Decency is being free from trickery, free from the tricks we play on ourselves or on each other to maintain our basic existence. Trickery brings hope and fear. You’re so tempted; at the same time, you’re so afraid. According to the Shambhala teachings, the way to be free from that self-deception is to appreciate the phenomenal world, free from hope and fear: the sun and the moon, the clouds and the bright blue sky–or the gray sky. Pine trees and rocks, gardens and green grasses–or the gray grasses of the snow. Buildings that are tumbling down, buildings that are perfectly erected. People with briefcases walking in and out of their offices. Flags flying on a metal rod jingle as their grommets hit the pole. The world is full of all sorts of things.
Why am I saying all this? Because we have to realize that we live in a society: we have a society, and we are society. Every one of you is part of society. Sometimes we have a tendency to ignore the problems in the world, by saying, “Well, that’s their problem.” On the whole, I’m trying to look at how we can actually relate to the world at large and how we can help this particular world. I would be so delighted to hear your ideas and approaches to being of service to the world, without creating a world of confusion, which is known as the setting sun.
From “The Big No,” in Great Eastern Sun: The Wisdom of Shambhala, condensed from pages 137 to 140.