While yesterday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon weren’t on the same scale as the September 11 attacks, the emotions that arose, for many, were similar. This teaching, given by Zen teacher Norman Fischer just days after 9/11, might be helpful in working with them.
“There are some people who wonder how there could be such evil in this world. How human beings could, generation after generation, perpetrate such acts. But I do not wonder about that. To me it seems so very much ingrained in who and what we are. To speak in theological terms, it’s not that evil is out of God’s control and that we, on God’s side, have to overcome it. Good and evil exist on the same plane and operate by the same calculus. Evil is good covered over. Wherever we ourselves, in our confusion and in our unwillingness to look at life as it actually is, with all its pain and difficulty, commit acts of evil, we add to the covering. And whenever we have the courage and the calmness to be with life as it is, and therefore, inevitably, to do good, then we remove the cover. We transform evil into good. This is the human capacity. Evil is not a part of reality that can be excised, cast out and overcome. Evil is a constant part of our world because there is only one world, there is only one life, and all of us share in it.”