Friday, February 5, 2010

A Meaningful Life and Keeping the Moth out of the Flame

Wish I could say I did a better job with virtue and avoiding harmful behavior (definitely fall down in the speech and mind categories), but something resonated about this quotation when I read it earlier this week, I think it was the section on well-being...

February 3, 2010
Tricycle's Daily Dharma

A Meaningful Life

“What makes for a meaningful life? I consider each day, not just the life as a whole. I look at four ingredients. First, was it a day of virtue? I’m talking about basic Buddhist ethics—avoiding harmful behavior of body, speech, and mind; devoting ourselves to wholesome behavior and to qualities like awareness and compassion. Second, I'd like to feel happy rather than miserable. The realized beings I've known exemplify extraordinary states of well-being, and it shows in their demeanor, their way of dealing with adversity, with life, with other people. And third, pursuit of the truth—seeking to understand the nature of life, of reality, of interpersonal relationships, or the nature of mind. But you could do all that sitting quietly in a room. None of us exists in isolation, however, so there is a fourth ingredient: a meaningful life must also answer the question, 'What have I brought to the world?' If I can look at a day and see that virtue, happiness, truth, and living an altruistic life are prominent elements, I can say, 'You know, I’m a happy camper.' Pursuing happiness does not depend on my checkbook, or the behavior of my spouse, or my job, or my salary. I can live a meaningful life even if I only have ten minutes left.”

B. Alan Wallace from "What Is True Happiness" (Fall 2005)

And then these fabulous wild words from that dear Chogyam Trungpa...

Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week
February 4, 2010


When you are trying to help someone, you have to have humor, self-existing humor, and you have to hold the moth in your hand, but not let it go into the flame. That's what helping others means. Ladies and gentlemen, we have so much responsibility. A long time ago, people helped one another in this way. Now people just talk, talk talk. They read books, they listen to music, but they never actually help anyone. They never use their bare hands to save a person from going crazy. We have that responsibility. Somebody has to do it. It turns out to be us. We've got to do it, and we can do it with a smile, not with a long face.

From "Helping Others," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: THE WISDOM OF SHAMBHALA, page 180.

OK, helping people with a smile and a sense of well-being. That I think I can handle.