Prejudice -偏見 - Piānjiàn
No mother considers their child
to be ugly.
no one is truly indifferent
in relation to one's self.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
We all should be familiar with prejudice. It comes in many forms, disguising itself as nationalism, chauvinism, provincialism, or racism. The common denominator is ignorance. Many of us are aghast at these kinds of injustices. As long as prejudice exists, we declare that mutual understanding is impossible.
This way of thinking is also prejudicial, and it negatively impacts our ability to know ourselves. We are prone to valuing comfort over compassion, ease over effort. We favor our selves primarily, taking care of our own needs first and foremost. Our bodily needs are indulged at a moment's notice. Sensual experience is embraced as the path to knowledge; lustful ambition advances a narcissistic agenda. When we are sick, no one else can feel the pain as vividly as us. When we are satisfied, we are alone in our ecstasy. When we near our final days, no one else clings onto the cliff's edge as stubbornly. We are in the business of vehemently denying what lies right before our face.
As long as we remain slaves to appetite, we cannot dedicate ourselves to spiritual cultivation. We must transcend the rewards comfort provides; struggle is the path to success. Our spiritual quest must not end on some mountaintop or sacred shrine. As long as intellectual ideas trump experience, we will never understand the way. As long as we remain separate individuals, apart from the universe at large, we shall never understand oneness.
A mother naturally sees her child as beautiful. She has created life, but the child is not herself. We are inevitably partial to ourselves, our own creations. If we seek to reach any sort of spiritual summit, we must comfort and resolve this fundamental prejudice.