Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dalai Lama - The morality of individual liberation

The Way to a Meaningful Life

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama,
translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins

Dalai Lama Quote of the Week

When I was a boy, Ling Rinpochay, who was then my junior tutor, was always very stern; he never smiled, not even a little. This bothered me a lot. By wondering why he was so humorless, I examined more and more what I was doing in my own mind. This helped me develop self-awareness with regard to my motivation. By my early twenties when I had matured, Ling Rinpochay completely changed; he always had a big smile when we were together.

Effective practice of the morality of individual liberation depends upon sound, long-term motivation. For example, one should not become a monk or a nun to avoid having to work at a worldly job for food and clothing. Also, it is not sufficient merely to seek to avoid difficulty in this lifetime. To be motivated by such trifling purposes does not help to achieve freedom from cyclic existence--the ultimate reason to practice the morality of individual liberation.

This is confirmed by Buddha's life story. One day Shakyamuni slipped outside the palace wall to experience life for himself. For the first time he saw a sick person, an old person, and a corpse. Deeply troubled by the suffering of sickness, aging, and death, he came to the conclusion that worldly life is without substance. Later, inspired by several religious practitioners, Buddha became captivated by the possibility of a higher, more meaningful, spiritual life. At that point he escaped from the palace, leaving his ordinary life behind to pursue that vision.

What does this teach us? Like Buddha we need to begin by becoming concerned about the suffering of cyclic existence and by turning away from temporary distractions. Influenced by this new attitude, we must take up a system of morality by renouncing cyclic existence and by taking vows of pure behavior through seeking to avoid the ten nonvirtues. (p.29)

--from How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins

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