Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Prisoners of the World (Comment)


Can we change the world? We can't even change ourselves, what else change the world?
Here is my comment:


Thank you for sharing with me your concern for the world.

This world was, is, and will be what it is. So take heart. Do not be too concerned about the present state of affairs of this world. Once you understand the true nature of this world, you can live in peace with the world. If we understand the revelations of the Buddha, we will have no quarrel with this world.
This world is like a prison. We all know that a prison has strict rules and restrictions. To "qualify" as a "resident" one must have certain "qualifications" to be "selected". One must commit a crime and proven guilty. The length of one's stay is dependent upon the severity of the "qualifications". Once inside there, one cannot change the rules to suit oneself. It is a punishment whereby one has to bear with it until the term ends. It is no point complaining and resisting the system. So if the prisoner is wise enough, he will understand his position and accept the rules which he has no power to change. Upon this realization, he submits himself to the system and obeys all the rules and regulations and wait patiently to serve his dues. He can only be free when he gets out of this prison. The conditions of the prison he cannot change, for it is the requirements of the prison to restrict the prisoners from freedom.
The Buddha pointed out that the true nature of this world is "imperfection". It is because of our own imperfection that we are "sentenced" to this world to serve out our "prison" term. If we are wise enough to realize this truth then we can behave like a model prisoner, stop complaining and bear with the imperfections. Once we accept this world as it really is, then we have no more problem with the world. Only the world has problems. Only those who are ignorant of this true nature of this world have problems, because they want the impossible, they want perfect happiness, eternal life, and complete peace on earth! It is like the unreasonable prisoner who complains about lack of freedom and lack of sunshine in the prison. You are right that the world is in a horrible state. You are right that people are hateful, and evil. When the Buddha first attained enlightenment, he was reluctant to preach the truth to the world, because he knew that most people would never understand. Even the Buddha knew that he would never save the whole world; what about us?
The only thing we can do is to start with ourselves. Practise the Buddha's teachings diligently. Change ourselves first. Then show the rest of the world, our spiritual achievements so that they will want to become better persons like us. This is so much we can do. And I can tell you from my own experience, it is not easy even to change my "self", let alone others! I cannot change the world. But I can make effort to share my knowledge of the Buddha's teachings with you and others. This much I can do. Perhaps, you can do better. I hope you are at peace with my answer. If you need any further clarification, please don't hesitate to write again. I always gain much happiness in answering questions like yours. It is because I know I am doing my little part to help people feel more at peace with themselves.

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