Temple of Peace

Group paralysis

Sawaki Rôshi:

When a person is alone, he's not so bad. When a group is formed, paralysis occurs, and people become so confused that they cannot judge what is right and wrong. Some people go into a group situation on purpose, just to experience group paralysis, even paying a fee. Often people advertise in order to bring people together for some political or spiritual purpose and only create group paralysis. Buddhsit practitioners keep some distance from society, not to escape from it, but to avoid paralysis.

Uchiyama Rôshi:

In Buddhism, the problem of delusion is often mentioned. The importance of the various forms of delusion has differed from one period to another. In ancient India, the biggest delusion was thought to be sex, so Buddhist practitioners tried hard to repress their sexual desires.

Dogen Zenji said, "Attachment to fame is worse than violating one of the precepts," and he regarded chasing after fame and wealth as the worst form of delusion because in his day, many Buddhist preist in Nara, and on Mts Koya and Hiei competed with each other for fame and wealth.

Practitioners must be aware of the delusions of sexual desire and chasing after fame and wealth. But by coining the term "group paralysis" Sawaki Roshi has pointed out a major delusion of modern times. Today men and women live their lives relying on groups and organizations and simply drift along in them without forming any real roots. Buddhism is the practice of waking up from all forms of delusion, of opening the "clear eyes of the self".

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