Friday, August 16, 2013

Quotes from "Ancient Wisdom, Modern World" 2/5

 - ... our well-being is intimately connected with that of all others and with the environment in which we live. It also becomes apparent that our every action, our every deed, word and thought, matter how slight or inconsequential it may seem, has an implication not only for ourselves but for all others too.  ...such an understanding of reality as suggested by this concept of dependent origination also presents us with a significant challenge. It challenges us to see things and events less in terms of black and white and more in terms of a complex interlinking of relationships, which are hard to pin down.

- Thus is it in everybody's interest to do what leads to happiness and avoid that which leads to suffering. And because, as we have seen, our interests are inexplicably linked, we are compelled to accept ethics as the indispensable interface between my desire to be happy and yours.

- We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationship with others.

- We must be on the lookout for the slightest negativity and keep asking ourselves such questions as, "Am I happier when my thoughts and emotions are negative and destructive or when they are wholesome?", "What is the nature of consciousness? Does it exist in and of itself, or does it exist in dependence on other factors?" We need to think, think, think. We should be like a scientist who collects data, analyses it, and draws the appropriate conclusion. Gaining insight into our own negativity is a lifelong task, and one which is capable of almost infinite refinement. But unless we undertake it, we will be unable to make the necessary changes in our lives.

- We are not talking about Buddhahood here, we are not talking about achieving union with God. We are merely recognising that my interests and future happiness are closely connected with others' and learning to act accordingly.

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