FIGHTING FOR EXISTENCE

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FIGHTING FOR EXISTENCE

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Most religions in the world endorse a fundamental belief in “being a good person and
living a virtuous life.” However, upon deeper examination, Buddhism taught us faith
based on wisdom and the governing law of karma.

When taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddhism – the Buddha, the Sangka and
the Drahma – Buddhists must conduct their lives according to Five Precepts, with the first
two underscore as:

The vow to not intentionally kill or harm any sentient being.
The vow to not covet or steal another person’s property.
These basic principles speak volumes of our humanity while conveying a deep
respect for life and property in our ecosystem.

Therefore, today we are going to discuss some crucial ethical issues concerning the
topic of “Fighting for Existence,” based on the above principles. The struggle for existence
unveiled an astoundingly distasteful picture of life: “In order to live, we must kill and
consume other living organism in our environment.”

Introspectively, we know that life is fueled by the energy of other lives. Simply put,
in order to live, we have to consume lives of others, such as those of fish, poultry and
cattle. Inevitably, we are forced into the position of being exterminators of the sea and
land habitats of fish, chickens, cows, etc.

This is true even in the case of vegetarians, who may say that “I don’t eat meat, I only
eat vegetables.” Vegetables also have life – the botanical life of plants. All of this leads to
the same dilemma of sacrificing other living organisms in order to sustain our own lives.

This is indeed a cruel law of nature! Our presence on Earth inevitably means that we
are being swept away by a brutal reality – the annihilation of other lives in order to preserve
our own.

Supposedly, prior to being born into this world, we were asked the question: “In
order to be born and survive in this world, you must kill other living beings. Will you
consent to this?” We would probably give a definitive “No!” for an answer. We do not
want to be born into this world where we have to kill in order to survive.

Regrettably, this momentous question was never posed to us. We mistakenly went
for a joy ride and took in the scenic beauty on Earth. It was only after birth that we
recognized the ill-fated dilemma into which we had gotten ourselves.

During our lifespan, have we ever calculated the countless number of lives that were
sacrificed on our behalf? The mountains of shrimp, beheaded fish, or slashed-throat
chickens which we consumed?

Inevitably, the joy ride that we took turned into a bloodshed battle of flesh. As we
faced the horrific truth, our conscience quivered at the despicable picture of unmerciful
killing of other sentient beings for our sole benefit.

True indeed! All species in the animal kingdom are subjected to the same principle of
“Survival of the Fittest” – big fish eat small fish – as part of life’s rudimentary operation.

An innocent bird frolicking on drew-dripping branches chirping an early morning
carol depicts a picture of a peaceful and enchanting life. Such freedom may be coveted by
all. In actuality, the bird is not as carefree and lighthearted as we may think. It is constantly
hunting for its next meal in the form of a burrowing worm hidden under a blanket of
leaves bidding on ephemeral peace. These tireless peckers with their devious eyes
skillfully strip the leaves, searching for their helpless victims in order to snatch and
swallow alive the defenseless creatures.

Such is the bitter sorrow nature of life, a masquerade filled with brilliant sun,
evergreen trees and lustrous rice patties; charmed by the chorus of dogs barking and
roosters crowing. Ironically, a scene of beauty which stirs our heart conceals the most
vicious battles of killing and destruction among all species.

The shocking truth is that “If life is inherently based on killing, then what choices do
we have?”

Unconscionably, human beings have inflicted the most damage to the Earth’s
ecosystem. Despite our deceivingly delicate appearance – fragile strength compared to
tigers, miniature in size compared to elephants – human beings undoubtedly serve as the
masterminds behind all destructive forces on Earth.

There is no other species on Earth that can be held accountable for more blatant
thievery from nature than the Homo sapiens. For example, some animals eat only the
leaves or fruits of certain trees, extracting the nectar or pollen and leaving the trees intact.
Conversely, human beings will not only strip all fruits and flowers from Mother Nature,
but they will go on to chop down branches and trunks for their furniture and finally uproot
the remaining trees for their firewood.

Our exploitation of trees does not end in food sources, herbal medicines, combustible
materials, or fertilization, but extends to using wood extensively in decoration. We derive
pleasure from creating columns, cellars, tables, chairs, beds, rafters, houses, etc. out of
wood. We shape wood into exotic sculptures used in landscaping; luxurious armchairs for
living-rooms; lifelike statues in buildings and giant planters along sidewalks and things of
the like.

This seemingly innocent act of robbing from nature, however, is sounding off an
alarming bell – one that may lead to the extinction of our species.

Throughout history, archeologists have excavated giant dinosaur bones and fossils.
There were some so huge in size that its tail could be in one corner of a building and its
head in the other. Some of these fossils were aerospace creatures; some were land
inhabitants; some were sea dwellers. The herbivores could swallow a few trees for each
meal, and the carnivores could consume a few tons of meat. Eventually, their existence

became a liability to Mother Nature. With immeasurable destruction, the dinosaurs were
abolished from life’s equation in a mysterious “Heavenly intervention”.

Scientists concluded that an asteroid had hit the Earth, destroying all giant
inhabitants, shrouding the atmosphere with dust clouds and immersing the Earth in bitter,
cold ice. This was the first world ending! If the law of karma is not the author, then who is?

Karmic force is evidenced in the vicious cycle of kill or be killed. The dinosaurs
undoubtedly became extinct due to their massive destruction of the forests and their co-
inhabitants.

Today, human behavior indisputably bears remarkable resemblance to that of the
dinosaurs, in our greedy acts of emptying the fish from the sea, evicting animals that live in
the jungles and destroying their habitats, wiping out the birds from the sky, and stripping
the trees from forests. Unknowingly, we are following the dinosaur’s fatal footsteps in
triggering a possible second “Heavenly intervention” based on our cocktail soup of
destruction.

Speculations of the world ending are circulating like wildfire on the Internet. Of
particular interest is the prediction from the Maya, an advanced ancient civilization, who
were known for their highly developed art, architecture, mathematical and astronomical
systems. Distinctive was their development of the primeval calendar. Through mysterious
calculation of solar and lunar evolution, they were able to measure the days and nights
from antiquity to modern time. However, inexplicably, their calendar ended in 2012.
According to the Maya, this marked a second world ending.

The heads of anthropologists and scientists alike are spinning with the inability to
explain the abrupt ending of this timetable. Panic spreads by the gloomy picture of
humanity on the verge of a strike – what if indeed a second world ending is near?

Well, if a doctor knows that a patient is dying, the doctor may advise that patient to
go home and enjoy all the savory pleasures possible. Such is a natural human reaction
toward a shortened life verdict! Similar to the death row scenario: before being executed,
the inmate is provided a lavish last meal. Despite two opposing states of mind competing
on the same stage of consciousness – one is from the pleasure of eating and the other is
from the menacing ticking clock of death – the sensory pleasures often wither under the
weight of ominous providence.

Today, with our lucid minds and intact mental faculties, neither as a terminally ill
patient nor as a death row inmate, what should we do if the end of the world is near?
Everyone must find his or her own answer in this regard.

In fighting for existence, the most vicious animals and acts of killing accumulate the
largest account of negative karma. There was a recent showing of Animal Kingdom on
The Discovery Channel, where a pack of lions was resting peacefully in the forest.
Suddenly, a herd of zebras went galloping by and the lions immediately dashed after them

– seizing and capturing an ill-fated victim to be killed and eaten. While the lions were
enjoying the zebra’s blood bath and celebrating their victorious feast, from afar a group of
surviving zebras quietly swallowed streams of rolling tears for their unfortunate
companion. Yet, this heart-wrenching scenario cannot be altered since the origin of time
due to Nature’s order of food chain. Neither a life of a zebra nor a buffalo can be preserved
by stopping a tiger or a lion from their genetic programming of hunting and killing.

The eternal cycle of prey and predators, therefore, is a severe karmic fate
enshrouding Earth inhabitants in an epidemic offense that is nonchalantly accepted by all;
especially with humans on the top of the food chain.

Today, due to our heightened sense of awareness toward karmic force and a growing
feeling of moral responsibility, we must collectively reject this heartless way of life which
leads to our ominous fate. Nature is often brutal in its struggle to survive. The perpetual
cycle of kill or be killed creates insurmountable negative karma, which will accelerate the
second world ending. We must search for greater self-cultivation and a noble existence;
one that does not depend on the cost of other lives.

We must live in a way that builds lives versus destroying lives. We must cease all
negative deeds, beautify the Earth and turn it into a Pure Land.

In our poignant journey for self-quest we learn that there are severe repercussions for
taking other sentient beings’ lives. With each passing day and each animal that we
consume, we accumulate a larger account of negative karma. Eventually, the astronomical
killing will prevent us from being born into higher realms. We will inevitably be trapped to
be born into a creature that is lower on the food chain – one that is subjected to be eaten by
other predators.

The carnivore pleasure perpetuates the cycle of eat and be eaten. To avoid being
slaughtered as a chicken, duck, fish or pig in our next lives, we must simply stop being
their predators in this life. There is no exemption from this law of karma.

Our aim is to propel forward – to be reborn again as a human being or even higher:
on a celestial realm among the Saints. In order to achieve that, we must be determined to
change the direction of our lives by actively building our positive karma account and
contributing to the ecological system. We must make a conscientious effort in our daily
lives to contribute to the lives of those around us and to the Earth as a whole system. This
is an imperative law of survival!

With the luminous wisdom and the guiding torch from the Buddha and the Sangha,
we must refuse to live our lives as one long cemetery of others. Buddhists must make a
commitment to stop the slaughtering of other creatures to use their flesh and blood as
transfusion for our own lives.

Part of the self-cultivation principle is to commit to three worldly goals:

1. To bring peace and happiness to our fellow human beings.

2. To bring peace and happiness to all other Earthly creatures.

3. To protect and preserve the ecosystem.

Those are the three basic building blocks of the pathway to enlightenment.

People who live their lives in reckless abandonment and who have no volitions other
than self-indulgence and worldly pleasures, day after day their good karma account will
become depleted. They will inevitably be reborn in the realm of Hell or Hungry Ghost.

Similarly, those who live their lives based on the pleasure principle and revel in
sensory pleasures while pledging ignorance toward the suffering of others – they will
undoubtedly be reborn into the animal realm.

On the other hand, people who are meat eaters but make conscientious daily efforts
to benefit their fellow human beings can greatly diminish the karmic costs of eating meat.
Their good deeds and positive contribution to society can lessen the impact of consuming
other lives.

True indeed, it is hard for many people to change their eating habits and to become
pure vegetarians. If they recognize the fact that their lives are conditional on the lives of
others and are actively trying to compensate by benefitting their community and society at
large, their negative karma resulting from killing can be reduced.

The worst case scenario belongs to those who are both carnivorous and live a
hedonistic lifestyle. They accumulate bad deeds by pledging ignorance, wasting resources
and pounding on self-indulgence. Undoubtedly, they will be reborn into the animal realm
as fish, chickens or hogs in order to be slaughtered by others to pay their karmic debts.
Thus, the combination of eating meat, living a pleasurable life, being social loafers and
dismissing the needs of others will warrant a self-crucifying sentence in the rebirthing
cycle.

Inevitably, we must stop being blindsided by the way others lead their lives or we
will volunteer to have our throat slashed by others in subsequent births. In pursuing our
endless efforts to become a noble and virtuous person – one who has prestige and is highly
trusted by others – we must commit ourselves to hard work and eternal contributions to
society.

Discerningly, when we leave this life, we can become incarnated human beings or
we can enter a higher spiritual world. This will guarantee that we will not reincarnate as an
animal or go to the Hungry Ghosts realm.

Good karma begins with a more selective daily food menu; one which minimizes
killing and lessens adverse karmic pileups. The practice of self-restraint from eating animal
products and the renouncing of worldly pleasures serves as a way to generate positive
karma and to contribute to the ecosystem. There are three safe food sources that do not
lead to negative repercussions.

One is rice. Rice grows naturally to produce its grains before wilting back to the
Earth. There is no existential dilemma involving growing and eating rice. On the contrary,
by growing lustrous rice paddies, farmers earn countless good fortunes for providing
nutritious food to others and for equalizing and fertilizing the Earth’s system.

Second are fruits. Trees naturally bear flowers, then fruits. There is no wound
inflicted on the ecosystem by taking fruits from trees. Fruit gardens naturally provide a
green roof and soothing hand from Nature, which cools and regulates the Earth climate.
Uneaten fruits will eventually fall to the ground when ripened and fertilize the soil.
Therefore, a gardener collects good karma by contributing to healthy food supplies and
improving the ecosystem.

Third is milk.

Dairy cows are kept apart. When we use their milk, we neither kill the cows nor vie
with calves for milk. So, the fact that we use milk doesn’t harm any being’s life.

Fourth are eggs. Hens begin to lay eggs from the age of six to seven months.
Unfertilized eggs can serve as a natural channel of food supply from Mother Earth to us,
similar to fruits on the trees.

On the other hand, contrary to conventional belief, honey is not part of the natural
food chain reserved for us. Honey serves as a national heritage to bees – it is life
preserving energy. The field bees work painstakingly to bring back droplets of nectar,
which serve as their energy storehouse for the chilly winter. The whole bee colony works
diligently to make honey – using their tiny wings as fans to cool and thicken the nectar –
creating but a few pints of honey. The market price for honey is neither commensurate to
the intense labor of the bees, nor the cost of their lives resulting when people hijack their
beehives, not to mention the bees’ role in pollination. Smoking up a whole beehive as a
menacing act of eviction, just to take one or two liters of honey, the financial resource that
humans gain is inestimable to the loss of the bees’ natural resources and the collective crop
benefits on Earth. Consequentially, the karmic price for harvesting honey is high.

An example of this karmic chain of action/reaction would be a person that has been
living a righteous life with mindful daily conducts; he would not steal even the smallest
egg. Yet he cries in agony when his entire household was suddenly cleaned out by
intruders. Karmic justice is under cross-examination in this scenario. In essence, this
person may have, in this life or a past life, hijacked a beehive to harvest honey.
Consequentially, the law of nature disrobed all of his possessions in this lifetime as a
karmic act of repayment.

What about people who are vegetarians? Is eating vegetables seen as a life –
destroying act, due to the interruption of the natural flow of life? If vegetarians continue to
re-channel the energy derived from eating greens into building the community at large
then eating greens is seen as only a small infraction in life.

In the cases of fish stranded on land, an animal’s accidental death, or animals that
have died in the aftermath of fighting, their meat may be consumed without repercussion
due to their unintentional deaths and our not wanting to waste any natural resources.

Life equation entails the inescapable daily fight for existence. Unfortunately, fighting
for existence does not just happen over our daily caloric intake; there have been war
outbreaks everywhere on Earth since antiquity. Aggressive outbursts, terminal disputes
and unconquerable colonization, using everything from missiles to nuclear weapons – all
of which is based on humans’ greed to seize land, aerospace, natural resources, etc., in a
perpetual and futile effort of fighting for existence.

An early historic example of human greed is Mongolia, a country located north of
China. Although Mongolians were skilled in martial arts and strong in physique, they were
isolated in the lonely desert. Coveting the endlessly lustrous rice paddies, rampant valleys
of horses and royal lifestyle of the Chinese, the Mongolians decided to invade China.
Thus, a bloodshed calamity, devastating loss of life, inexorable grief and human
lamentation were written into history!

In modern days, the same nature of fighting for existence is illustrated in business, as
well as in properties and land warfare, by people forming manipulative schemes to
sabotage each other. These actions not only violate the civil rights of others, but they also
serve as an infraction on the Buddhists’ precepts of not stealing and not being greedy.

Another form of mental defilement that threatens our national morale stems from the
burgeoning casinos along the country’s border. Some countries in the world legalize
gambling due to the high rolling stake of income. However, gambling is the cause of one
of the most devastating social demoralizations of our time. Wherever there is gambling,
there are lost minds and injured souls of young men and women. These people cash in all
of their values in life. They will not cease to sell anything they can get their hands on,
including their own conscience. The casino has a way of deceptively luring people into the
trap of winning money by laying out the initial bait of victory, which may be followed by
people making subsequent trips until they have been cleaned out of their money.

Buddhists have the ethical responsibility to protect and preserve our national morale
in the fight against the social transgression of gambling. Thus it is important to know: how
does gambling addiction occur?

In gambling, people hope to obtain great wealth without the conventional effort of
laboring for their fruits. The casinos are not known for fair practices. In the initial winning
stage, when the Lady of Luck is smiling at them, the elated and invincible state of mind
will erase all grooves of consciousness. The unnerving adrenaline of competitiveness and
insidious greed gradually cooks up the sinister pressure to keep winning. When the cycle
of losing begins, blind hope continues to lead them to a downward spiral of loss while at
the same time plunging them deeper into the muddy water of illicit activities. Greed and

addiction are ravenously eating up their conscience during their endless schemes to find
money for gambling, and they utterly discount their loved ones’ pain and suffering.

Illicit money obtained from gambling, based on chances or based on cheating, is no
different than money obtained by stealing. No one has struck gold in gambling. Our
ancestors taught us that, “Gambling is the uncle of poverty.” Gambling addicts are not
only gambling with their lifetime possessions, reputation, and relationships but also their
good karma in their inevitable act of stealing from others.

Aside from social diseases like gambling, another catastrophic deed that contributed
to our collective negative karma is the deforestation on Earth. The forests serve as the
lungs of the Earth. In the Stone Ages, we relied on wood only to build fires and cook food.
Now, in the modern age of gas and electric stoves, lumber is hardly required for survival
purposes.

Instead, lumber is now used to build extravagant estates with elegant antique
furniture and exquisite statues derived from centuries-old trees. Sometimes, the feet of
these gigantic and majestic trees were made into seating arrangements for stylish gardens.

People do not seem to realize that when they use wood to unnecessarily and
extensively decorate for their own sense of self-aggrandizement, they are gambling with
life on Earth and placing the ecosystem in need of resuscitation. Undoubtedly, life on Earth
has been viciously shortened through these massive robberies.

The need for wood and ongoing deforestation indeed poses an unnerving dilemma
when human greed continues to intrude on the Earth’s atmosphere and natural cycle of
breathing.

Buddhists must demonstrate our collective effort to stop further deforestation and
unnecessary consumption of wood. We must protect the lungs and longevity of Earth.

Another example of robbing lives stems from employers forcing heavy labor on their
employees. These employers – driven by greedy desires – force underpaid labor on their
helpless employees, causing undue lamentation and resentment in society.

People who hold advantageous positions in life must remember to treat their
subordinates with loving kindness, since this will contribute to their positive karma. Using
compassion and understanding, employers must treat their employees with respect and
kindness, as well as distributing payment commensurate to the work. It is then that
employees can live comfortably without any disgruntled side effects at work.

When applying Buddhist principles to social practice, there will be no deprivation for
either party when employers foster the principles of equality and justice to employees.
Essentially, employers can reduce the daily stress and promote their employees’ sense of
freedom in life.

True Buddhist employers will not exploit their employees who are powerless in their
hands either through heavy-handed management and/or by robbing their fruits of labor.
Equal pay for equal work is one example of Buddhist equality; another is providing loving
kindness toward people in subordinate positions, those whose lives are dependent on us.

Unequivocally, the most striking feature in Buddhism is Love and Compassion.
Everybody wants to love and be loved by someone. If this love is upheld as a sacred duty
in relationships between parents and children, teachers and students, employers and
employees, law enforcers and citizens, and heads of State and people, the world will
become a peaceful place and humanity a joyful union.

Ordinary people, whether in leadership positions or not, must learn to love all
sentient beings in their environment – including a tree branch or the grass they encounter
on the road. This simple lesson in life is the pathway to Sainthood.

Due to our devotion to loving others, it is guaranteed that when we leave this world,
we will be reborn into a higher realm on the Buddha Land. Simply stated, if we live our
lives in loving kindness, we are guaranteed to be reborn into an afterlife of loving kindness.
If we live our lives full of hate and envy, we are guaranteed to be reborn into a hateful and
warlike afterworld.

Consequentially, the logical principle is that we must learn to unconditionally love all
sentient beings – familiars and strangers, all the way down to vegetative lives.

Those who hold worldly responsibilities toward other beings such as parents to
children, teachers to students and government officers to citizens must honor and perform
their duties in a sacred way. By practicing the art of unconditional love toward one another
daily, their good karma multiplies. Upon leaving this world, these government officers,
employers, teachers and parents can be reborn into a blissful realm that is full of serenity
and love.

Just by cultivating and nourishing a loving mind, we are fertilizing good deeds in all
beings in a collective goal of spreading love in our cosmic world. The fruits of compassion
can be passed on indefinitely to build an infinitely loving world, where all the hatred and
evil bones are removed for the culmination of world peace. Right here in this life, a person
who has such collective devotion to world peace can be guaranteed to exist as a social host
of peace and love, without waiting for the afterlife.

In further exploration of life, sadly enough, our society also serves as host to many
people who are ensnared within the despicable cycle of addiction. The traps of addiction
cycles in modern society are seemingly endless: nicotine, gambling, sex, online gaming,
shopping, etc.

The addiction ratio increases astronomically due to a plethora of temptations that
promise to deliver worldly pleasures. The ratio of addictive males tends to outweigh
addictive females. Regardless of gender, the addicted person shares a common

denomination of egocentrism. Self-indulgence becomes the daily mantra, which overrides
all of their relationships, social obligations and working commitments. The addicted
person then becomes a burden and a liability to society. Their sole focus is on survival and
their self-gratification instincts. They can ultimately resort to robbing or killing for
individual gain in their ruthlessfighting for existence , unfettered by their loved ones’ pain
or the larger society’s needs.

Addiction requires a neurophysiologic treatment approach. The addicted person must
have the willful intention to change and to adopt a pro-social role. Self-awareness, coupled
with the determination to overcome sensory gratification, is the only hope to compensate
for past mistakes. Addiction blindsides the mind. The process of sobriety often involves
multiple cycles of relapse, with a very narrow escape path to freedom and cleanliness.

In essence, we have touched on a few topics relating to fighting for existence.
Killing for the purpose of self-preservation is engrained in our genetic programming. The
act of killing for self-preservation, of which all of us are guilty to a certain degree,
undoubtedly creates our collective negative karmic fate.

However, with deep-rooted understanding of karma and a righteous way of life, we
must, united, choose to live under the principle of utilitarianism, which bases all of our
actions to benefit the greatest good. Every single meal that we consume and every action
that we take in life must be examined to determine whether it brings happiness and peace
in totality.

Instead of taking lives and destroying the Earth’s ecosystem, we can replant trees in
the forest, return fish to the sea, release birds to the sky, show a vested interest in family
life and moreover, the well being of people in our cosmic world. In a concerted effort to
benefit the greatest number of people, we can lessen the karmic debts that we owe from
other sentient beings who sacrificed their lives so that we may live.

Even knowing that life’s equation is solely based on self- preservation, we must
never cease asking ourselves existential questions: “Why are we here on Earth? What
should we do to not waste our lives?”

If fighting for existence brings a countless number of karmic debts, we must
reprioritize our lives and head toward the right pathway to lessen karmic debts and not
blindly go with the universal flow.

Today, sitting under the equanimity light of the Buddha, we must mindfully choose
the right pathway in life. We must make a daily vow: “To not harm lives and to benefit all
other sentient beings.”

Not only that, we must recognize that the final goal in life is to achieve
enlightenment. No matter how we want to save and preserve lives, nothing escapes the
impermanent nature of life. Everything in this world including ourselves, our loved ones,
our beloved pets, and our beneficiaries… all without exception will dissolve in perpetuity.

We can only take comfort in knowing that we put forward the best effort to love all people
in our lives.

The final goal in life is ultimately still self-deliverance and obtaining the Infinitely
Enlightened Mind.

How do we even begin to fathom the Infinitely Enlightened Mind? The only thing
that we know is that this self-enlightenment method delivered a prince to Buddhahood.
Along with all of His disciples, who had reached Sainthood, they left the three realms of
suffering (The Immaterial World, The Fine Material World and the Sensual World) and
escaped the turning wheel of reincarnation to Nirvana.

Unmistakably, this is a Buddhist’s final destination. We must travel with a clear
sense of direction, never floundering in life or being ignorant of our destiny. Consider a
simple illustration: a medical student learns to take vital signs; check the heartbeat, review
the test results and then write a prescription for the patient. Clearly, being a doctor means
having the ability to diagnose and treat patients. When we have such clear vision as the
medical student who wants to become a doctor, we can magnetically pursue our lifetime
goal.

After having a definitive headlight turn on in life, we can make an unswerving plan
to follow it.

Self-enlightenment is a vague and unfathomable concept to laymen. Therefore, it is
hard for many people to pursue it. The majority of Buddhists cannot grasp this concept.
Due to ego obstruction and limited self-knowledge, most people quit long before their
journey begins.

This is indeed an arduous and grueling lifetime goal when we do not have a deep-
rooted understanding of the mind-awakening process and the method to self-deliverance.
How do we begin to know the spectrum involved in spiritual development and reach the
highest evolution of consciousness?

There are two different types of people in the process of reaching self-
enlightenment. The first type has neither a grass-root spiritual understanding nor a vested
interest in pursuing its development. Due to a lack of mental discipline, their distorted and
beguiled outlook on life is centered on worldly pleasures and self-indulgence. Their
underdeveloped spiritual insight and ego obstruction serve as deterrents in their pathway to
enlightenment.

The second type is the person who has planted deep-rooted seeds of self-awakening
in multiple lives. Regardless of the wind of time and topographical changes on Earth, they
continue to follow the Buddha and His Disciples’ teaching. They persevere and keep their
faith strong. Even not fully understanding how the process works, the minute they devote
wholeheartedly to the final goal of self-enlightenment, they have already planted a
countless number of good deeds on the way there.

If the question is ever presented to us about enlightenment, we can confidently say:
“We were born on this Earth in order to achieve self-deliverance.”

This is indeed a definitive answer.

If a second question is posed to us: “What is self-deliverance?” We can answer: “We
do not know yet!” and accept the mockery of “Why would you want to travel in uncharted
waters? Why would you choose unknown territory as your life’s goal?”

We can let people know that, “In spite of not fully grasping the process of self-
enlightenment, we devote our lives to pursue it in lieu of worldly opinion.” People may ask
why we would want to do that. The answer lies in our belief in the infinite Wisdom and
Compassion of the Buddha. He was a human being, born into wealth and nobility. Over a
countless number of lives, with immeasurable effort in self-deliverance, He became the
Ultimate Being. The Buddha left behind a profound and legendary field of Knowledge
and Truth, which cracked the dawn on humanity and turned on the lighthouse of Wisdom
for the carnal world. Many people who followed His footsteps also attained extraordinary
Sainthood. Therefore, even though we may not fully comprehend the whole concept of
self-deliverance, we can see that there is a human trail to attain Sainthood.

This is a spiritual roadmap that enables us to overcome our ephemeral and worldly
self to achieve the highest seat of evolution with an Infinitely Immaculate Mind. This is an
indescribable mental disciplinary process, yet worthy for endless pursuit. We wish
individuals would join in, and understand this ultimate self-responsibility in transforming
all suffering and unveiling the guiding light in their lives.

Buddhists must mobilize people to believe in and humble themselves to the Buddha,
and show them the right pathway in their lives – just like the one that we have chosen in
our own lives.

This self-awakening pathway encompasses multiple thorny roads in a progressive
evolution of the mind.

The first thing that we have to do in this self-realization process is recognize that we
must live a fruitful life – one that benefits all others in our daily interactions. We will be
able to develop large accounts of good karma stretching over our lifespan and flowing in
our karma reservoir.

When we have accumulated a large account of good deeds, we wish for them not to
turn into Earthly possessions, but to turn into the energy or optimistic force that transcends
our mind to a profound state of self-enlightenment.

People who do not understand this formula like to reap the fruits of wealth or self-
indulgence such as large houses, cars, fame and personal profit when they have
accumulated good karma in life. True Buddhists do not seek worldly possessions. We
prefer to convert all of our accumulated good deeds into a colossally positive energy in
meditation practice.

Indeed, the second thing that we have to do in this self-realization process is
diligently practice meditation according to what the Buddha prescribed. As we sit in a
lotus position, with straight posture and both hands placed on our folded and open feet, we
close our eyes and purify our minds and we become aware of our breathing – leading our
minds to perfect One-Pointedness.

To achieve One-Pointedness is not an easy task. However, due to our accumulated
good deeds which fortify our positive energy field, we are better equipped to achieve this
tranquil and perfect state of mind.

In sum, the way to attain self-enlightenment is not easy. However, by devoting our
lives to benefit others and doing good deeds, we can penetrate deep levels of self-
ignorance and reach our highest spiritual development. This is our lifetime destiny.

Today, in a social analysis of life’s endless struggles, we recognize that nature is
often brutal in its struggle to survive. We must vow to live a simple, non-violent life,
which is solely devoted to being good and doing good deeds for others. We must attribute
all of our good fortune and good energy to consolidate our inner self-development

and our goal of enlightenment.

For the upcoming Fourth Lunar Moon, we will dedicate ourselves to the
Commemoration of the Birth of the Buddha. Together, we will meet at the temples to pay
tribute and to deeply reflect on our indebtedness to His deliverance of ultimate
Compassion, Wisdom and Knowledge to the world.

We discuss the Buddha Dhrama and make the following commitments:

 To live a profitable life, to benefit the greatest number of people despite the
hardship of survival.
 To commit to the well-being of the larger community, our country, and the
collective world.
 To attribute all of our good deeds and life positive forces to mindful self-
deliverance.
Only through meditation and daily accumulation of good deeds can we attain the
highest goal in enlightenment.

Namo Shakya Muni Buddha.