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Lions Roar : November 2016
LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 46 The Kitchen Sermons SHINSO ITO How we treat others in our routine interactions is the most important part of being a good citizen. Through our personal relationships, we can bring out the best in ourselves. Our Buddhist community, Shinnyo-en, was founded by my parents, Shinjo and Tomoji Ito. In their early years their home doubled as a temple, and people were constantly gathering in Tomoji’s kitchen as she cooked. Members of our community today draw on the example she set. The simple yet powerful behaviors she lived by have become known as the Kitchen Sermons. Some examples are: Be gentle, yet strong. Do not bring sadness to people. Reflect upon yourself before criticizing others. Smile when you talk to people. Treat people with respect. Put yourself in their place. Sharing with others the joy of living in wisdom and compassion is a spiritual practice, which helps bring out our own true self as good citizens. HER HOLINESS SHINSO ITO is the leader of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist school. Do Your Little Bit of Good TONI BERNHARD When the Buddha said, “A follower of the dharma does not contend with anyone,” he was present- ing the essential qualities of a good citizen— open-mindedness and nonattachment to views. As a good citizen, you grant those with opposite views the benefit of the doubt as to their intentions. At the same time, however, you work in accordance with your own views to alleviate suffering and make life better for others. In the words of Desmond Tutu, “Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” You might be an activist in national or local pol- itics. You might volunteer as a hospice worker. You might help a neighbor in need. Whatever you do, by not contending with others, a good citizen acts out of compassion, not anger, and alleviates suffering one step at a time. TONI BERNHARD was a law professor at the University of California for twenty-two years. She’s the author of How to Wake Up. PHOTOBYTRAVISHODGES/MILLENNIUMIMAGES,UK