The Chinese zodiac symbol for this year is the Yang-Water Dragon. According to the ancient Chinese philosophy of yin and yang and the five elements, yang-water signifies the ocean and the great rivers while the Dragon, rules the morning. Thus the Yang-Water Dragon symbolizes bright prospects similar to the rise of the dawning sun over the vast ocean of human nature. We hope that 2012 to be a good year that will shed light on many things.
Our guideline this year is to create harmony amid diversity. Just as a symphony orchestra is comprised of many instruments, of varied sounds and timbre. When playing together in oneness, they create a sonic harmony, where we appreciate the combined harmonies more than the individual players. A choir is formed of many individual voices of different character and tonality, but when brought together, produce sounds that are far more impacting and energy-filled than the individuals by themselves. In this same way, the combined energies of all the different people of the world, when brought together towards a greater goal, can produce a result beyond comprehension. This is the vision of the world we strive to achieve.
For our daily practice, beginning to create harmony amid diversity, can be achieved through two parallel paths of action:
1) Take a step of loving kindness toward the future
We have a responsibility to ensure the next generation can also share in the blessings of this beautiful planet. We should step forward to serve society by safeguarding all life, no matter how small, as we act with a compassion for all and aim to build peace.“Toward the future” means to encourage all of us to create a world of lasting happiness filled with hope, and to make that hope a reality for more than just the present, but also for the future children for many generations. Strive to learn from your past as you rise to the challenges of the present.
When we truly devote ourselves to the benefit of all people equally, we will be reciprocating for all we have received and feel the joy of practice without being self-centered. In this way, there are no enemies to be found, as we are all one people again, learning to live together in one place.
2) Attain a deeper appreciation
of the transcendent
Having and developing a deep appreciation of one’s foundation, or life roots, can create something new and bring it to life. Esoteric buddhism teaches of a transcendent force that activates the values the Dharma or laws of life, and helps us awaken to its many greater truths.
Meditation and reflection, both by yourself and through guidance, leads you towards embracement of all things good and bad that happen to you. That experience leads you towards discovering your own hidden pure nature and helps you set your potential for good actions, thoughts and words free. We can then explore this potential and draw on our experiences, especially our struggles, to change ourselves for the better.
By further letting others see our enlightened spirit through conscientious service for others, we share these feelings of selflessness and compassion for others and demonstrate personally how others can take their own first steps from out of their worlds of shadow and discontent and into a brighter and more contented experience that exists in the very same place. This is the base principle of creating Heaven on Earth.