The Tao Te Ching: Verse Sixty-Two

The Tao is the wonder of all things
The treasure of the kind person
The protection of the unkind person

Admirable words can win the public’s respect
Admirable actions can improve people
Those who are unkind
How can they be abandoned?

Therefore, when crowning the Emperor
And installing the three ministers
Although there is the offering of jade before four horses
None of it can compare to being seated in this Tao

Why did the ancients value this Tao so much?
Is it not said that those who seek will find,
And those with guilt will not be faulted?
Therefore, it is the greatest value in the world

                                                                                         Lao Tzu

One of the fundamental principles taught in the Shambhala Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism is the belief in our own innate Basic Goodness. The term basic in Basic Goodness is a concept that often makes me smile because it is so simple yet so difficult for us to accept about ourselves. We are so preoccupied with focusing on our personal shortcomings and challenges to actualizing all of our potential that we lose sight of all that is Good within each of us right now.

When that pastime becomes taxing, we add to the mix by starting to put the shortcomings of everyone else under a microscope. It makes for quite a soup. We can switch up that energy by maintaining our prospective on what makes things wrong from what make things different; and not confusing style with substance.

Take the hand of your neighbor and focus on all that you share in common; your Basic Goodness, love of family, a need to do meaningful work. Then while holding tight, slowly move to the place where you can respect divergent thinking and approaches to life even when you cannot agree.

Clearly, there is much that threatens mankind in the world today but when we look at the world and focus on the darkness that it contains it is a huge distraction from the Light that dominates and sustains us. Lao Tzu reminds us the greatest strength of the Light is the plain fact that we are all part of a Great Oneness and interdependent upon one another. When individuals or groups forget this fact, the Evil that is created can threaten us all. However, we can embrace this fact without losing our faith. Our defense against that Evil is and always will be the strength and power of our collective Basic Goodness and the Awakened Heart we share.

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