Saturday, November 04, 2006

Altruism as Essential Spiritual Practice


"So in a sense we could say that the practice of generating and cultivating the altruistic intention is so comprehensive that it contains the essential elements of all other spiritual practices." [1]

In Buddhism, we train in ethics, in concentration, and in wisdom. An aspect of wisdom is to see through our motives to discern whether we are acting out of altruism or veiled greed, in other words ethically or unethically. Concentration is the tool required for such penetrating insight.

Shantideva writes,
As long as space endures,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world. [1]

It is the deepest, most important, part of our practice as Buddhists to generate this pure altruistic intention for every single thought we have, every single action we perform, every single word we say. We awaken in the morning with the intention to help all beings (note how this is not limited to humans!) in everything we do. We lie down to sleep, thankful for every moment during our day in which our thoughts, words, and actions were altruistically based, and repentant of every instance in which we acted out of greed, hatred, or delusion. There is no judgment, only sorrow over the harm we caused others by our noncompassionate action, and a further vow to dispel the sufferings of every single being with whom we come in contact. In the morning, we begin anew, vowing to base every moment of our lives on compassionate wisdom.

1-Minute Contemplation: Before you go to bed this evening, take 1 minute to contemplate your thoughts, words, and actions throughout the day. Were they based on compassion and love? Or were they based on your selfish ego? Maybe your intent seemed compassionate but a little probing reveals that it was simply veiled greed. See the harm you caused others through your egotistical acts and vow to base every action, every thought, on compassion and love. Leave a note for yourself so that in the morning, you remember to rededicate yourself to pure compassionate action in every moment of the day.



[1] Transforming the Mind. His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 2000.


1 comments:

sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.


Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.


When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.



A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.



FAST VISUALS /WORDS MAKE SLOW EMOTIONS EXTINCT.

SCIENTIFIC /INDUSTRIAL /FINANCIAL THINKING DESTROYS EMOTIONAL CIRCUITS.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY CANNOT FEEL PAIN / REMORSE / EMPATHY.

A FAST (LARGE) SOCIETY WILL ALWAYS BE CRUEL TO ANIMALS/ TREES/ AIR/ WATER/ LAND AND TO ITSELF.


To read the complete article please follow either of these links :

PlanetSave

EarthNewsWire


sushil_yadav