The News-Sentinel asked: Pope Francis, the leader of the Catholic Church, recently said “Who am I to judge?” when asked about gay members of the church. Do you agree with his statement? Do you think it will bring any changes?
There is no disagreement with his statement about “Who am I to judge?” His statement may break people’s stereotype thinking about others.
Buddhism is not a religion of belief. Buddhism is a religion to awake to the truth of our life. The truth is the truth whether I believe or do not believe. It is important for one to be enlightened to the truth.
Two truths that Buddha understood were that everything is interdependent, and everything is constantly changing. There is no identical life. Each life is unique. Buddha’s wish embraces each one of these different lives without exception.
However, human beings tend to categorize everything. This is the nature or trait of being human. We have categorized people based upon country, region, language, religion, skin color, occupation, sex and so on. To some degree, categorizing people might be necessary to simplify our social understanding and make living more convenient, but, in truth, this is one of the causes for discrimination against people. This is one of the causes for human beings’ suffering also.
The idea of categorizing people comes from our desire and ignorance. Everybody wants to be superior to others. Nobody wants to be inferior to others. Therefore, people try to put themselves into the majority or superior group, and put others into the minority or inferior group. Another reason that people categorize others negatively is because of fear. Fear can lead to hate. All people categorize or discriminate because of ignorance, because of not understanding basic truths.
It is important to eliminate our desire and ignorance and awaken to the truth. We should know that all of us have the same nature to categorize people and this is one of causes of our sufferings. All different people are living together on this same earth. We should not categories anyone. We should strive to understand each other. The Pope’s statement is in the direction of peace and harmony.
The Rev. Katsuya Kusunoki is the minister of the Buddhist Church of Lodi.