Posted by: Upāsaka | 08/29/2019

When Should It Be Done

Before undertaking any course of action I should ask myself three things:

  1. Will this act strengthen me or lead to weakness in body and mind?
  2. Will this act be for my long term benefit and gain?
  3. Is this act motivated by greed (lust), hatred or delusion?

It seems so simple when it’s enumerated like this and yet how many times since I awoke today have I chosen short-term pleasure that is based on greed and leads only to weakness? Too many.

May I always remember to ask these questions before I think, speak or act.


Responses

  1. I actually think our actions should be based on doing the greatest amount of good for the most amount of people for the longest amount of time. Doing anything for me myself and I is not the point of Buddhism.

    QP

    • Thank you for sharing my friend. I, myself, defer to Lord Buddha who is reported to have said:

      “[The Buddha said:]
      Just like the assistant Medakathalika said to her master:
      “I will look after myself,”
      so should you, monks, practice the establishment of mindfulness.
      You should (also) practice the establishment of mindfulness (by saying)
      “I will look after others.”

      Looking after oneself, one looks after others.
      Looking after others, one looks after oneself.

      And how does one look after others by looking after oneself?
      By practicing (mindfulness), by developing (it), by doing (it) a lot.
      And how does one look after oneself by looking after others?
      By patience, by non-harming, by loving kindness, by caring (for others).
      (Thus) looking after oneself, one looks after others;
      and looking after others, one looks after oneself.”

      https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn47/sn47.019.olen.html

      • Interesting what we have really found here is one of the more important differences between the Theravada and Mahayana schools. In Mahayana the others are many and I am only one.

        QP

      • If you think about it there is really only a difference in emphasis. For example, how could Lord Buddha have become a sammasambuddha of he hadn’t spent eons perfecting his paramis? If we are yet stuck in the mud we cannot help anyone to cross. I, myself, have Mahayana aspirations but I feel it would be insincere and unhelpful if I don’t first get my own heart and mind in order. Every good blessing to you!

      • Yes, you are correct the difference is one of emphasis. However in today’s world we needn’t think of ourselves anymore than we already do. Whereas thinking about others is a clear and present deficiency. We will naturally without any effort take care of ourselves but the reverse is not so.

      • I’m not sure I agree. If I am not heedful of the quality of my heart and of the nature of my intentions I will surely fail to cultivate sila, samadhi and pañña. It is a matter of skillfulness in my opinion. This illusionary self is like the raft we use to cross the flood; it would be foolish to cast it aside in the middle of the river.

      • Yes, a pure motivation is required and therefor an integral part of the bodhisattva practice. There is no need to cast the self away until the last moment before enlightenment. The self or ego can be a very important and powerful tool to use to benefit others. One must however cast away the veils that cloud minds deepest awareness. This is really the key.

        Blessings to you as well

      • Yes, but I am yet fast from being able to do so. Thank you for your friendship and insight. May we practice well and be of benefit to numberless beings! Mettacittena!

      • You are closer than you think, my dear dharma friends, much closer. Speaking of practice it’s time for me to sit and meditate for the benefit of all beings.

        😉


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