On Anger and Peace
September 12, 2001
People have asked me if I've felt anger over getting cancer,
and my honest answer is no. To me, it's been an act of nature,
like getting struck by lightning. It's not as though my pain
was inflicted by another human being. That would be far more
traumatic, and far harder to deal with.
The great religions of the world teach that true spirituality
manifests itself in compassion. To be able to show compassion
in the face of rape, murder, torture--who among us can truly
say we'd rise above anger and feel no hatred? It takes the
vantage point of the heavens to see that a garden engulfed
by weeds still looks beautiful.
Americans were terrorized by religious fanaticism. In the
birthplace of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity,
and Palestinians continue to add new pages to their centuries-old
bloody history. On and on it goes. Trying to imagine the mind
of those who would kill themselves and innocent others for
the glory of martyrdom, I am reminded of the passage from J.D.
Salinger's Catcher in the Rye: "The mark of the immature
man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark
of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one." Surely
zen resides in the latter.
When our time comes, we'd all like to think that we died for
something--to go out with a bang and not a whimper. But what
ripples will we leave? What message will our lives have taught
those who follow?
May each of us go forward today living humbly for our cause,
be it so small--or so great--as raising one child the right
Peace through Zen Guitar