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VESAK  2558/2015

 - Part 3 Message - The 12th International Buddhist Conference on the United Nations Day of Vesak - 28th - 30th May 2558/2015 - Thailand

Zenposan Bendoji
Hochfeldstrasse 113
CH-3012 Bern

                                                                               Bern, 26th of April



If there is merit in being a monk and if there is merit in writing these lines, then surely it is not a personal merit. I give thanks to all the sentient and non-sentient beings, who have given me the opportunity and made it possible, to write the following sentences to this audience. Was there ever a time when the world was not in a crisis? Are there possible ways of perception, which do not conclude that the world is in a crisis? What do we mean when we say the word "crisis"? With these questions in mind I attempt to explore. The word crisis derives from the old Greek verb "krinein". It means separating and discriminating. From the same Greek verb our common words "to criticize", "Criticism" and "critical" derive. From this we could assume that a crisis always occurs, when we discriminate, when we are critical, when we critizise and when we stick to criticism. By criticizing we value everything and everyone negatively or positively and out of this we try to gain personal profit. So the crisis caused by criticism is a frequently used process to create personal advantage. The Romans used to say "divide et impera", which means separate people and through this you will gain power over them. All this is, as we know, done through our mental perception. Our mental perception is the causative factor, which creates subjects and objects, self and others, likes and dislikes. War, torture, exploitation, slavery, hunger and extreme wealth and poverty are simply the excessive effects of our discriminating mind. Through discrimination and therefore separation we try to be successful and try to avoid failure, try to be famous and try to avoid shame, try to be rich and try to avoid poverty, try to be winners and try to avoid being losers. By discriminating we try to let others pay the bill of our actions, or rather for our own karmic contribution. Because we do not understand that there is no individual or personal Karma, we probably still more frequently tend to see the advantages in our discriminating mind and ignore its disadvantages and cause of our deep and rooted ongoing human crisis. Only humans and possibly beings with a similar mind experience crisis due to their perception based on discrimination. Being, Karma, the way we perceive our perception, is already Karma, is action, which decides which wheel we turn. There is a subtle way freeing us from being sub-jected into being a sub-ject. Overcoming separation and discrimination is healing. Overcoming separation and discrimination can be achieved by non-discriminating between friends and enemies and between believers and non-believers and this is the only real action of friendliness. Decisions tend to overcome separation and discrimination through making a choice. However we have to be very careful because choosing is likely to lead us to further discrimination and separation and to a turn of the wheel of samsara. "The way is not difficult, but beyond choice", utters Sôsan Daioshô. The starting point of Shakyamuni Buddha's quest for the truth was a crisis based upon, his discriminating perception of the birth of his son Rahula, of an ill person, of a corpse and of a sanyasin. Shakyamuni Buddha made a choice. His crisis, his choice led to a crisis in his family. The parents lost their son. The wife lost her husband. The son lost his father. Finally under the Bodhi-tree he had to face Mara and the sons and daughters of Mara. With time, whilst in meditation, he came to understand that Mara and his relatives were reflections, creations and creatures of his own mind. The insight and the bravery to face himself, led him to salvation. He found the subtle way of no-self of freeing himself from being sub-jected, to being a subject. Consequently it led him back to society teaching the eightfold path, it made him turn the wheel of Dharma. The Sangha came in to existence. Others could then participate in his wisdom of overcoming crisis, discrimination and separation. Many generations later Eihei Dôgen Zenji, the founder of the School of Sôtô Zen in Japan would express, based on Shakyamuni Buddha's experience and teaching, that there is no need to flee birth and escape death and to search for Nirvana, because birth and death themselves are nothing else then Nirvana. From this it becomes clear that there is no need to escape any kind of crisis. The crisis is nothing else than nirvana. The crisis we speak of came into existence by the human-mind, human-perception and human-consciousness. There is only one bowl of soup and this is our world. Out of it we all must nourish ourselves. There is no choice on the menu. We must spoon up this agelessly, collectively brewed soup of Karma even if we find it revolting. We have to be clear that all we spit out will return to the soup and make it even more difficult to swallow for each and everyone of us. For this we need to practice Zazen.

Rev. Shuei Diethelm
Abbot of Zenposan Bendoji, Switzerland

















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