The World has new needs in 2018


For thousands of years, religion has been used to promote different political and economic issues. Religions have often been abused and twisted to make them fit what is needed.

The Dalai Lama is speaking out now about what the world needs to counteract the increase of hatred and violence that have descended on our world. The Dalai Lama is the refugee who has been the world’s longest refugee. He has been a refugee since China invaded is home country of Tibet in the 1959. He and many of his fellow citizens fled for their lives to India. They continue to reside in India to this day.

He has been a tireless advocate for peace and non-violence. His motto is that “He has no enemies, just people he has not met yet.” He has toured the world doing speaking engagements. I met him in 1989. He is a quite fascinating individual.

He has been looking at the world and its values. The world’s morals are changing due to the Nationalism being found everywhere in the world. Does religion address these issues? The Dalai Lama does not think so.

For centuries, violence has been committed and justified in the name of religion. Religions have often been intolerent and often still are. Religion is often abused by many even by religious people. Often their purpose is to further political or economic issues. We need a new form of ethics that goes beyond religion…anyone’s religion. The Dalai Lama speaks of an ethics that goes into a new form. A secular ethics for over a billion atheists and an increasing number of agnostics. These ethics would address human spiritualality. Humans need inner values, no matter what religion we have, we believe in life, benevolence,and affection.

Human beings need inner values and ethics. Ethics run deeper and are more natural than religion. We must learn that humanity is all one family. We are all brothers and sisters: physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are focusing far too much on our differences instead of our commonalities. After all, every one of us is born the same way and dies the same way. It doesn’t make much sense to take pride in our nations and religions–all the way to the graveyard. Ethics run deeper and are more natural than religion.

Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

 

Life needs to be filled with beauty. Photograph by Barbara Mattio 2018

 

Ethics and the Heart


Presque Isle, PA.

I have been thinking about moral and ethical issues today. We get closer and closer to the election. We expect ethical behavior from our leaders and those who wish to be leaders. But, we who have private lives need to ensure that we also have ethics and good moral character.

I believe we should not shy away from raising a strong, clear, moral voice in these campaigns or in our personal lives. Jewish beliefs are that there are no short cuts to ethics and I believe that to be true. Moral principles have stood at the core of Jewish life.

The core of the Jewish people lead them to look to educate the children, to work in the community and to participate in all charitable acts. It is like breathing.

I have seen so many good works and true compassion and caring in the Jewish Community. Many Jewish teachings are very compatible with the teachings of other religions. Spiritual insights and wisdom have been passed down for centuries.

As a society, we need to teach our children character. We need to teach them to feel, to be outraged by injustice, show them dignity and an inviolable sense of self.

Whether you are Jewish, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Sufi, we all have to be responsible to our communities and to the Divinity in this world to act morally and with ethics and to teach the young among our societies the concepts of heroism, justice, fairness, hard work and education.

These can make a difference in our world. These can make a difference in elections and can make a difference in the place of women in all of our countries. We each need to start with our own hearts and then allow the Divine energy to flow outward and the ripple will bring change. It does begin with each of us. And each of us can be an example to someone else. When we change, the people around us in this life journey change also.

What Really is Right


The political season is upon us and there is much mud slinging going on. Everyone is forming opinions and hopefully will vote. I have been thinking about “What is Right?”

We have the standard laws given to Moses by G-d. The Ten Commandments are certainly a good foundation for human behavior. The problem is that you can obey the Commandments and still not live an ethical life.

Even if you live according to the ethical standards for your faith, there are areas we don’t think of as being ethical or not ethical.

Let me explain. you go to your church, temple, or mosque at the prescribed times. You tithe as you are supposed to. You give to the charity food drive and buy Girl Scout cookies when the girls come to your door. You are a good friend and you get along pretty well with your in-laws. So you have it all sewn up. Right? The after-life awaits you.

There are other things that matter but we usually gloss over them. For instance, hating someone who is a different color. We are angered and share mean-spirited jokes about those whose sexual preference is different.
We look at people who are not as well dressed as we are and smugly turn away. We are capable of walking by a homeless person on the street with averted eyes and a closed heart. Grace is said at our tables at night for the bounty of our food but we do not worry about the elderly person down the street who gets by with Meals on Wheels.

My point is just to show us that we don’t always do all we could do in our lives to live in the spirit of any of the sacred writings.

Today, across the world, there are starving children, children who will never live to be 10. There are women who can’t nurse their babies because they don’t make enough milk because they are literally starving.

People are living in refugee camps and wearing rags to cover their bodies. Here in America, more people own guns than ever and we are killing each other with abandon. Children are killing themselves because of bullying. They are being picked on supposedly because they are ‘different’, but really because it gives the bully the feeling of power and control and makes them feel superior.

I think if each of us look at the way we treat all other people, and respond to them the way any of the prophets, teachers, and gurus would, we could begin to heal our lives and our world with love. Love is the great equalizer because you begin to see others as Divinity does. Connected and part of each other.