Monday, August 19, 2013

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

- It is also true that I possess several valuable wrist watches. And while I sometimes feel that if I were to sell them I could perhaps build some huts for the poor, so far I have not. In the same way, I do feel that if I were to observe a strict vegetarian diet not only would I be setting a better example, but I would also be helping to save innocent animals' lives. Again, so far I have not and therefore must admit a discrepancy between my principles and my practice in certain areas. At the same time, I do not believe everyone can or should be like Mahatma Ghandi and live the life of a poor peasant. Such dedication is wonderful and greatly to be admired. But the watchword is "As much as we can" - without going to extremes.

- Unlike the farmer who follows the seasons and does not hesitate to cultivate the land when the moments comes, we waste so much of our time in meaningless activity. We feel deep regret over trivial matters like losing money while keeping from doing what is genuinely important without feeling the slightest feeling of remorse. Instead of rejoicing in the opportunity we have to contribute to others' well-being, we merely take pleasures where we can. We shrink from considering others on the grounds that we are too busy. We run right and left, making calculations and telephone calls and thinking this would be better than that. We do one thing but worry that if something else comes along we have better do another. But in this, we engage only in the coarsest and most elementary levels of the human spirit. Moreover, by being inattentive to the needs of others, inevitably we end up harming them.

- With my two hands joined, I therefore appeal to you the reader to ensure that you make the rest of life as meaningful as possible. Do this by engaging in spiritual practice if you can. As I hope I have made clear, there is nothing mysterious about this. It consists in nothing more than acting out of concern for others. And provided you undertake this practice sincerely and with persistence, little by little, step by step you will gradually be able to reorder your habits and attitudes so that you think less about your narrow concerns and more of others'. In doing so, you will find that you enjoy peace and happiness yourself.

- Relinquish your envy, let go of your desire to triumph over others. Instead, try to benefit them. With kindness, with courage, and confident that in doing so you are sure to meet with success, welcome others with a smile. Be straightforward.

- To close with, I would like to share a short prayer which gives me great inspiration in my quest to benefit others:

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.

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