Hold No Fixed Views

We all have our own views and opinions. However, we should never be too attached to them, allowing ourselves to be deluded.

Our views and opinions should adapt to changes in times, causes, and conditions. We may think that the worst has passed, but when disaster strikes, can we still hold on to our view? We may set our minds on a certain candidate prior to going to the polling station. But if it turns out they lost the election, should we remain attached to our opinions and reject the winning candidate?

Do the Buddhas and bodhisattvas have their own views and opinions about how to liberate sentient beings from suffering? Of course they do. However, their views and opinions were formed and expressed only after they contemplated all the causes and conditions regarding the matter: the lifespans in the past, present, and future, as well as the capacities and minds of all sentient beings in all directions. Can you do the same before you form opinions?

Common logic can be used to assess people and matters of the world. However, common logic does not always reveal the ultimate truth. We need to delve into many more levels before we can find the underlying truth.

When making new discoveries, researchers need to put up with many failures before arriving making a breakthrough. Similarly, entrepreneurs working on a project also have to meet with designers and administrators many times before launch. Although there may already be goals and proposals in place, politicians will discuss and adapt to changes political and financial policies before implementing them.

One day, a local community wanted to build a bridge. Someone suggested asking for a donation from a wealthy man. One of the locals commented that the rich man was a miser who had never supported such projects in the past. Another villager replied, “People change with time. In the past, he was asked to help repair roads and dig wells. He might not be interested in those. Now, we are building a bridge, and he may be interested in participating this time. We should ask him.” As no one else was convinced by his argument or showed interest in trying to solicit the rich man’s help, the villager volunteered to go ask. When he heard about the project and the benefits it would bring to the local community, the wealthy man gladly agreed to bear all the costs himself.

Therefore, we should not hold fixed views about a person. What seems good may not actually be good, and what seems bad is not necessarily bad. Within the endless expanse of time and space, causes and conditions are constantly changing. It is acceptable for us to have our own views and opinions, but they should never become prejudices. A ruler who listens to the voices of many is a wise leader. One who ignores everybody else’s views is an autocratic and ignorant individual.

In today’s democratic process, whether it is for a city, state, or country, leaders have to conduct public hearings and polling to know the public’s opinion on any policy. Public opinion serves as causes and conditions. All causes and conditions should be gathered and assessed. Just as support of the public lends legitimacy, causes and conditions correspond with the truth.

When we are able to accurately calculate time, place, people, rationale, and the right causes and conditions, we can be sure of success.