Janine and Scot frequently bring Henry, their son, with them to Zen. Henry is about 18 months old now, so he loves to run around, pick stuff up, and make lots of sounds including his limited vocabulary. During the past few weeks, he has shown that he is pretty good with a moktak, and keeps the beat pretty good with the chanting, odds are he will be the first three year old moktak master at ORZC.
At the end of chanting and meditation on Saturdays, there is a reading from one of several books. On this particular Saturday, the reading was taken from Master Teacher Tony Somlai’s book PEACE Vigil: Living Without Hesitation from Dragon Mountain Press.
Teaching peace to our children
and each other
is the purest form of love.
There are many ways to bring peace to the community – pick one.
Teaching peace has an infinite number of conduits. It can be in a classroom setting or at a picnic. It can appear in a scholarly journal or at a slam poetry contest. You can teach peace while cooking or cleaning the house. If your life is peace, every moment is an opportunity to teach peace. The generosity of teaching peace helps build a cultural norm that “peace” is not a naive or antisocial activity. If peace is to be sustainable and of service to the next generation, we need effective and gentle methods to educate each other.
Childlike: My goodness, we have become crusty and cynical as adults. We have been fighting wars for so long that we have forgotten what it is like to be a child. We have repressed the purity of that early love in our consciousness. Watch children over the next few days and see what they teach about peace. Also look closely at what adults are teaching them about peace.
As soon as Janine had finished the reading, Henry chimed in by saying “Peace…..Peace.” As far as any of us know, that is the first time that Henry has ever uttered those words. After he had said that, everyone in the Dharma room just busted up laughing. Henry’s timing was impeccable, and the joy he brought to the community is without value. An 18 month old child taught the community a thing or two about peace, joy, and love by just being a child, and connecting to the child in all of us.
In that one moment, Henry reminded all of us that teachings come in all shapes and sizes, and frequently unexpected. If you are not paying attention to the moment, the teaching is lost. I know that I have missed many an opportunity to learn in my lifetime. But never before has that realization been so clear, nor a teaching so powerful, as that of a child, just learning to walk and to speak, that teachings are all around us if we just pay attention.