IntentionFrom a Buddhist perspective, there are many interrelated, interconnected scenarios rarely thought. On a prima fascia value, one wouldn’t presume any interconnection between Tony Stewart, Kevin Ward, the riots in Ferguson, Missouri and ISIS, but one thing connects us all: the power of intention.

Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. The world’s destiny is ultimately shaped by our deepest intentions and desires. The Upanishads declares, “You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.” The book of Proverbs states, “… as he thinketh in his heart, so is he …

Race car driver Kevin Ward’s death may have been avoided if Mr. Ward simply decided not to exit his vehicle, walk onto an active race car track and attempt to confront another driver. This statement is not a defense of Mr. Stewart, but if Ward’s personal intention didn’t lean toward confrontation, he’d probably be alive. But Ward appeared not to have such an intention.

Similarly, would ISIS purposely summarily execute so many people if their own heart had not been filled with such hatred? Would the Israeli’s, Palestinian’s or Ferguson, Missouri rioters? Each leader and fraction expounds aggression while appearing to bestow being the victim. As a result, aggressors appear to receive validation while acknowledging their own internal dialogue of hatred. Aggression always has a chaotic and primitive aspect: it leads down the proverbial rabbit hole and ceases only when wrath fizzles.

During World War II, Hitler accused the Jews of many things and attempted to project societal defects onto Jews. Thus, the intention begat a false need to eliminate the threat. Like the Nazi’s, like Mr. Ward, like all rioters, we shield ourselves in rage while simultaneously claiming a false defense. Then we have the gall to “tell” the world of our victimization, do exactly what we accuse of the other and protract our own fear of terror unto another while beating the shit out of anyone daring to disagree.

The same intention of fear and hatred not only linked Tony Stewart, Kevin Ward, the riots in Ferguson, Missouri and ISIS, but it permeates society as a whole.

A basic tenet of Zen practice is to do no harm to self or others. But to accomplish this, we must understand our personal nature and how we’re projecting intention. As a society, do any of us really intend not to harm another with actions and personal prejudices? When you look at others through a microscope of compassion, are you able to see humanity and internal love?

“We are reminded that awakening, or enlightenment is not the property of Buddhism, any more than Truth is the property of Christianity. Neither Buddha nor Christ belongs exclusively to the communities that were founded in their names. They belong to all people of goodwill, all who are attentive to the secret which lives in the depths of their breath and their consciousness.” 

~ Jean-Yves Leloup ~

Imagine the historical societal accomplishments should we change our intention? How about curing cancer or solving universal poverty? … etc., etc., etc. We have the power to answer every question and solve every problem. However, we cannot solve much, if anything, if our solution leads us only to the intention of hatred.

What is the power of your intention?