Posted by: Upāsaka Subhavi | 12/08/2012

Putting Others’ Wants Before My Own

Temple of the Emerald Buddha

It’s Saturday and despite having slept in I’m feeling run-down and tired. While meditating this morning I conceived this idea to experiment with putting the needs and wants of others first as I realized that my mind was racing and recoiling from all of the family events we had scheduled today (and, no, there wasn’t much concentration during my ten minute monkey-mind marathon). Now I know that this (or a variant of it) is a common practice in Vajrayana but I’ve always gotten the feeling that to engage in such comparisons between myself and others was a form of conceit which we were warned against by the Buddha  But, as I actually formulate my understanding in words, I see that this has nothing to do with the conceit of I am better, worse or the same as anyone else and more with not giving in to my own kilesas and cravings to do what I want when and how I want it.

I suspect that this practice is going to be supremely difficult so at first I’m only going to try it for a week and I’ll need to set up very narrow guidelines to avoid confusing or abusing myself. Here goes my first attempt:

1. I will not complain or otherwise betray my unhappiness when someone expresses a desire to do something I don’t like.

2. I will assent to do anything provided it does not interfere with my duties as a husband, father, boss, etc.

3. I will endeavor to cultivate mudita when acquiescing to do what I am asked.

4. I will cultivate appreciation for my ability to bring some modicum of happiness others.

Written out it doesn’t sound near as hard nor as inspiring but let us see how it goes until next Saturday. Sabbe satta sukhita hotu!


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  1. Good luck, this time last year I attended the Vipassana and got a lot from it. But it is hard to maintain in day to day life.

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