Considering the Suffering of Others

The numbers are sobering. Every year some 15 million people die of hunger. Do we even know what 15 million is, can we comprehend that number? New York city has a population of 8.3 million, and Los Angeles is 9.8 million. So if we eliminated the entire population of Los Angeles and half the population of New York city every year that would be a fair representation of the number of people who die from hunger in one year. Now do that every year. It is frightful. This doesn’t even address the number of children who die as infants, the number of homeless, and so on. We just aren’t doing a very good job of taking care of each other. In the United States, we live in relative comfort for the most part. We consume as if there is no end to resources and completely oblivious to the suffering taking place all over the globe. Life goes on. You know I have written a lot about our personal practice, our practice to attain enlightenment. We cannot understand enlightenment without considering the suffering of others. We will not truly become happy until we enable all other to do so as well. The first of the Bodhisattva vows speaks of enabling all living beings to become enlightened, even before we do so.

Lotus Path: Practicing the Lotus Sutra Volume 1