Though others kill, we shall be kind.
And by being kind we shall heal the world.
Though others steal and exploit, we shall be generous and hospitable.
And by doing so, we shall make a refuge for the world.
Though others spit forth hatred and incite to cruelty, we shall speak words of peace and understanding. And by that truth we shall cool the fire that is burning the world down.
Though others cheat and lie, we shall be truthful and honest.
And by doing so there will be an oasis of sanity amidst the madness.
Though there be some who seek to profit from anger and greed, we shall be content with what we have and use it for the greater good of all beings.
And by doing so we shall transmit a lamp in the great darkness.
And we shall do these things and be so, not through our own cleverness or special virtue, but simply by the power of faith.
By the power of faith, we can recognize the darkness that is in ourselves also, and by that modest self-appraisal we shall effortlessly and necessarily become a mirror for the Dharma.
For it’s not the arrogant who cool the fire of the world.
It’s not those who grow fat and rich who feed the hungry.
It is not those greedy for power who bring peace and reconciliation.
Sometimes it is good to shout out loud in the cause of goodness.
But shouting cannot go on all day.
Sometimes it’s good to take a knee in respect for the dignity for all those who have suffered. But one cannot be on one’s knees all day long.
Sometimes it is right to march in the streets and demonstrate for change. But this is only a first step.
Resist oppression but go on. Go on to assist the afflicted. Go on and demonstrate an alternative by letting just a hint of that Pure Land into this world of want and strife. For the light from that realm has no limits and even the tiniest spark yields infinite merits. And such sparks can work miracles in the hearts of even the most unlikely individuals and groups.
It is those ordinary beings who have been seized by the measureless grace who sow the seeds of love. It is simple souls who’ve been inspired by the Truth that surpasses all obstacles, who water those seeds. It is those who are the salt of the earth, who have been touched by common humanity, who help those vulnerable seedlings to grow. It is modest folk of simple faith who are the lotus flower rising from the mud, blossoming into the sunshine above the mire.
And as the number of lotus flowers multiplies it becomes a garland. And this garland is the true sutra. Those who wear it are embarked upon an eternal pilgrimage. Along the way they will meet many angels and just as many dragons, and in the end, they shall find the grail, the open sesame, the wish-fulfilling jewel. They will find it sewn into the hem of the garment they have been wearing all along, where the Buddha stitched it in long ago while they were sleeping. And when they find it, they will laugh, and all the Buddhas will laugh with them, and that laughter will echo and echo as Namo Amida Bu. Namo Amida Bu. Namo Amida Bu.
Thank you very much.