The monks know us better than we do.

Sometimes temples can be more than just pretty places to visit and pray. They can be a place to have delicious breakfast or the best spot to grab good bubble tea too!

And sometimes they can be a source of inspiration that makes us reflect on our lives, particularly our online lives.

Case in point, Japanese Twitter user BISUKO EZAKI recently posted these three photos from the Higashi Honganji Buddhist Temple in Kyoto:

“Three great teachings for the Internet.”
(Sign translations below)

The translations of the signs are, from left to top to bottom:

You are free to think it
You don’t necessarily have to 
Say it or show it

It’s because you are
Not satisfied with yourself
That you cannot bear to see
Happiness in others

“I am right”
The seeds of conflict
Are here

While it probably wasn’t the temple’s intention to put up handwritten signs for the Internet itself, they are still just as applicable to people’s virtual lives as their real-life ones.

In fact, the three messages line up almost too well for the tendencies that social media has to bring out the worst in humanity: people saying things without thinking how it affects others, the motivations for trolls, and the information bubbles that are all too easy to get trapped in.

Here’s what Japanese netizens had to say:

“Those are words to live by.”
“I’ve fallen victim to #2 many times.”
“I struggle with #3 often. Admitting when you’re wrong is part of being an adult.”
“For me it’s #1 that I have trouble with, always regretting things.”
“If you read them in reverse order, it almost sounds like someone being talked out of saying something awful.”

Perhaps that’s something that we can try as netizens ourselves, the next time we’re tempted to spew something particularly poisonous online. We can remember that by doing so we’re planting seeds of conflict, probably missing some sort of happiness in ourselves, and then maybe choose to not express that negativity, using the energy to create a positive instead.

After all, we don’t want to let down the omen of good things to come, the peace-sign potato!

Source: Twitter/@ppg_5623V via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Twitter/@ppg_5623V
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