What's Wrong?

The sense that there is something terribly wrong with the world leads me to say to the other, 'What's wrong with you?'

But this is false perception. The right perception is, 'My mind is filled with the sense that something is wrong, and I project this doom onto you.'

To 'fix' the world, I must first inquire into my perception. Then I discover that I never know any world except my perception of it.

Therefor, to know the nature of the world, I must know the nature of my mind. What is the nature of this mind? A restless need for the moment to be other than it is.

But it is impossible to 'fix' this moment and make it other than it is. And this impossible demand is the root of my suffering, is it not?

I can never experience the 'fix,' for the fix is always in the future, which leaves me ever exhausted in a problematic present from which I ceaselessly try to separate myself. Yet no matter how I try to improve the world, this present moment always feels wrong, for the simple reason that my mind feels wrong.

The true inquiry is not, 'How can I fix the world?'  but 'Why does my mind need this moment to be other than it is?'

I can do so much more for the world by solving the problem of my own mind, than by solving the problem of the world.

When I penetrate to the core of my need for this moment to be other than it is, I come face to face with my own restlessness. I can see my restlessness in the mirror of awareness, and this reflection of the self upon itself dissolves the root of aggression in the ground of love.

The aggression I felt for others, as I blamed them for the world problem, was my own aggression toward my self for not being happy.

Now I can stop projecting my story of pain and injustice onto others. I can stop blaming the world for my problem, because the problem is my blame.

I return to what IS, just as it is: the miracle of presence. No longer separate from the world, I no longer demand the moment to be other than it is. Non-separateness is peace. There is no other peace, and no other cause of peace. Non-violence is the flowering of non-separateness.

Hearing this, some people create an image of passivity, of sitting on a log in the forest, doing nothing. This image is from the truth of non-separateness. Non-separateness is the wondrous spark of dynamic action. A Buddha is not a bump on a log; a Buddha is a unique flowering of action in the present moment.

But it is a completely new kind of action, the action that arises from stillness. This secret of dynamic action is the real meaning of the Taoist term 'wei wu wei, doing through not-doing,' which is the seed of the martial arts. It is likewise the essence of the Bhagavad Gita: 'One who sees stillness in action, and action in stillness, truly sees.'

Creative action flows out of presence, with no other motive than to dance with what IS. Creative action does not model itself on the past, or seek a future ideal. Creative action is a wave in the ocean of being right here.

Through the unity of this moment, I have infinite freedom to act responsibly. I do not act out of an urgent sense that something needs fixing. For I am part of the seamless continuum of wholeness that was never broken. Right now, I am response-able. I am my own healing, and my action heals the world. I act in freedom, because nothing is wrong.

This self-evident truth is perfectly revealed in the shortest of all Buddhist suttras, which was hidden in obscurity until it was rediscovered by Thich Nhat Hanh. We will remember Thay as the master who transformed Buddhism by refocusing the whole teaching through the prism of this supremely important suttra, 'The Bheta Karatta,' or 'Better Way' suttra.

A disciple asked the Awakened One, 'Which is the better way? To leave the world and live alone as a monk, or stay and try to improve  conditions?'

The Buddha replied, 'You can do either, but there is a better way, one better way to do both.'

'Tell me the better way!' the disciple asked. So the Buddha gave him this reply, the 'Better Way' Sutra:

'Give up regretting the past.
Give up worrying about the future.
But deeply observe
the present moment
just as it is,
and you will attain the peace
and unity
of the ancient masters.'

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