The increasing frequency of mass shootings here in America is alarming, but it’s like an alarm that doesn’t stop. Eventually, people get used to it and ignore it.

It’s been just more than a month since the shooting in Gilroy, and, for most Americans, it’s old news. Many are losing — due to repetition and fatigue — the sense of urgency they felt about addressing the problem. They are also losing the trust and goodwill they shared toward those who are different, such as immigrants. If we don’t do something to reverse this trend, leaders who trade in fear and xenophobia will find larger audiences to cheer them on.

I recently moved to Half Moon Bay and discovered a Burmese Buddhist Center at the south end of town. While attending an evening meditation, I heard the Abbot, Bhante Osadha, give a teaching about loving kindness. He taught that when one practices loving kindness, the effect is immediate and pervasive. Not only can it transform a person’s inner experience, it can also enhance his or her moral clarity and commitment to other forms of activism, as it has for me.

The cultivation of loving kindness is a good starting point from which a long-term solution to the problem of mass shootings will emerge; and it is something we can all do, starting today.

A lecture on the cultivation of loving kindness will be presented from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on October 5, at the Dhammananda Vihara, a.k.a Theravada Buddhist Society of America, located at 17450 S. Cabrillo Highway, just south of Half Moon Bay. 

It’s across from the Cowell Ranch beach access parking lot. For more information, or call (650) 452-2636.

— Moshe Heyn, Half Moon Bay

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