Whether we like it or not, we have all been born on this earth as part of one great human family. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, belonging to one nation or another, to one religion or another, adhering to this ideology or that, ultimately each of us is just a human being like everyone else: we all desire happiness and do not want suffering. Furthermore, each of us has an equal right to pursue these goals.
Let us cultivate love and compassion, both of which give life true meaning. This is the religion I preach. It is simple. Its temple is the heart. Its teaching is love and compassion. Its moral values are loving and respecting others, whoever they may be. Whether one is a lay person or a monastic, we have no other option if we wish to survive in this world.
We have bigger houses but smaller families. More conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees, but less sense. More knowledge, but less judgment. More experts, but more problems. More medicines, but less healthiness. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor. We build more computers to hold more information to produce more copies than ever but have less communication. We have become long on quantity, but short on quality. These are times of fast foods but slow digestion; Tall man but short character; Steep profits but shallow relationships. It’s a time when there is much in the window, but nothing in the room.
The goal is to cultivate in our hearts the concern a dedicated mother feels for her child, and then focus it on more and more people and living beings. This is a heartfelt, powerful love. Such feelings give us a true understanding of human rights, that is not grounded just in legal terms, but rooted deeply in the heart.
Everyone can understand from natural experience and common sense that affection is crucial from the day of birth; it is the basis of life. The very survival of our body requires the affection of others, to whom we also respond with affection. Though mixed with attachment, this affection is not based on physical or sexual attraction, so it can be extended to all living beings without bias.