Recently I came across a great insight of Buddha which, if practised, can bring a lot of peace and happiness to the world. The insight goes like this:
“It is better to do nothing than to do what is wrong. For whatever you do, you do to yourself.”
This maxim could be a guiding star for everyone who is eager to do something in the world, change the world or create a revolution. The “do-gooders” are the people who disturb the equilibrium of life because they don’t know what is good, what is to be done to change the undesirable situation in the world but they are compelled to do something because they cannot sit quietly.
There are two critical insights in this sutra. First, stop acting unconsciously and second, whatever you do is going to fall back on you. So become acutely aware of your actions.
It needs another enlightened person like Osho to dive into the deeper meaning of Buddha’s words. What does it mean to do nothing? Is it idleness? Osho explains it is very difficult to do really nothing. It is not merely a physical inactivity, to do nothing means to be so still, so silent, that there is no action within or without, no thought even, no desire. And one will have to be very conscious if one wants to do really “nothing” at all levels. It is incredible, the wrong can be done only when you are unconscious. The definition of the wrong and the right is not moralistic. There are no fixed principles like “This is right, and that is wrong”. You need an inner criterion so that you can judge what is right, what is wrong. It can’t be predetermined because life goes on changing. What is wrong one day may be right another day; what is wrong this moment may be right another moment. So you cannot label actions as right or wrong. Situations change, you change, people change. This is why the inner light of awareness and clarity is needed. You don’t have to go to anyone else to ask for their opinion.
If you are conscious and not doing anything, that is far better than doing something wrong, because doing something wrong means you are unconscious. And there is a deeper reason why unconscious action should be avoided. If you destroy others, you cannot remain happy. For the existence is a circle. Every action has a reaction which is equal and opposite. If you harm people, the harm will come back to you. If you love people, the love will come back to you. The world goes on echoing back, reflecting back. The world gives you only that which you have given in the first place to the world. Following this existential law, always remember, whatever you do, you do to yourself. If everyone lives with this awareness and responsibility the world will be a paradise to live in.