In the November 2016 issue of Lion’s Roar, nine Buddhist teachers and writers offer their thoughts on how to be a good citizen in these troubled political times. For, Shinso Ito, being a good citizen comes down to how we behave in our daily interactions and personal relationships.
How we treat others in our routine interactions is the most important part of being a good citizen. Through our personal relationships, we can bring out the best in ourselves.
Our Buddhist community, Shinnyo-en, was founded by my parents, Shinjo and Tomoji Ito. In their early years their home doubled as a temple, and people were constantly gathering in Tomoji’s kitchen as she cooked. Members of our community today draw on the example she set. The simple yet powerful behaviors she lived by have become known as the Kitchen Sermons.
Some examples are:
Be gentle, yet strong.
Do not bring sadness to people.
Reflect upon yourself before criticizing others.
Smile when you talk to people.
Treat people with respect. Put yourself in their place.
Sharing with others the joy of living in wisdom and compassion is a spiritual practice, which helps bring out our own true self as good citizens.