Conflict exists not only between nations and political parties; it's also battling with our neighbor, bickering with the person in the next cubicle, struggling with our spouse. Whatever the size of the conflict, it's clear that violence never solves conflict. So how can we end conflict? We need to realize that everything in our lives is a vehicle for healing or conflict; it's a matter of how we see the world and what we create with our actions. It's always possible to take responsibility for the conflicts in our life and take some measure to heal the wounds we've created. We can do this when we get in touch with the peace that's already inside us. This peace is not something that's created; it's the inherent nature of our spirit, and when we understand this we can create harmony.
Zen Buddhism emphasizes zazen, or seated meditation, as the means to study the self and understand who we truly are. Dharma talks are an essential aspect of Zen training and take place in the context of zazen. Said to be "dark to the mind and radiant to the heart", a dharma talk is one of the ways in which a teacher points directly to the heart of the teachings of the Buddha. In our meditation practice, it is easy to get lost in self-doubt, fantasy, numbness, and emotional agitation. Dharma talks help to ground our practice, providing inspiration and an essential recognition of exactly where we find ourselves, so that we can learn to face difficulties and obstacles with a free and flexible mind. This talk was given at Zen Mountain Monastery or the Zen Center of New York City of the Mountains and Rivers Order of Zen Buddhism, founded in 1980 by the late American Zen Master John Daido Loori, Roshi (1931-2009).