The Butterfly Effect

“Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?“ is the title of a famous speech by meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz; it’s a part of the Chaos theory. Science hasn’t answered this question yet.

But in Buddhism, there are very similar concepts that have been taught for a very long time. Buddhism is separated into many branches, but one common teaching is the “Three Marks of Existence,” and one of them is “anattā (no-self).” Mahayana Buddhism explains this as “emptiness,” and also “dependent arising,” which means “there is no individual existence, everything is interconnected.”

In the famous Avatamsaka Sutra (Flower Garland Sutra), it is explained as the perception of “all is one, one is all, all is everything.” It even explains that “one particle of dust includes the whole universe,” which means, even though the movement of one finger, you can affect the whole universe. Because nothing is separate and everything affects everyone.

At Tao Sangha, we cultivate a sensibility of Ki (energy), which is a primitive sense that we all have and that everyone can feel. If you cultivate this sense, you’ll understand that we all subconsciously radiate energy all the time. When you are in a happy mood, you radiate happy Ki (positive, warm, comfortable energy), and if you are in an unhappy mood, the unhappy Ki extends out into the world (negative, cold, uncomfortable energy; Jaki). And so in Tao Sangha, we practice to be aware of our own Ki all the time.

I talked about holding ego in a previous blog, and if someone is not holding ego, such emotions as anger, fear, greed, jealousy, judgment, and being above others, etc., radiate out into the world as energy.

If the flap of a butterfly’s wings can create a disaster on the other side of the planet, how much does your negative energy affect the world?

I remorse, because I spread so much negativity into this world.
I practice holding ego so that I don’t damage others, the field, and the world, but I still do this sometimes.

I want to be responsible for the negative energy in this world because of all the times I allowed my ego to get the better of me when it whispered in my ear and said, “That’s not your negativity, everybody does it. Don’t worry about it.” This is a temptation. As Jesus fought with the devil for 40 days and nights, as Shakyamuni Buddha fought with Mara (a demonic celestial king), so too we need to be aware of and conquer these same temptations, and it can happen to anyone at any given moment.

Evil’s only weapon is to tempt us and stimulate our ego. As Napoleon Hill wrote, evil uses fear to stimulate our ego and control us.

Let’s repel evil’s temptations and continue to hold ego. Then we can start to live the mission of our life.

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