by Lama Chuck Stanford, Rime Buddhist Center & Monastery, The Buddhist Channel, June 20, 2009
Kansas City, Kansas (USA) -- Unlike other religions, Buddhism believes that our basic nature is not only good, but enlightened. We possess “Buddha-nature,” the potential for all beings to attain enlightenment.
Even the worst person in the world who may have committed heinous crimes is believed to possess this basic goodness. The question then becomes why do some people cause so much suffering to themselves, their families and others if they possess this basic goodness?
We act in less than enlightened ways out of ignorance. Because we are not able to see the nature of reality as it really is, we fail to see that we are all part of one vast web of interconnectedness. When we harm someone else, we are harming ourselves. Likewise, when we help another being, we are helping ourselves. We are not able to see this because of the obscurations of our mind. However, our minds are infinitely malleable, and change is always possible. By meditating we can begin to gain some insight into why we keep making the same mistakes, and through this insight we are able to change.
I work with inmates in prison, and I have seen truly amazing transformations by some of the worst of the worst. One such experience was with an inmate I worked with at Lansing prison by the name of Tony. You can read about his amazing transformation at the following Web site: www.cjonline .com/stories/112606/kan_buddhist.shtml.