Individual or Collective?

'If you want to produce a society that is peaceful, happy, and compassionate, you have to visualise the universal community. You learn to go as a river. If you can do that, you will change the world.

There's a tendency to resist the idea of a community as an organism, because we still want to hold on to our person, our self. We're not yet ready to live the life of a cell in the body of the community. This takes quite a turn, quite a transformation. In my own life, the more I reflected and looked deeply into the Buddha's wisdom, and the way he organised his community, the more clearly I saw the path of practice. 

The moment I got that insight, I received new eyes. I looked at my friends and students in a very different way. I saw that I am them, and they are me. And I saw that everything I do, think, and say is for nourishing and transmitting insight to them. In the future, whether I am there or not, it is no longer a problem because I have penetrated the insight of no-self. There is no longer any discrimination between myself and others, no longer any resistance. You accept others as you accept yourself. And, in that kind of relationship, you can have a lot of happiness. 

We want to have a young community that is able to  transform the world and to protect Mother Earth; able to bring the practice into schools, corporations, and even the army. It is possible for us to bring mindfulness everywhere, not as a religion but as a practice that can bring relief to everyone in society.'

(from 'Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet' - Thich Nhat Hanh - p 293)

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