Walk down any street these days, and sense – if you have any sensibilities at all – the enormous suffering that people are carrying as baggage.
It is not apparent at first, there is too much din and cacophony crowding the streets. But reach inside, get to know personally the stories of each one, and you find there a sense of growing hopelessness and lack of empowerment.
Especially this is true of our youth.
Politicians are caught in webs of power struggles, money and self-aggrandisement. Money and power ride the elevators to a privileged few, the stock market rises and booms, corporate profits burgeon, but so many are left in the wake of all this scrambling in the dust.
A woman I met just recently was just deserted by her boyfriend, whom she had supported for over a year. She is now left with her two children, bereft of family, what does the future hold? She thought of overdosing on pills the night prior, but something held her hand in check. Her eyes show nothing. They wait for a vision of something to propel her forward one more day, one more week.
This sense of powerlessness grows. What can one person do? More and more, we are alone in a vast universe.
This is not the reality of life. At the core of life – of each person’s individual life – is immense, untrammeled power.
This is the message of the Buddha.
The Buddha’s life reaches to the stars and beyond, and to the depths of quarks and bosons, the very building blocks of the universe itself. This is the true aspect of the Buddha’s life.
But the Buddha is also you and I. Buddha, or life’s vast potential, waits, unsummoned, at the core and heart of our lives, and we do not know it, we do not realize it, we do not know how to bring it forth. We do not know who we are.
The Buddha, who cares compassionately for every living thing, whose heart reaches everything, is you and I.
This reality is what we need to awaken to. This is the America and the new world we need to build.
It is already there. Bring it forth now.
James Hilgendorf’s latest book is “Poems of Death: Time for Eternity“. He is also the author of five other books: “Life & Death: A Buddhist Perspective“; “The Great New Emerging Civilization“; “The New Superpower“; “A New Myth for America“; and “The Buddha and the Dream of America“. All of his books are available through bookstores, and online in paperback or in e-book format at Amazon.com.
Visit James Hilgendorf’s website.