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  • Writer's pictureKim O

The Buddhist Ethic of No Harm

The culture war rages.

I see people I have known to be loving, full of rage and hate as they post sweeping generalizations, soundbite triggering comments, blame and shame of certain segments of society and so on. I need not explain this further. If you are on any social platform, you have experienced this too.

I find myself grappling with defensiveness. I want to fight back at the unfairness. I want to shine some light. When I have attempted to utilize the kindest words to present another perspective, I am called a name and lumped into a group where I do not belong.

I ask myself: What warms me to a seemingly opposing ideology or concept?

Honesty, kindness, and compassion.

These 3 words seem to be missing. Although many would argue that they have righteous anger, thus it is justified to speak their truth. From what I have seen, there continues to be an atmosphere of dehumanizing opposing people by not recognizing our differences or our unique experiences and perspectives. There is not enough effort toward understanding or acknowledgement of an alternate viewpoint.

But there is more missing.

The phrase that kept coming to mind was a phrase I heard by a friend I had interviewed a few years ago for my youtube channel at the time. She was sharing about how she lives her life. She said she strives to do No Harm.

I had not heard such a beautiful description of how someone strives to do life. I have since learned that this is a tenet of Buddhist ethics. Two of my favorite people I think of in times when I am tempted to be less than conscious or unloving, are theBuddhists Thich Nhat Hahn and the Dali Lama. The Dali Lama has the most infectious laugh. His smile can tantalize the most brooding mood. His teachings tout compassion and kindness, always. Thich is a quieter presence of pure love.

My memory accesses visions of their personhood. I don't even have to ask myself what they would do. The feeling and energy that overcomes me as I reflect, makes it impossible for me to resist their way of being.

No harm added to honesty, kindness, and compassion for everyone, would change the face of our divisions. With the intent to offer no harm and add honesty, kindness, and compassion toward our dissenters, is the high way. We can value another soul, rather than minimize them into a category that demeans them.

I am committed to this endeavor. Please join me. Light can overcome darkness.

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