Cited from the Grand Master Wei Chueh’s Dharma Talk (2009)
A harmonious society and a harmonious world are the fundamental conditions for a happy and peaceful life. In this multi-faceted, ever changing society, with its materialistic progress and close interaction between people, human desires are pervasive and problems surface. This results in mental agitation for many, and the importance of peace and harmony is ever more apparent. To achieve a harmonious world, we must consider not only ourselves, but also our environment. If people wish to lead a harmonious life, they must not only satisfy and maintain their basic material needs, but live in harmony with others, have a sense of values, have a calm and peaceful mind, and maintain a physical environment amenable to human existence.
Today, although the acceleration in technology brings humanity many conveniences, we have not used them wisely, creating greater problems and disharmony in the world, even leading us to the possible dangers of human destruction. We have many problems today, the most important of which are: 1) wasting and depletion of our natural resources, 2) serious pollution and damage to the environment, 3) a large gap between the rich and the poor, 4) weapons of mass destruction, 5) conflicts among races, religions, and cultures, and 6) impoverished spiritual life caused by materialistic advances and excessive pursuit of fame and profit. These problems can no longer be solved by just a few countries, but must be faced by the whole world.
If we investigate all our problems, the ultimate source is our mind. Buddhism points out the key insight that all things are created by the mind. In examining any problem, from the individual up to the world, if we start from observing the mind, we will find the fundamental issue. We must not only employ scientific research, but also nurture and practice self-control, with a mind free of excessive desire, with a compassionate mind to benefit others, with the great wisdom of Buddhism that teaches the three liberating doctrines of “precepts, samadhi, and wisdom.” Otherwise, no matter how much technology advances, we cannot avoid the calamities caused by greed and avarice.
A harmonious world must be replete with many conditions, but the essential principle is to accord with the Buddhist teaching of the “six-fold reverend harmony”. They are:
- physical harmony — our actions should be harmonious;
- oral harmony — our speech should be in agreement;
- mental harmony — our thoughts should be peaceful;
- harmony in views — we aim to reach consensus, a common understanding;
- harmony in moral conduct — we should restrain our actions and observe the regulations;
- harmony in benefits — we should share our benefits.
If we can observe these six harmonies, whether we are a small organization or an international society, we can achieve harmony. But to create a harmonious world, it is of foremost importance to have harmony in views; that is, to establish the right viewpoint and mutual understanding. Buddhism views the world as intimately inter-connected and without a ‘self.’ If there is no-self, there are no conflicts; with no conflicts, all things will coexist harmoniously.
In today’s world of globalization, we have multi-faceted values and interact so closely with each other that, in order to reduce our conflicts, people or nations cannot regard themselves as the center of the universe and only think of benefiting themselves. We must realize that all things are intimately connected, and that we should respect and appreciate each other. We need to recognize the importance and wisdom of harmony, and realize that only by achieving a harmonious world will peace and happiness in life be possible. With such a harmony of views, all the other five harmonies can be achieved and the creation of a harmonious world is possible.
The Buddha Dharma purifies the mind. Purifying the mind is the foundation of a harmonious world. Practicing and spreading Buddhism is the realization of purifying the mind, achieving a harmonious society, and a harmonious world. ☸︎
(Taken from Chung Tai Magazine, issue #121)