I am a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk. Though many think of Buddhism as a religion, the only real reason that is is that people have turned it into what it is not. Buddha by authentic definition is those who awaken to our inherent nature of Universal Identity of Loving Presence, and live our lives from a perspective as Loving Presence, no more and no less. This is how suffering is ended.
Though I was raised Catholic, received communion, and took the catechism, I don’t personally identify as Christian… But I do effort to stand and live in solidarity with Jesus of Nazareth. It is clear by the record his central operating principle was Love with L.O.V.E. (Lots of Voluntary Effort). Out of the gate, he said, Yes, my father gave Ten Commandments, but really, all of that could be restated into one… “Love people,” generously as we could love ourselves.
Some of the highlights of his life are famously overturning the tables in the marketplace, not out of anger, but out of disgust, because of the misprioritization of money over people and its use to subjugate and stratify society. He worked with the untouchables; that society arbitrarily decided were tainted: addicts… sex workers… the sick… the poor… essentially the untouchables. He endlessly was breaking traditions. He elevated the status of women. The meaning of washing the feet of Mary was to say, all of us are equally worthy, equally deserving, and equally, the Universal Identity of Loving Presence, and could be treated as such. And for me, one of the most gracious things he is reported to have done is that when the Roman soldiers came for him, one of his students… an apostle no less, wounded one of the soldiers, at which time without hesitation or reservation, Jesus is said to have healed the severed ear. He was committed to nonviolence. When he was nailed to the cross, rather than shouting out, “Kill them all, and let God sort them out,” he is reported to have cried out to the skies… “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” Father… Mother… Fellow Humans… let’s find our way forward to expressing generosity, mercy, tenderness, friendliness, and compassion. It’s time for a change. We’ve just been walking in a very big circle that is not producing a different result other than suffering. Rather than shuffling forward, how about straight on?
In today’s society, Jesus’ way of being… of loving people… would have him categorized and dismissed as a “Woke,” “Activist,” trying to overturn the status quo. Then, as things are these days, he was vilified, discarded by the establishment, and summarily executed. Apparently, "Cancel cultures'" history is extraordinarily long.
To not admire, respect, and care for such a one would be a missed opportunity. It could be a goal, and purpose to leave our life a better place than when we arrived through the gate of grace that was the mother's womb we’ve all passed through to take up our body. Today is the day it’s reported that Jesus arose from a grave. What could that possibly mean? For me was his body really gone? Was it really even placed in the cave? Did angels come and get him, to bring him home? Really, Really, Really… there’s no knowing… only perspectives. Such is the nature of history… But his actions while alive… that’s what brought him to an involuntary death in the first place. He was essentially murdered and died for Love… It was worth it to stand up, by and for his values.
As I said when I began this article, I am not a Christian, but I am very much an appreciator, admirer, and a subscriber to the primary principle Jesus not only verbalized but acted upon… Loving with L.O.V.E. If we agree with Jesus of Nazareth, our actions and world will reflect that… if not, that will be reflected as well, please let us not try to fake our way through that one. As a dear friend once said to me, we’re either being a part of the solution or a part of the problem. How we live is how we will live.
Rather than a memorialized day to dress pretty… do Easter hunts for colored eggs… perhaps we could also use it as a call to action to act in harmony with our inherent Universal Loving Presence nature… healing ourselves, our relationships, our communities, and humanity. What a rising that could be… if we would simply do as Jesus did, and act persistently, consistently, with compassion and urgency. And for this reason, I celebrate that you celebrate this day.
-We All Share the Same Sky