Life-giv­ing prin­ci­ples good to live by

Bud­dhism teach­ings warn against greed, ha­tred and delu­sion

The Prince George Citizen - - SPORTS -

Ac­cord­ing to the teach­ings of Bud­dhism, there are three poi­sons: greed, ha­tred and delu­sion. When we study his­tory and ex­am­ine the world around us, we can see that most of our prob­lems are rooted in these mis­aligned prin­ci­ples. It is also in­ter­est­ing to note how they build off of each other.

Be­liev­ing that sat­is­fy­ing greed is good for any­one is delu­sional. Unchecked lais­sez-faire cap­i­tal­ism is ac­tu­ally bad for long-term eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The Amer­i­can or­ga­ni­za­tion Pa­tri­otic Mil­lion­aires, for ex­am­ple, states, “We be­lieve that the trend of grow­ing eco­nomic in­equal­ity is bad for so­ci­ety and bad for busi­ness… We be­lieve that a na­tional ‘liv­ing wage’ law will en­sure a sta­ble level of ag­gre­gate de­mand, which will fuel our econ­omy more broadly, ush­er­ing a new era of pros­per­ity for all Amer­i­cans, in­clud­ing rich ones.”

These con­cepts ap­ply on the global scale as well. When hu­man be­ings are al­lowed to thrive, so do economies. They ap­ply to the en­vi­ron­ment as well. In­vest- ing in re­new­able en­ergy, for ex­am­ple, makes eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal sense. One needs only look at Ger­many’s thriv­ing econ­omy, or the suc­cess of the Tesla Cor­po­ra­tion.

Ha­tred is also delu­sional, as is racism. We can in­deed ask our­selves if race re­ally ex­ists. Ac­cord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Canada, for ex­am­ple, I am a vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity be­cause I am half Syr­ian. I am also half Ger­man. Peo­ple who meet me would never guess my eth­nic­ity. Other than as part of our own per­sonal eth­nic iden­tity, hu­man­ity is in­deed grow­ing to a point where race no longer ex­ists.

Ha­tred for other groups of­ten fades as we get to know each other. South Korean jour­nal­ist Euna Lee, af­ter be­ing cap­tured and im­pris­oned in North Korea, for ex­am­ple, points out that many of her so called en­e­mies treated her with kind­ness.

Though she had learned most of her life to fear and hate the North Kore­ans, she states, “I was able to see hu­man­ity over ha­tred in my en­emy’s eyes.”

What then is the an­ti­dote to these poi­sons?

It is quite as­tound­ing how all life-giv­ing philoso­phies and re­li­gions come to the same con­clu­sions, re­gard­less of dis­tances in time and space. Many North Amer­i­can Indige­nous peo­ples, for ex­am­ple, re­fer to the Seven Grand­fa­ther Teach­ings, but re­gard­less of our ori­gins, we can all re­late to these uni­ver­sal prin­ci­ples.

The first of these is hu­mil­ity, which ul­ti­mately means to em­brace our gifts and to use them for the good of all.

The sec­ond prin­ci­ple is hon­esty. We need to not only speak truth­fully to oth­ers, we need to be hon­est with our­selves.

The third prin­ci­ple is re­spect. When we re­spect there is no waste, we use things wisely and there is al­ways enough. The re­spect that we give is also re­turned to us.

The fourth prin­ci­ple is courage. There will be times when we face chal­lenges and strug­gles. This is sim­ply part of our hu­man con­di­tion. When we face them with courage, we be­come bet­ter and stronger, and we find mean­ing in life.

The fifth prin­ci­ple is wis­dom. We are unique, as is ev­ery other per­son. When we ob­serve and lis­ten, we learn a great deal. As we live our lives this way, we grow in wis­dom.

Liv­ing ac­cord­ing to these teach­ings leads us to dis­cover the sixth prin­ci­ple, truth. This is the an­ti­dote to all forms of delu­sion.

The great­est and fi­nal prin­ci­ple is love. In or­der to love another, we must first love our­selves. In or­der to love, we need to live the other six prin­ci­ples.

As we look at the world around us, we can see the folly of ha­tred and greed; they al­ways fail. As we em­brace the life giv­ing prin­ci­ples, which are in essence the cel­e­bra­tion of our com­mon hu­man­ity, we man­i­fest a world in which ev­ery­one is able to thrive.

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