You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. -Leviticus 19:18
Dear members and friends,
Being self-conscious is such a great blessing as a human being. With this we are capable of acknowledging what we are and how we are different from others. Yet, at the same time, self-consciousness is the very reason why humans become selfish. In a way, it’s as simple as reasoning that you and I are different and thus, I would rather have it for me than for you. However, if we all use such logic, the community that we create is guaranteed to fall into confusion and chaos.
This is one of my favorites from Dao Deh Ching: “Heaven and earth are everlasting because they do not exist for themselves … Because the sage is unselfish, he ends up achieving what is in his own best interest.” The heart of this teaching is to understand and accept the truth that I do not exist for myself, but for others. However, in living for others, I might be able achieve what is in my own best interest, which is inner peace and lasting contentment. This is reflected in Leviticus 19, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” Having a negative feeling against any other human would cause harm only within one’s own heart, while loving others as oneself would cause internal peace and blissfulness as well as creating positive influence around oneself.
Much of what happens to us in life is not by our own choice. But how we react to what happens is indeed within the power of our choice. Which way of life is better: having a burning negative feeling in your own heart, or experiencing internal peace and blissfulness?
Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee