Golden Rule

The Buddha said, “Do not hurt others with that which hurts yourself.”

Mohammed said, “None of you is a believer until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself.”

Hillel said, “What is hateful to you, do not do to others.”

Confucius said, “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”

If you would not like someone to lie to you, do not lie to others. If you would be unhappy if someone took something from you, then do not take anything without the owner’s permission. If you would be upset if someone spoke harshly to you, then do not speak harshly to others.

The way to achieve world peace is to create peace within each of us. If there are fires to the north, south, east, and west of us, do not expect not to get burned. A person surrounded by fire will suffer. If we want a harmonious society, we must create harmony in our family, in our workplace, and in our communities. Instead of being consumed by the fire of our craving and anger, we need to create peace.

From Everything We Do Matters , Shi Wuling


Pay Attention, Do Good


In this morning's practice session, I gave a short talk on paying attention and on doing good. During the discussion, one of the attendees—a wonderfully kind woman—told of an event that had happened years ago when her daughter was young.

Preparing to leave the supermarket, the mother was focused on getting her daughter safely back to the car. While still in the store, she noticed another woman who was trying to check out but who did not have enough money to pay for all the groceries.

Absorbed in what she was doing, the young mother realized—too late—that if she had not been so wrapped up in what she was doing, she could have offered to help pay for the other woman's groceries. Years later, this oversight still haunts her.

As I said, this woman is wonderfully considerate and thoughtful. But in a moment of inattention, she was not mindful of what was happening around her and thus missed the opportunity to help someone. How easy it is for each of us to do this as we become so involved in our own lives that we fail to notice what is happening in the lives of others.

And so, not paying attention, we miss an opportunity to do good.


All Beings Have Been Our Parents

Once, when a person was distraught over the death of his father, the Buddha asked him which father he meant; his father in this lifetime? Of his last lifetime? A lifetime before that?

It can become very easy for us to become lost in our sorrow over the death of a parent or someone else we were close to. Perhaps the death was sudden and we weren’t prepared for it to happen. In the future, of course, but today—no. Perhaps we had planned things together, and now we will not have the opportunity to fulfill those plans. And so we mourn the loss of what might have been. Perhaps our parent had been a close friend, and now that closeness is ended and we feel adrift. And so a deep sadness sets in, and feels like it will be with us forever.

But as it is said in the Brahma Net Sutra, “All male beings have been my father; all female beings have been my mother.” If we focus only on thoughts of our parents of this lifetime, we will be ignoring all those we loved in innumerable other lifetimes.

For the first forty-nine days, after my usual dedication of merits after my practice and work, I said a second merit dedication for my mother. But each time, I felt both worry for her and loss for me. But gradually, there was an increasing sense of happiness when I came to the final words of the dedication for I was thinking of the Pure Land. And as I added my father to the dedication, I felt happier.

Focusing on the love we have had for innumerable past parents can help us to pull ourselves back from sadness and loss. For if we grieve too much, we will not be able to dedicate ourselves to helping others end their sorrow, and thus, their suffering. Wanting to help all those who have been our parents can begin to fill our heart with equanimity and love. In time, there will be no room for sorrow.


Nature's Way

Grieving is as natural as crying when you are hurt,
sleeping when you are tired,
eating when you are hungry,
or sneezing when your nose itches.
It is nature's way of healing a broken heart. 

A cut finger is numb before it bleeds,
it bleeds until it begins to heal,
it forms a scab and itches until, finally,
the scab is gone and a small scar is left
where once there was a wound.

Grief is the deepest wound you have ever had.
Like a cut finger,
it goes through stages and leaves a scar.

By Doug Manning  


path to peace

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