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A Glimpse into His Thoughts - Facing social chaos:doing your best

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A Glimpse into His Thoughts
The key points in practicing Buddhism:this moment, this place, this person
The key points in spiritual cultivation:the Three Immeasurable Studies ofprecepts, contemplation, and wisdom
Facing social chaos:doing your best
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Facing social chaos: doing your best

Master Yin Shun's Teaching:

Everybody is in society. No single person can change society, but a lot of people working together can influence it. Just do what you have to do and do your best. Always working hard for goodness is true progress.

From the news reports, society seems to be in chaos. How can the Buddha's teachings help?
This is not easy. Things come and go according to the convergence and divergence of various conditions. People nowadays are becoming more and more clever and have learned to cause more and more disruptions and problems in society and the world.

People have become so self-centered. They aren't interested in normal, everyday things, and instead they behave in strange and peculiar ways because they want to attract attention to themselves. They are happy when they become famous or get things for themselves. They are only concerned about themselves and nothing else. They are shortsighted and are only concerned about whether they can get what they want. They aren't concerned about other people.

Learning the Buddha's path also emphasizes "I," the self, but to understand yourself, you must know which path to take in life. And not just in this life, but in the next life as well.

If you believe in the law of cause and effect, you won't do what you shouldn't do. If you can do something, you must do it to the best of your ability. Everyone must carry out his duties well so that society won't become so chaotic.

For the past 100 years, technology has been moving forward at an increasingly fast rate. Much of this progress has seemed to benefit society. But there are some advancements that are of concern to us, like the ability to produce human clones. What is Master Yin Shun's opinion about this?
If you understand the world through the Buddha's dharma, you will see that everything has a side effect. Seeking scientific advancement has the potential for abnormal side effects. Some of these side effects may even be harmful to ourselves.

All innovations seem beneficial to human beings at first. Some people say that progress is good and praise the source of that progress. But this is a type of ignorance in human civilization. In the end, such progress may prove not to be good. Gradually, some people will use new advances in harmful ways. This can't be avoided. Progress that comes too quickly can be particularly dangerous.

In the end, we must emphasize the things that are positive--ethics and peace. It is good to promote these ideas, and not focus on the value of technological advancement. Focusing our attention on the wrong areas will cause problems.

There are more and more disasters in the world. What should we do?
In Buddhism, there are forces of creation and destruction, and there are times of success and times of failure.

Earth is subject to the same forces. It will certainly decay. It won't stay in this present state forever. Like all things, it too has a time limit.

Since earth will decay and die one day, what is the purpose of spiritual cultivation?
People go through the cycle of birth, aging, decay, and death. Whenever there is birth, there is death, but that doesn't mean emptiness. People are always reborn again.

People have to strive for the right path and encourage other people to do good deeds. People should work together. No single person can accomplish everything by himself, so people must work on good deeds together.

I am not saying that the earth won't decay and die if we do a lot of good deeds. This is impossible. But we can improve society that way. The Buddha once said that we travel on our own paths after we die. If we do good deeds, we will receive good karma for our next lives.

Compiled by the editors of Tzu Chi Monthly
Source: Tzu Chi Quarterly Winter 2005