In the West, there are many different schools of Buddhism. Where do we find common ground? I would like to say that we are all students of one teacher—the Buddha. One very kind, wise teacher. That is most important. As followers or students of this great teacher, we should take his own life as a model. His sacrifice—leaving his palace and remaining in the forest for six years. He worked hard in order to become enlightened. When the Buddha started teaching, he considered his audience’s mentality, their mental disposition, and then, accordingly, gave teachings.
Sometimes, we put less emphasis on the Buddha’s way of life. We prefer a more luxurious life-style. Sometimes, when we explain or teach Buddha-dharma, there’s a slight attitude of imposing one’s own view.
All the traditions in Buddhism have their own unique aspects. But in essence, we are all students of the same teacher.
People everywhere in the world are very inspired by your refusal to give in to anger or despair or revenge about the situation in your country. In this country, we can display more anger about a car that pulls out in front of us on the highway than you do about China. We see that for you this has something to do with deep religious training. Can you get so far away from the kind of anger we experience every day without religious training? In my own case, if the car is delayed, I am also irritated. But for more serious things, perhaps I have more patience and calm. Of course, the training of mind—or religious belief, and certainly in my case, as a Buddhist—is one method. Training involves not just one single method but many methods. It’s like building a huge airplane. It takes so many pieces that all have to fit together to make it work. In the same way the transformation of our minds—or setting the right kind of mental attitude—takes time.
So certainly in my daily life, in my mental attitude toward myself, toward other fellow human beings, toward problems, toward enemies—there are perhaps some differences because of the long process of training in various methods.
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