I seek peace from my faith and my meditation. I am always hoping that one day there will be a moment when all is clear to me, and I listen to my inner voice. Too often I worry about what troubles the world. Today, as with many days, I see our trouble as caused by fear and mistrust of our neighbors. In our efforts to relieve our fears, we forget that we have a responsibility to save all beings.
In my practice in Zen Buddhism, saving all beings extends broadly. I have a responsibility to the unborn and the elderly, but also to the animals of the earth, the fish of the sea, and the birds in the air. I am a holistic protector of like. In Catholicism, there is also a responsibility to protect life, but the loudest voices tend to focus on the unborn and certainly there isn’t the same holistic focus. What I take from both is the responsibility to seek peace and avoid violence. I, therefore, decline the right to bear arms. When Jesus said, “Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13) he did not say anything about killing another to save a life. I prefer to strive for compassion that is free of judgment and without limit.
I ask people to consider declining the right to bear arms. It is a right granted to us by the Constitution, but not one that must be exercised. Instead, seek freedom from fear and model the peace we seek in prayer and meditation. Let’s make violence rare and compassion the norm.