Seeking Order in Chaos

A crowd can be organized into neat lines. A pile of flax can be tidied up. Vines need gardening stakes to cling to and water need channels to flow through. We need not fear chaos, so long as we can see order in the chaos, there is no problem that cannot be resolved.

Those who love to read may have a pile of books on their desks, but they can find the one they want instantly. Those who are sleeping may be able to pick up a pillow that fell off the bed without opening their eyes. They can sense where the pillow is. They go back to sleep as soon as the task is done.

Some say that governments have become chaotic or disorganized. But as long as their leaders can find order within the chaos, there is nothing to fear. Some may think modern society is disorderly. But if the public knows the source of disorder, there is no reason for fear.

Confucius stated that “order, kindness, honesty, and humility are the four directions of a nation. If they are not advocated, the nation is doomed.” If a society maintains its ethics, then it is no problem if it is in chaos. Buddhism teaches that the source of sickness and chaos is the delusional and disturbed mind. However, according to the “Amitabha Triple Contemplation Service,” “When clarifying pearls are put in muddy water, the water clears. When recitations of the Buddha’s name are placed in the upset mind, the mind becomes Buddha.” Therefore, if we have the Buddha and the Dharma in our minds, we need not be concerned by the chaos that surrounds us.

Order comes in many shapes and forms. Being “centered” brings order. Buddhist temples put the main shrine in the center of the infrastructure and construct the halls and shrines around it. Being straight brings order. A straight road enables cars to move ahead with ease. Being round brings order. A circle can be the focal point of an area. When one goes around its circumference, one finds order. Being square brings order. The set, balanced form of a square helps everything within find its place.

Therefore, when dealing with situations and people, we should seek order, whether it be by establishing a center, line (guileless), circle (flexible), or square (impeccable). If we can find order within the chaos of society, then each one of us can become a leader of a community, the center of an organization, or the head of a household.

In a garden, the plants and flowers vary in type and height, but they all know their respective places. In a classroom, there are desks and chairs, tables and blackboards, objects large and small. All of them have their place. There is an order to this chaos. In a family, there are young and old. But all of them respect the others accordingly. In society, there are various businesses and enterprises. Each has its own leader. That too displays order within chaos.

As the Buddhist sayings go, “There are many skillful means. But only one leads to the Truth,” and, “A hundred streams flow into the ocean to become one taste.” There is unity within chaos and agreement among differences. Chaos is not to be feared. But lack of order within chaos is. Order is found in religion, law, morals, and social causes. We should live an orderly life. Without order, the country, the community, and individuals will all suffer great harm.