Today we honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose teachings resound through time. He preached that each of us has the power to change the world and ourselves, to consider how one confronts social evil without creating further evil, division and enmity. This is not unlike Buddhadharma, both recognizing the universality of the human struggle for freedom.
Despite the pernicious effects of segregation, Dr. King advocated love and nonviolence. His stated purpose was creation of the beloved community, whose cornerstone is love and justice. Like the Buddha, he taught that the resolution of conflict, rather than absence of conflict, is the fertile ground on which to build such a community—“our loyalties must transcend our race, tribe, class, and nation”—and that only a change in attitude created by love can create a just and respectful society.
There is more work to be done for personal and collective freedom—and it starts with making what is unconscious conscious. Each of us has a unique contribution to transforming what Dr. King called “this pending cosmic elegy” into “a creative psalm of brotherhood.” And it comes from wisdom and love that is ours to uncover every time we sit and pay attention. Dr. King said love is the binding power that holds the universe together “tying us in a single garment of destiny, … an inescapable network of mutuality.” Our loving recognition of interdependence opens us to understanding our connection to, and dependence on, every fellow being.
May the beloved community be built and served in every human heart, here and now.