On the Fourth of July right now, I wished to see how the worth of the Declaration of Independence would merge with the Path of Awakening. I’ve two copies of the Declaration of Independence that I purchased in Philadelphia from the printing press of Benjamin Franklin, the Franklin Court docket Printing Workplace. As a Frenchman, I used to be serious about the philosophers of the Enlightenment and the dialogue that Thomas Jefferson might have had along with his pal Lafayette about the way forward for the nation. I like the way in which Thomas Jefferson stated, “We maintain these truths to be sacred and simple.” And after they had been proofreading after that, Benjamin Franklin stated, “self evident.”
What are they? You all know them, however first, that every one sentient beings are equal. In a way, they’re all endowed with buddhanature. There isn’t any doable discrimination that may be made on that foundation, whether or not you’re a man or girl, this shade or that shade, that persuasion, or no matter. We’re all endowed with buddhanature. That’s the Buddhist means of naming it, and there are 10,000 methods of naming it, however the thought is that we’re all equal, and for that we have to all be revered and to respect others.
The second level is that from this self-evident fact comes some realities, that are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We’re all endowed with the freedoms and the belongings that enable us to comply with the pursuit of happiness in each a fabric means and in a religious means. The trail to awakening is that this pursuit of happiness. However as Benjamin Franklin stated within the Declaration of Independence, sure, however whether or not or not you’re going to succeed in it is determined by you, your individual zeal, and your individual power.
All of us have buddhanature, however we nonetheless have a path to comply with and efforts to provide. Why? Why can’t we benefit from the kind of pure reward that now we have? It’s as a result of there are numerous veils.
One massive veil comes from the king: the king of ego or ignorance.
Everyone has to work for the king, and if you happen to get a bit of reward as you’re employed for the king, you would possibly suppose that that is OK. However if you happen to suppose a bit of bit, you notice that the funding and the return on funding should not proportionate. You’re employed lots and also you get crumbs which might be of an impermanent nature for every little thing. There’s a fixed want to provide extra to have much less.
All of your efforts go to England, after which they arrive again so that you can purchase with heavy taxes. If you’re from Boston, it’s a must to take these packing containers of tea—the kleshas—and toss them out within the harbor. Then it’s a must to begin a course of that requires braveness, as a result of the king is just not going to submit. This requires the Paul Revere of mindfulness. They’re coming! They’re coming! They usually’re after you. So we’d like the braveness that the patriots present in placing their actions the place their phrases had been and preventing. However not like the Struggle of Independence, the struggle is inside. We’re not preventing with out our enemies, we’re preventing with our personal king of ignorance and our personal servants of the king: the kleshas. All of that is simply working to take care of a machine that produces solely extra unhappiness, problems, struggling, inequality and so forth—every little thing towards this self-evident fact.
So now we have to apply a type of generosity within the sense that now we have to give up our greed. We’ve got to turn out to be extra affected person, extra resilient. We’ve got to domesticate all of those so that after the king is gone, as a result of he has been realized to be only a fruitless phantasm, then we’re in contact with this buddhanature that’s our innate proper—the fitting to have a cheerful life within the sense that it’s conducive to comply with the trail of liberty towards the belief of happiness, or enlightenment.
I’ll conclude by wishing you a cheerful fourth… paramita, which is joyful and enthusiastic effort in your apply.
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