Right Action

Thoughts to ponder…

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm any hostility.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Here is an excellent article by Andrew Olendzki on “Where the Action Is.”

And a Chinese story:

Winning the Battle

One day, Zengzi 曾子(a philosopher and student of Confucius, 505-436 BCE) met Zixia 子夏, another student of Confucius, in the street and carefully looking him over, asked, “In the past you had many illnesses and were always thin and weak. You seem to have gained weight and look energetic too.” Zixia replied, “I have recently won a battle, so I feel very happy and have gained weight as a result.”

Not understanding him Zengzi asked, “What do you mean?”

Zixia replied, “One day I was reading about Yao (唐堯, 2353-2234 BCE.) , Yu (大禹, the legendary founder of the Xia Dynasty that began in 2205 BCE) and Tang (商湯, 1617 -1588 BCE). After reading their viewpoints on morality, friendship and loyalty, I found I appreciated their views and wanted to be a good person. However, when I walked down the street and saw so many tantalizing things, and observed other people living in luxury, my desire for material things was stimulated and I wanted to make more money. These two opposing thoughts constantly fought inside my mind and I could not find any peace. I was not able to eat or rest well, lost weight and incurred many illnesses.

“Who won the battle?” Zengzi inquired.

Zixia quickly answered, “Yao, Yu and Tang’s views on morality, friendship and loyalty won. As you can now see, I have gained weight.”

This is a quote from Dharma Master Cheng Yen:

“Always listen to Right Views. If our views are correct, out of many things we hear, we will identify what is right and what is wrong. “In a group of three, at least one is my teacher.” When we hear the right counsel, from a wise person, we will be grateful and will practice it in our daily living. When we hear something wrong, we must be vigilant and avoid led onto a deviant path. A person who can clearly discern right from wrong is a wise person. A good way to explain our wisdom and our mind is to use the analogy of mirror. If the mirror is wiped clean and clear, we can clearly distinguish between different colors and forms in its reflection. But if the mirror becomes blurry, we cannot clearly see the external conditions. This path should be level and straight, but if the mirror is off, we may follow the wrong path. The mind is like a mirror. If it is polished clean, it can clearly reflect external conditions so we will not be deluded. Thus we must constantly tidy up our minds. If we are free of defilements and deviance, we will not commit wrongs. Wrongdoings and misguided perspectives arise from ignorance and blindness.”

Quotes from the talk on Right Intention

Here are some of the poems and quotes I read last night:

Choose Your Choices Wisely

Life doesn’t come ready-made;
You create it
With every choice you make.
Choose your choices wisely.
Wise ones are your sunshine,
Foolish ones are your shadow.
Don’t make any choices
You can’t live with.
Some choices aren’t easy.
Make the best one you can,
Hope for the best,
Let it go.
Trust whatever happens
Is for the best
Because you did your best.
Sometimes you make the
Wrong choice.
Don’t worry about it;
Often, it leads to the right one.
Happiness isn’t in the past
But in the choices of today.
It’s not in never making a mistake,
But in never letting a mistake
Keep you from happiness.
Choices give you the freedom
To choose whatever makes you happiest.
Make the most of this freedom
To make the most of your life.
Life is a gift
But happiness is a choice.
Choose it today,
Choose it everyday,
And no day
Will be without sunshine…….

Nancye Sims

“When we pay attention to the intention to bring more happiness into our lives, we are more likely to notice the actions, opportunities, people and things that can bring that about for us.  It’s sort of like recognizing which piece of a jigsaw puzzle will fit in the picture.” — James Baraz and Shoshana Alexander

Promise Yourself

Promise yourself to be so strong
that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends
feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best
and expect only the best.
To be enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to
greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticise others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger,
too strong for fear and too happy
to permit the presence of trouble.

Christian D. Larson

Dependent Origination: How Identity is Related to Suffering

At the request of a few people last night, here is a recording of the talk I gave last night on dependent origination:

or download here.

Here are some of the articles I quoted or referenced:

Self as Verb – Andrew Olendzki

Self, Suffering, Clinging and the Five Aggregates – Harold Hedelman

Dependent Origination from Insight Journal – Christina Feldman

And a few quotes:

“The truth is, life is rarely exactly the way we want it to be, and other people often don’t act as we would like them to. Moment to moment, there are aspects of life that we like and others that we don’t. There are always going to be people who disagree with you, people who do things differently, and things that don’t work out. If you fight against the principle of life, you’ll spend most of your life fighting battles.” ~ Richard Carlson

“A human being is a part of a whole, called by us ‘universe’, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein~

New website for social activities with Modesto Dharma friends

A website has been created for Modesto area Dharma friends and practitioners to connect and meet-up for social activities.  This is not necessarily exclusive to the Insight Meditation community, but is open to those who are following the Buddhist path in whatever tradition they practice.

Check out the website here: http://modestodharmafriends.wordpress.com/

The first planned social activity is this Thursday, June 30th at Queen Bean in Modesto.  See the website for details.