False power and phony greatness are easily observed in the world around us. Powerful cartels promote slanted versions of truth in politics, entertainment and religion. People obtain temporary positions of influence through aggressive, false egotistical manipulations. Such phony authority cannot endure; it is lost as quickly as it is obtained. Lasting power and authentic greatness come from being in harmony with dharma, with what is right.
The Buddha teaches us a different way of acquiring and using power leading to true greatness and enduring influence. The Buddha’s teaching shows how to derive power from modesty, justice, gentleness and equanimity. And it shows us how to use that power to attain beneficial results for all.
We can increase our power through dharma by purifying our thoughts and actions. Contemplation and practice of higher principles opens doors to greater possibilities. Alignment with what is true and good grants insight into people and situations, and the power to resolve them favorably.
Anyone who sincerely and energetically practices the Buddha’s teaching experiences dramatic progress in all areas of life. But it is critical to remember the source of that strength. If the ego takes over and misuses the power at hand, the ensuing misfortune will be great.
The Buddha counsels us not to misuse our strength by judging, condemning, punishing, manipulating or dismissing others. It advises reticence in speech and action. More often than not, truly superior power relies on stillness and nonaction, allowing inner truth to penetrate gently to the heart of the difficulty.
The Buddha also cautions us to wait patiently for the appropriate time for speech or action. Power is often like too much money in the hands of a fool. It can make us eager to act, but action without mature realization unbalances us and leads us into trouble. By listening carefully and patiently to the Buddha’s teaching and contemplating its deep wisdom we can know when to wait, when to advance and when to retreat.
True greatness comes only to those in whom strength and proper principles are firmly united. If you follow the Buddhas and persevere steadfastly in dharma—what is noble and correct—you will inherit their power and greatness.