Dependant Origination. . .
The fundamental Buddhist concept of dependent origination teaches that, at the most profound level, all life is interconnected, that nothing exists in isolation. Simply put, it means that the real nature of individuals or events can only be correctly understood in the context of their connections with all others.
In his 1993 Harvard University lecture, Ikeda Sensei spoke of the Buddhist notion of the interrelationship of all things, stating:
Each living thing manifests the enlightenment of which it is capable; each contributes to the harmony of the grand concert of symbiosis. In Buddhist terminology, dependent origination describes these relationships. No person or thing exists in isolation. Every being functions to create the environment that sustains all other existences. All things are mutually supporting and interrelated, forming a living cosmos, what modern philosophy might term a semantic whole. That is the conceptual framework through which Mahayana Buddhism views the natural universe.
Buddhism holds that human beings, far from being isolated entities, are part of a larger, symbiotic fabric of coexistence, where “because this exists, so does that; because that exists, so does this.When individuals cannot grasp or appreciate their connections with others, it gives rise to a sense of mistrust, hostility or loathing. It leads to a society based upon the human illusions of superiority anddistrus of anything or anyone that does not meet our conceived criteria.
From the perspective of Buddhism, that which creates trust, respect and harmony among people can be described as good. That which divides people, causing disrespect and mistrust, is regarded as evil. But without understanding we can see these “labels” as catalyst for division (look at current political stances).
Breaking free from patterns of division, hatred, discrimination and mistrust requires a strenuous spiritual effort. It involves redefining what it means to be human, continually reflecting on how we see ourselves and those who are seemingly different from us. When enough people ground themselves in this awareness, humanity can free itself from the horrific cycles of conflict and discrimination, and foster new generations of people imbued with a deep respect for the sanctity of life.
As we approach a new year think on ways in which human beings and their happiness are at the center of all activities.. Not just you and your immediate family but the our entire family of humans (and animals!). Through dedicated actions and dialogues, we can promote, honor and become the mutual understanding required, support the flourishing of each person’s potential and create a world that treasures and protects this moment called life.
Peace and Love, Jim