Benevolent Lord! Please listen to our pleas for the ending of violent strife.
First of all, from the bottom of our hearts, we are thankful and grateful for your three gifts which belong inherently to all living things as their just rights, namely:
The Universal Dignity of Life;
The Harmony that Makes Existence Possible; and
The Blessing to Choose One’s Own Path in Life.
May all living beings proceed along your path of loving concern, living in peace and serenity as they learn more about the Dao.
We earnestly pray that you put forth your wondrous powers to do away with violence, to avert catastrophe and affirm blessedness in place of doom.
Let the abusers of power put down their whip of cruelty;
Let plunderers of resources put down their whip of invasion;
Let the militaristic strongmen put down their whip of war;
Let the monopolizers of profit put down their whip of greed;
Let the indulgers in luxury put down their whip of excess;
Let the destroyers of ecosystems put down their whip of ruthlessness.
From the bottom of our hearts we pray, that from You we may receive confidence, wisdom and power, so we may take firm strides out of this morass.
Please give us power of self-awareness, to keep us from selfishness;
Please give us power of contentment, to keep us from greed;
Please give us power of sincerity, to keep us from falseness;
Please give us power of empathy, to keep us from arrogance;
Please give us power of wisdom, to keep us from suspicion;
Please give us power to cherish blessings, to keep us from wastefulness;
Please give us power of clear vision, to keep us from delusion.
Our deepest wish is that you grant us power of tolerant forgiveness, to keep us from jealousy and hatred. Let us wipe out our cruel, violent sins from the root.
Secondly, we vow to end cruelty and violence, so humanity’s impending catastrophe will vanish into thin air.
As our Original Master once told us: “Catastrophe is made by human beings; catastrophe is made by human hearts.” He also said, “It is time for mankind to root out the psychic causes of cruelty and brutality.” Only by ridding ourselves of cruel thoughts rooted in the heart can we reduce the occurrence of brutal, horrible behavior.
Because the Dao and desire co-exist in human hearts, even a sage needs to cleanse his desires, and even an average person possesses the Dao-mind.
Among human desires we find the Dao-mind, and within the Dao-mind we find human desires. When human desires are inflated, they obscure the Dao-mind; when the Dao-mind is raised up, then desires fall into place. “The human mind is endangered; the Dao-mind is elusive.” In the interval of a thought we can rise to Heaven, plunge to hell, become human or become a beast: all depends on the direction taken by a single thought.
Material desires are focused on sensations, possessions and profit, so they obscure our root nature. Desires influenced by greed, anger, delusion and clinging make our hearts lose direction. Then every move we make is selfish; every move we make is greedy; every move we make is suspicious; every move we make is artificial. At some point we will come to a reckoning: “Desire gone astray is selfishness, and the selfish heart becomes twisted with greed. Feelings gone astray are unbalanced, and unbalance inflicts psychic damage. Knowledge gone astray is distorted, and distortion gives rise to cruelty.”
Cruel thinking and behavior are caused by selfishness and greed. Selfishness gives rise to suspicion, and suspicion to intolerance. From intolerance comes rage, causing order to break down completely. Greed gives rise to twisted thinking and falseness. From falseness comes hatred and violence. We can see that all varieties of cruelty, hurtfulness and cold-bloodedness have their source in material temptations that people succumb to.
In our era, people’s material and emotional desires have no upper limits, and the cheapening of moral standards has no lower limits. People only want to possess, not to give of themselves. People want freedom but not responsibility. This is an era when “the escalation of desire turns to violence; excessive use of power turns to violence; expansion of the profit motive turns to violence; unrestrained wealth turns to violence.” Such violence gets pent up in human hearts; it turns into turbulent currents that drive all before them between them between Heaven and earth. Everywhere we turn there is resentful chi, violent ch’i, gloomy ch’i, deathly ch’i, murky ch’i, cold-blooded ch’i: all these currents stimulate each other; karmic result turns to karmic cause and one catastrophe grows out of another, shaping our brutal collective karma. When will there be an end to the human catastrophe? Who will show concern for all the vulnerable beings under Heaven?
Thousands of years have passed in a flash and here we are making a place for ourselves at the end of the 20th Century. With the development of material civilization, material wants have penetrated into every corner, corroding our inner natures and twisting our moral standards and social relations. On top of this, we see that vicious new instruments of destruction are being developed all the time. In the past hundred years, mankind has gone through two horrible world wars, twenty-four regional wars, and over 150 local wars. Right up to this minute, all too many living things are being forced to live on the edge of terror and war. Hardly any corner of this earth, on which we rely for survival, remains unravaged; at any moment we are subject to man-made disasters; nobody is exempt from this suffering.
“Put an end to cruelty and violence” is our common prayer. We wish there were no violence! We wish there were no war!
Thirdly, we vow by means of our love and forgiveness to end cruel violence. Let hatred be gone from our human world.
Our Original Master said, “The greatest human suffering happens because there is too much hate and not enough love!”
We strongly believe that love is the spiritual seed you have entrusted to us deep in our hearts. By virtue of this seed, life has its dignity, harmony and blessedness. From this seed comes confidence, wisdom and strength. With it life can follow the original seed back home.
We firmly believe that your wonderful spiritual qualities are embedded in forgiveness and tolerance. Only through forgiveness can we be in accord with you, and thus receive amnesty. You have given us the keys of forgiveness and tolerance, so we may open the door to anthro-celestial union.
When our thoughts turn toward understanding of someone who has been insulted and maligned, at that very moment felicity and virtue are accomplished. In such moments we are in accord with your divine qualities, liberated and absolved of sin. Though it seems we have renounced something, we are actually gaining amnesty for ourselves.
Through love and understanding, we converge into oceanic union with the living things of all creation. May those who have strayed toward the cliff-edge of cruelty and hatred put down the whip of cruelty.
And fourthly, merciful Lord, please hear our pleas for an end to cruelty and violence.
May your powers work to push back evil forces and make them put down their whip of cruel violence. Please bring forth peace and uprightness; let them gently raise a loving whip to spur us onward.
Our Original Teacher told us: “Learning the Dao takes fortitude, why fear the divine and urging whip? Amidst a hundred trials remain at ease, to become an immortal of Daluo.” Let us have the whip of concern; urge us on and guide us. Let us learn to reflect and repent, to admit and correct our errors. Then we can cast out brutal propensities and untie the self-drowning, self-abusing knots in our hearts.
To put an end to violence, we vow to follow these guidelines: “No selfishness, no greed, no falseness, no arrogance, no suspicion, no over-indulgence, no apathy, no jealousy, no violence.” These are the precepts we abide by. We will strive unremittingly! We will make every effort to live by them.
To put an end to violence, we vow to serve with a non-grasping spirit; we will fulfill our vows with a non-combative attitude; we will striving without evading responsibility; we will undertake our heavenly responsibility; we will undertake our heavenly mission without withdrawing. We will do all this, without resentment and regret!
To put an end to violence and cruelty, we vow to let Your love and forgiveness grow and bear bounty in every home and in every human heart.
Our Loving Lord, please urge us on with the whip of your gentle concern. Help us know how to reform ourselves, awaken ourselves, cultivate ourselves, and realize truth for ourselves.
Offered December 17, 2000 by Lee Wei-sheng
Second Shouxi of the Lord of Universe Church