“What’s going on?” Marvin Gaye 1971
G Sakamoto


“Mother, mother
There’s too many of you crying.”

You would think that by now we should have been able to figure things out. And yet we find ourselves still living in a world that Shinran described as like a burning house. It is difficult to look out into the world and determine what is true and real. Our tendency to see the world through our own preferences distorts how we engage the world. It feels easier to see the world through what I want, through my expectations. When confronted with disagreeableness we react, sometimes in anger, sometimes with empathy. It would be easy to say don’t fight yet when we are committed to a belief and those beliefs are challenged we may feel that we have no choice but to fight. How can we not believe that our enemy is intending to destroy us.

Would it be naive to think that everything would be solved by now?

“Brother, brother
There’s far too many of you dying.”

There have been very few years in the last hundred years when there has not been a major conflict. And if not war then famine and disease. Calamities often wrought by exploitation and greed leaving in its wake terrible consequences. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported19,362 homicides in America in 2016. The CDC can report but not study the causes of gun deaths.

“You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today, eheh”

It is amazing how sometimes when things feel overwhelming we hear something, read something, meet someone and something changes us. I am transformed, even if only for a short while, as a result of an encounter. I am caused to rethink how I experience the world. What seemed impossible becomes less overwhelming. How I see the world affects how I experience the world.

“Father, father
We don’t need to escalate”

Since before Shakyamuni Buddha we have fought with and preyed upon one another. And since before Shakyamuni Buddha we have also worked to affirm life. Most of us would rather live in peace. We know compassion, kindness affirms life. To hate and exploit others only causes deeper hate. It is difficult to turn this around. It cannot happen only in mountain sanctuaries. It cannot be only for the disciplined and dedicated. Everyday, all around us in the chaos and uncertainty, people are working to share life.

“You see, war is not the answer
For only love can conquer hate”

Affirm life. Support those who work in kindness.

Sometimes we become concerned about our motivation to do something. We ask ourselves if my ego is motivating me, if it is only my ego that is expressing itself. Sometimes we debate motivation while conditions deteriorate. While we debate someone could go hungry. Someone who is hungry is probably not concerned about why I should hand out sandwiches. That person is probably not concerned about whether my intent is pure. That debate should take place but while the difficulties continues there are things we can do.