2001-09-22 / Letters

Evil Can Bring Good

Evil Can Bring Good

Daisaku Ikeda, in his book "For the Sake of Peace: Seven Paths to Global Harmony, A Buddhist Perspective" writes: "The external manifestations of good and evil are relative and transmutable. They only appear absolute and immutable when the human heart is in thrall to the spell of language and abstract concepts. To the extent that we can free ourselves from this spell, we can begin to see that good contains within it evil, and evil contains within it good.

Because of this, even that which is perceived as evil can be transformed into good through our reaction and response." (p. 115).

Last night a group of people from the community gathered on the boardwalk at 116th Street for a candle lighting vigil. On the stage hosted by the American flag, with a beautiful sunset over the ocean as a back-drop, songs were sang, words were read, feelings and pain was shared. People offered prayers and thanks for many things they felt blessed for. I stood there, thinking about how amazing human beings are. In Buddhism, the Lotus Flower has great significance. It symbolizes the beautiful lotus blooms in a muddy swamp as universal cosmic force existing originally and eternally within each human being, the state of perfect freedom emerging from the everyday problems.

Last night, on the boardwalk I was thankful to be able to witness how humanity rose above this terrible tragedy. Each person there, no matter how he or she was affected by this crime, bloomed and emerged. I offer my deepest sympathy to the families of those whose precious lives were lost and I sincerely pray that the pain and rage we feel at this crucial moment won’t cloud our behavior as human beings. Peace starts with each of us. We must not let evil threaten our freedom but more than ever we must break the cycle of violence driven by sole desire for vengeance. Good and evil are only found in human hearts. Our community is very diverse, and I sincerely hope we can use our energies to comfort those in suffering and that we can continue the waves of friendship, respect and tolerance that this country represents.


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