Testing Our Plans

816ST+oXa6L._SL1200_Everyday life demands a certain level of planning and goal-setting. After all, we need to secure shelter, food, and other necessities; provide for our dependents; and be able to practice generosity.

As Buddhists, however, it is important to make sure that our planning and goal-setting are aligned with the Dharma. This entails that we review our plans in light of the three essential aspects of the Path: avoid harm, do good, and purify the mind.

Thus, we should ask ourselves whether our plans violate or will induce violations of the 5 Precepts against killing, stealing, lying, sexual misconduct, and intoxication. If such is the case, we must adjust or abandon them.

Next, we should examine whether such plans will allow us to develop the Ten Perfections: generosity, morality, patience, effort, concentration, discernment, aspiration, skillful means, liberating power, and non-dual wisdom.

Finally, we should discern whether our goals and plans foster or impede the cultivation of the Four Immeasurables: love, compassion, rejoicing in the virtue and happiness of others, and equanimity.

After subjecting our goals and plans to these three tests, we can embrace them wholeheartedly, while always remembering that our fundamental goal —the only one that is truly important and necessary— is complete enlightenment.

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Consequences

15726784_1252205801512964_2640775987217528107_nThese 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.

Wrong views ripen as stupidity and ignorance.

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As You Are

omphAs you are, so are others.

As others are, so are you.

Having thus identified self and others,

never harm anyone, nor abuse any being.

Train yourself in doing good

that lasts and brings happiness.

Cultivate generosity, the life of peace,

and a mind of infinite universal love.

―Buddha Shakyamuni

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Insubstantial

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Pleasure is insubstantial.

The cessation of pleasure is pain.

Pain is insubstantial.

The cessation of pain is pleasure.

—Ippen Shonin

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No Power To Cleanse

17992325_420630691644418_7444085101279218524_nBetter than the slaughtering of animals is the sacrifice of self.

Those who offer up their unwholesome desires

will see the uselessness of butchering animals at the altar.

Blood has no power to cleanse,

but the giving up of harmful actions will make the heart whole.

Better than worshipping gods is following the way of goodness.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Digha Nikaya

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Not Me, Not Mine

13880131_819563638143113_6430162870348043192_nSurely, whatever form, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that form must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

Surely, whatever feeling, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that feeling must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

Surely, whatever perception, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that perception must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

Surely, whatever mental formations, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all those mental formations must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: ‘These are not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

Surely, whatever consciousness, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that consciousness must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Anatta-lakkhana Sutta

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Best

imagesThe best spiritual teacher is one who attacks yours hidden faults.

The best instructions are the ones that hit those faults.

The best friends are mindfulness and vigilance.

The best incentives are enemies, obstacles, and sufferings of illness.

The best method is not to fabricate anything.

―Atisha

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