There is no fire like greed.
There is no crime like hatred.
There is no sorrow like bondage to this world.
There is no happiness like freedom.
Health is the greatest blessing.
Contentment is the best of riches.
Trust is the best of relationships.
Peace is the highest happiness.
—Buddha Shakyamuni, Dharmapada
The mind is spinning around
about carrying out a lot of useless projects.
It’s a waste. Give it up!
Thinking about the hundred plans you want to accomplish,
with never enough time to finish them,
just weighs down your mind.
You’re completely distracted
by all these projects, which never come to an end,
but keep spreading out more, like ripples in water.
Don’t be a fool. For once, just sit tight.
The usual has a way of becoming reified as well as invisible. Like fish in water, when we are home we do not see our surroundings for what they are, and we come to believe that this is what reality is truly like. We do not question the norm.
Leaving home forces us to look at the environment more critically, and we start to realize that what we thought was natural is merely conventional —it is just what happens habitually in that specific place we call home.
Dharma teachings recommend leaving home, but it need not be taken literally. Leaving home is fundamentally developing a mind that questions the reality of habitual perceptions and recognizes the difference between what is natural and what is merely normal.
I have taught the Way without making distinctions
between open and secret teachings.
In truth, there must be no such thing
as the closed fist of the teacher,
withholding some essential knowledge from the student.
Secrecy is characteristic of false doctrine.
—Buddha Sakyamuni, Digha Nikaya
It is in this way that we must train:
by liberation through love.
We will develop love, we will practice it,
we will make it both a way and a basis,
take our stand upon it, store it up,
and thoroughly set it going.
—Buddha Shakyamuni, Samyuta Nikaya
Cultivate the thought of loving-kindness,
for by cultivating loving-kindness,
ill will is banished forever.
Cultivate, too, the thought of compassion,
for by cultivating compassion,
you will find harm and cruelty disappear.
—Buddha Shakyamuni, Majjhima Nikaya
To be free, in the worldly and the spiritual sense, it is essential to accept full responsibility for our thoughts, words, and deeds; recognize that it is impossible to avoid the consequences of our previous acts; and establish the necessary causes for our happiness.
Subordination to others —no matter how good and saintly they may appear at the moment— is highly detrimental, because it allows us to avoid responsibility and turns us into willing victims of external powers.
By oneself is evil done;
by oneself is one defiled.
By oneself is evil left undone;
by oneself is one made pure.
Purity and impurity depend on oneself;
no one can purify another.
Without freedom, there is no responsibility. Without responsibility, happiness is impossible.