THICH HUYEN VI
THE SIX CONCORDS IN BUDDHISM
I propose to establish in this article that the observance of the six concords of Buddhism will promote peace and harmony among Buddhists and people of the world in general. Furthermore, I have tried to show that the non-observance of these six concords is the root of all evils that are found in the general run of men and women.
In everyday life there is nothing more dangerous than discord. It is the poison of everyday life and it separates people from one another. In a family if brothers are not living harmoniously, the relationship among them is broken. If husband and wife are not living in harmony the conjugal relation becomes sad. Their children must suffer because if they stay with their father they have to be away from their mother, and if they stay with their mother they must take leave of their father. Neighbors who are not on good terms with one another always find discontentment and do harm to one another. Nation which do not follow peaceful co-existence involve themselves in wars. As a result, people will have to undergo unbearable pains. Human beings who have no unity must reap the consequences of wars. They will destroy and ruin themselves.
Having seen the dangers of discord, we must look at the necessity of concord for living in peace ad amity.
We often hear the Chinese adage, “Concord is the Noblest Virtue” (I h’u weikuei). This simple sentence is wonderfully useful. Those who put it into practice can achieve all their small and big enterprises. On the contrary, they who neglect it will fail in their own actions.
Confucius the wise has said, “Good weather is less important than good geographical position; good geographical position is less important than mental unity of the people” (Tien shih Pu ju ti li, ti li Pu ju jen h’u). Thus, we see that the element of concord is most important in all affairs and in all organizations. A united family gives blessings to all its members; a nation in harmony enjoys a peaceful life. If human beings live in harmony, the world enjoys peace, the world being the vast body of countless human beings.
Shakyamuni Buddha preached six concords to humanity and showed their important in our day to day life.
Six concords are the six methods of peaceful co-existence, with all people materially and spiritually, in the body action as well as in the verbal action. If a man practices concord actively he achieves the way of emancipation which is the noblest and the perfect. A man living in discord passively and accepting both wrong and right does not get it. It is also not a means to serve one’s own interest. It is useful for all, it is a blessing for all. It rises above the personal and the impersonal. It does not allow us to think in terms of “I” and “others”.
What are the six concords? They are:
It means that we should live harmoniously under the same roof, in the same organization shoulder to shoulder in every circumstance, in sleeping, studying, walking and so on. While we live together like that, we must be in concord, without using force to maltreat one another. As brothers, wives, husbands and children live in a family, so we must live in concord, respecting one another.
We Buddhists live in the same temple, although we come from different families. Why? Because we are all children of the Buddha, having the same ideal and the same goal. We must first of all take concord into account and we must not sow the seeds of disunity among ourselves. We must not be proud of our strength and despise the strength of others.
If we are compatriots we must give the first place to concord and in no case should we cause our own ruin by dividing ourselves and becoming war lords fighting one another and killing one another. In Vietnam, we have a folk song:
Bầu ơi thương lấy bí cùng,
Tuy rầng khác giống nhưng Chung một giàn.
It means, “Oh! O calabash, you much love squash, though you are ò different races, you are on the same pergola”. Though calabash and squash are different, they live together on the same pergola. Similarly, Buddhists coming from different races and families must live together.
In the same way, though human beings on this earth are of different colors, such as black, white, yellow or red, they are all brothers. It is sheer non-sense to fight amongst ourselves.
In conclude, living in the same condition in the same state, in the same circumstances, we should always co-exist peacefully.
In order that we always remain friendly to our neighbors, we must speak a smooth and sweet language in every circumstance and we should not quarrel with one another.
Some practice bodily concord but do not do so in respect of speech. Others defeat one another verbally, find occasions to ridicule one another, tease one another, criticize one another, and all these result in fighting. A bitter word can wreck the conjugal life between husband and wife, the re4lationship which is regarded as sweet and lasting for long. Brothers and fathers, as well as sons, become strangers in their own house if they do not live in concord. In a society, too, a bad word can cause conflict which might involve all.
Therefore, the Buddha has said that bodily concord is not enough, but verbal concord is also necessary. This means we must speak gently and sweetly, we must not quarrel with one another. If we want to discuss some problems, we should use polite language to solve them because harsh language will produce bad results.
The Yogavacara School says, “Mind is the most important factor. It is the forerunner of all the dharma. It is the first cause of both good and bad actions” (Kung Wei shou, tsui Wei hsien). Therefore, in a family or in an organization everyone should take care of his mind and thoughts. If the mind is good, the body and the tongue can easily be controlled. On the contrary, if the mind is bad, the body and the tongue will never be controlled. Sometimes we try very hard to control them and sometimes we live in harmony out of fear from some powerful persons, but this harmony is not genuine, and it is like a surface of color on rotten wood. Once the hatred inside becomes strong enough it will express itself through the blows of hands or feet, like the painted wood which becomes visibly rotten once the color of its surface fades out.
The Buddha, having clearly understood, it preaches us to cultivate the concord of mind in order to co-exist happily. To cultivate the concord of mind we must practice the law of sympathy and equanimity. That is, we have to throw away ill-will and hatred and we should not pick holes in others cost. Thus, our mind becomes calm and serene, and our thoughts become clear and decisive. Therefore, we must try to plant the seeds of Sympathy and Equanimity.
In an organization or in a group that is well disciplined, morality and good conduct always reign. In Buddhism, each man, according to his own duty and hierarchy, has to follow small or great commandment. The laity keeps the five commandments (Pancasila), the Samanera ten precepts (Dasisila), the Bhikshu two hundred and fifty precepts (250-sila), and the Bhikshu three hundred and forty-eight precepts (348-sila) and so on. (1)
When meeting others or living together we must observe the precepts according to our own position in the hierarchy. In the same rank we should keep the same precepts and we must be confused in keeping this precept or giving up that. If this undisciplined exists in any society it will be destroyed. The Buddha exhorts rightly, “When a Buddha lives with another Buddhist both of them must keep the same precepts, each taking care of the other according to his own echelon”.
Boarding speaking, a Buddhist family, a society, etc… must always observe some rules which would act as a guiding force. In a school, if students do not observe the discipline of the school, and if they enter or go out whenever they want to study or play according to their fancy, then the school cannot run smoothly. If in the Youth Buddhist Association, the members want to set privately without observing its discipline and without following the guidance of the leaders, this Youth Buddhist Association must come to an end. In a society, if the members are undisciplined and divided into many groups and if they think that they are greater and that the observance of the precepts with the lower is not necessary, and if they think that they are rich and it is no need to observe the discipline with the poor, and lastly, if they think that they are scholars and it is useless to follow the rules with the ignorant people, then this society is bound to die out.
It may be taken into account in conclusion that, if people belonging to any group, whether secular or religious, never practice the rule or follow the plan together, they cannot live with one another happily. Therefore, it is advisedly expedient to observe the rules of discipline of that particular group and try to live in peace and harmony.
Every man understands something or discovers some points. It is his bounden duty to explain it to other people who live with him. Thus, peoples’ frontiers of knowledge will extend, their life will progress and they will not find it difficult to live together. If we do not explain to others what we discover, we are not only selfish but we become a veritable obstacle in the path of feeling sympathetic towards others. Selfishness is the root cause of separation, disunity and hatred. If everybody sees and thinks separately, thus, causing doubt and trouble in society, it is very difficult for a man to be believed by all.
The Buddhist Doctrine has many noble dharma different from one another. Each of us may look at them from different points of view and it is not always sure that we know the true nature of the Dharma. In each circumstances, without making clear one’s viewpoint, it is difficult to live harmoniously with one another in society.
As for instance, food and other prerequisites must be equally divided or must be used equally and in no case they should be enjoyed privately.
While we are living together if some prerequisites are offered to us like food, medicine, clothe and so on, we must give them in equal share to all members. That is, all members must obtain their portion equally, without favoritism for one or the other or without any partiality. Millions and millions of persons can live happily if they practice it. But even if the number of persons living together is less, they cannot live in peace if they practice favoritism.
If a society has many classes it is due to the lack of concord of distributing the interest. The rich possess too much and the poor possess too little. Some enjoy vast lands and some do not even have a hut for shelter. In such circumstance it is impossible to attain peace. The proletariat are against the capitalist, and the poor nation’s dispute with the rich ones. It is not good. If humanity understand that riches in the world are like dewdrops upon the top of the flower, fame is like foam on the river, the difference between the poor and the rich will be bridged and human beings will begin to think in terms of peace.
In an altruistic and compassionate spirit and with wisdom knowing the impermanence of the world, the Buddha exhorts, “Having gains and interests, we must share with one another, or strictly, we must equally benefit from what we possess”. Thus, peace-loving people must follow this advice.
In order to have a brief idea of the six concords the following essentials of the teachings of Lord Buddha should be paid heed to:
1) Let us live harmoniously, let us help each other and let us not crush one another.
2) Let us speak with each other gently and lovingly. While discussing some problems, we must try to discuss them in amity and peace.
3) Let us think for the good of all. Let us cultivate the virtues of sympathy and forgiveness. Let us not hate one another.
4) Let us observe the same precepts, let us be guided by them, without them no society can stay.
5) Let us share our knowledge with one another. Our ideas must be given to our neighbors. The more advanced must lake the duty of guiding the backwards on the way to enlightenment.
6) Let us share all the gains and interests with others equally, let everybody be happy and content.
The six concords above, if correctly followed in a family, father, mother, brothers, sisters can be happy. Our life ill progress. The country will be prosperous, strong and peaceful; the world will be blessed if they are observed.
If we Buddha’s observe them we will be on the path leading to emancipation. Emancipation can be achieved, and Nirvana will not remain a dream only.
May you be well and happy?