Being Helpful

10417567_783160115074276_6750230268034286062_nOnce we cultivate compassion —the intense desire to reduce the suffering of others— we must discern at every moment how we can be most helpful: thinking positive thoughts, offering prayers, speaking helpful words, performing beneficial acts, dedicating merit, or even just remaining peaceful and doing absolutely nothing.

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Buddha’s Offspring

maitreya2008AThose whose seed is aspiration for the supreme path,

whose mother is wisdom, source of all Buddha qualities,

for whom peace is a comfortable womb and compassion a skilled nanny,

are born as Buddha’s sons and daughters.

—Maitreya, Uttaratantra

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Buddhist Views

Screen Shot 2014-03-08 at 9.18.27 AMThe various Buddhist views of reality are not competing with or refuting each other.

They are indispensable at various times, and for different persons. They are necessary while helpful.

There is an orderly progression, from Vaibhasika realism, through Sautrantika subtle realism, Chittamatrika idealism, and Madhyamika self-emptiness, to the realization of Maha Madhyamika other-emptiness. 

If we grasp at these stages as “The Truth”, we lose the view, and become attached to a blind belief.

tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

OM, it is thus: Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone perfectly beyond, to enlightenment!

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danger_feThese are karmic consequences in accord with the cause:

Killing leads to short duration of life;

Theft leads to lacking possessions and enjoyments;

Sexual misconduct leads to much enmity;

Lying leads to being maligned by others;

Slander causes friends to turn against me;

Harsh words ripen as hearing unpleasant statements;

Frivolous speech ripens as being disregarded by others;

Covetousness leads to disappointment;

Malice ripens as pain and fear; and

Wrong views ripen as stupidity and ignorance.

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To Love Even More

Gyalse_Thogme_ZangpoEven if one I’ve lovingly cared for

like my own child, regards me as an enemy,

to love him even more, as a mother loves a sick child,

is the practice of a Bodhisatva.

Tokme Zangpo

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Real Mindfulness

1450338_10152031390726154_459745116_nA mindful act requires, besides attention to the present moment, that we know clearly:

  1. how this particular act furthers our spiritual aspirations;
  2. that it is appropriate at this time, in this place and circumstance;
  3. that it can and will be performed with grace, dignity, and restraint; and
  4. that it can be accomplished without further elaboration regarding the agent, the act, and the recipient.
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Buddha-Weekly-0buddhist-rebirth-wheel-of-samsaraOur view of the continuum of cause and effect in our and others’ lives is narrow and shallow —and necessarily so, given our limited momentary perspective. While we do know that there is no effect without a cause, we cannot easily identify where in the continuum of action any particular cause may be found.

The actions that we perform now will produce their specific effects sooner or later, and the seeds of our current experience may have been planted recently or long ago. These seeds only fructify when ancillary conditions favor their expression, just like an acorn requires earth, moisture, and sunlight to sprout.

The continuum of our experience reaches far into the past and will stretch far into the future, until full enlightenment. What is most important now and always is to live this moment with kindness and compassion.

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