our acquired habits are different. We are polluted in our everyday lives, by our environment and by complicated affairs between people. When we are polluted, we acquire bad habits. One takes the behavior of one’s company. If we stay close to saints and sages every day, we will become saints. If we stay close to immoral people all the time, we will take on their behavior and eventually become immoral people. Therefore, our ancestors realized the importance of education.
. . . The true nature is of the utmost purity and virtuousness. It is perfect and radiant. Habits are the bad thoughts and views that one acquired after birth. Simply put, the conflict between the true nature and acquired habits is the conflict between altruism and self-
Therefore, if those who engage in the teaching of peace can (1) truly resolve in their minds their conflicts with anyone, any matter, and any thing, (2) let go of all selfish thoughts and actions of controlling and possessing, and (3) interact with others and engage in tasks with sincere love, then this would truly be the basic way to resolve all contradictions and conflicts in the world. …..
. . Fighting for personal gain will definitely result in others losing. This kind of mindset will be reason enough for conflicts between human beings. Therefore, the approach to reconcile all conflicts and to promote social stability and world peace does not lie in the use of military force. Then what can we do to change?
Ancient saints and sages, Confucius, and Sakyamuni Buddha all reached this objective by teaching. Thus, the only way for us to prevent conflict and promote social stability and world peace is to let go of all struggles for personal recognition and gain. We need to actively promote the enlightened teachings of benevolence, virtuousness, and compassion. This teaching of love in religion is the only method to end conflict and achieve peace.
. . . Why does conflict arise? Because one’s thoughts, speech, and behavior do not accord with the innate virtuousness of one’s nature. When one’s thoughts and behavior do not accord with one’s nature, conflict will arise. Why can’t one’s thoughts and behavior accord with one’s nature? If we look carefully, we will find that the origin of conflict is greed. Therefore, in the teaching of Sakyamuni, greed, anger, and ignorance are considered the root causes of conflict and are called the Three Poisons. The most fundamental among the Three Poisons is greed—one’s greed for material gain.