Wind Moving, Mind Moving

Student: When we were in a bus, the person behind us was coughing non-stop. My friend was so upset that this person didn't wear a mask. She said: "Didn't he know that this is rude, inconsiderate, and, above all, not hygienic? He is so selfish." This thought kept spinning in my friend's mind, and it turned into an argument with me. I told her that maybe he didn't have a mask with him. Sifu, if you were there, how would you respond to my friend? Do you think she was being selfish?

Sifu: If I were you, I would keep a few masks in my bag so that I could offer him a mask. I would tell him nicely: "May you get well soon and enjoy good health."

Commentary: We have a kong-an about two monks arguing in a temple about whether a flag was moving or the wind was moving. The Six Patriarch was there and he said to the two monks: "No, it is neither the flag nor the wind that is moving. It's your mind that is moving." Our mind very often unmindfully picks up an outside situation, identifies it as "I, mine, me", and starts fighting with others who do not share our view. This is a common source of conflicts. If we stop holding and fighting, then we will be able to see how we can use the situation to help each other, which would in turn bring harmony to this world.