Archive for October, 2010

03
Oct
10

common sense


COMMON SENSE

The basis of Buddhist practice is not merely sitting in silent meditation, but common sense. If we behave arrogant and selfish, what can we expect from the people around us?
A nice explanation from Taming the Mind by Thubten Chodron:

“After your morning meditation, have breakfast. Greeting your family in the morning is also part of Dharma practice. Many people are grumpy in the morning. They sit at the breakfast table, pouring over the newspaper or reading the back of the cereal box for the umpteenth time. When their bright-eyed children greet them, they grunt and, without looking up, keep reading. When their partner asks them a question, they don’t respond, or they glance at them for a moment with a look that says, “Don’t bother me.” Later, they wonder why they have problems in the family!
…. It’s easy to bark orders at your children, “Get up!” “Brush your teeth!” “Why are you wearing that? It looks terrible! Change clothes!” “Stop playing around and eat breakfast.” “Hurry up and get to school. You’re late.” Many children will react as unruly subordinates when treated in this way. But if you greet your children with love and firmly help them navigate everything in their morning routine, they’ll be happier and so will you.”

His Holiness the Dalai Lama from A Policy of Kindness:

When we practice, initially, as a basis we control ourselves, stopping the bad actions which hurt others as much as we can. This is defensive. After that, when we develop certain qualifications, then as an active goal we should help others. In the first stage, sometimes we need isolation while pursuing our own inner development; however, after you have some confidence, some strength, you must remain with, contact, and serve society in any field — health, education, politics, or whatever.

There are people who call themselves religious-minded, trying to show this by dressing in a peculiar manner, maintaining a peculiar way of life, and isolating themselves from the rest of society. That is wrong. A scripture of mind-purification (mind-training) says, “Transform your inner viewpoint, but leave your external appearance as it is.” This is important. Because the very purpose of practicing the Great Vehicle is service for others, you should not isolate yourselves from society. In order to serve, in order to help, you must remain in society.

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