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26.01.14 : Skilled Craftsman | Should We Share Merits With Our 'Enemies'? | Why Drink More Salt Water? | The Heart of 'The Heart Sutra': The Core Of Wisdom (Run 8)

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  • NamoAmituofo
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 26 4:41 AM
      The Daily Enlightenment
       Quote: Utilisation

      A skilled craftsman has
      no material to waste.

      A bright king has
      no attendant to dismiss.

      – Buddhist Saying

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       Realisation: Should We Share Merits With Our 'Enemies'?

      Karma is our Mama,
      for we are born
      from our karma.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

      Is there a need to share merits, even with those who treat us selfishly, or negatively in some way? Yes, the sharing of merits should always include all sentient beings, including those we have animosity towards, and those with animosity towards us. Although it might be somewhat challenging at first, this is important as a practice of compassion – for the welfare of ourselves and the other persons, to resolve any grudges held between. The sharing of merits done with mindfulness and sincerity is itself an expression and fortification of loving-kindness and generosity that counters hatred and selfishness – of others, but more importantly, ourselves. Just as we practise to radiate and expand loving-kindness in meditation in an immeasurable way to encompass each and every being, the sharing of merits is also for the nurturing of greater loving-kindness, for the softening and opening up of our sometimes small and hardened hearts.

      Any hatred, that we otherwise allow to fester within us like a mental cancer will eat away our already limited joy and peace of mind, while preventing these qualities, which are what we really want, from growing healthily. In this sense, our choices made with or without wisdom are the true sources of our happiness and suffering. No external persons have ever and can ever really make us suffer or hold our happiness hostage. We have to remember too, that unwanted negative experiences are karmic in nature, again, with their true causes arising from us, even if we are not aware of exactly how this is so. When others seem negative to us, they are but conditions through which our negative karmic seeds ripen. Since this is so, we must further take stock of our spirituality to cultivate greater virtues for countering our latent faults.

      Sharing of merits is one of the simpler yet still effective ways to use the power of big-heartedness to dissolve the small-mindedness in us. The more we practise this sincerely and regularly, the more will we realise that this conscientious change of our attitudes at the level of thought can gradually spill over to change our speech and actions towards the other persons for the better, which is when the dynamics of our relationships become more positive in real life. This is how we can use our genuine virtues to spiritually 'win' others over, with win-win results too. No one loses at all. Even if the other persons seem slow to change, what immediately experienced is the change in ourselves, in becoming less readily negatively affected by them, in becoming more magnanimous and gracious.

      Since we are all along fully in charge of how we want to feel, it makes perfect sense to make peace with adverse conditions presented through others. Right wrongs if needed, but never lose peace of mind in the process. If we unmindfully continue to let our grudges undermine our happiness instead, by bearing in mind who not to share our merits with day after day, this list of barred persons might grow indefinitely to include more linked to or similar to them. Such growth in bitterness creates 'demerits'! Life should make us better, not bitter. Why distance ourselves from our ideals to become ever equanimous yet all-embracing Buddhas? May we then, not let even a single person, whom we have any tension with, remain a difficult knot in our hearts.

      As we struggle to crack a smile with loving-kindness,
      the Buddhas smile on with loving-kindness,
      gently encouraging us to strive on.

      – Stonepeace | Get Books

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       Excerpt: Why Drink More Salt Water?

      Sensual pleasure are like salt water:
      The more you indulge, the more thirst increases.
      Abandon at once those things which breed clinging attachment.
      This is the practice of bodhisattvas.

      – Bodhisattva (Gyelsay) Togmay Zangpo
         (Verse #21 Of The Thirty-Seven Practices 
         Of Bodhisattvas)

      You may wonder, "I'm attached to having good food. Does this mean I should stop eating? That would be crazy!" Clearly, we need food and clothes and medicine and shelter. As social creatures, we have friends and relatives. A healthy relationship – one free from attachment – with all these things is important. Attachment is what is to be abandoned, because that emotion is a troublemaker. However, sometimes it's very difficult to abandon clinging when we're near the things to which we're extremely attached because our mind is not yet trained in other ways of relating to these things. "Abandon at once those things which breed clinging attachment" means take some space and some distance from these things so that attachment doesn't flare up and overwhelm us.

      As we do so, we realize that the things that we were so attached to that we thought we couldn't live without, we can live very well without. In fact, our mind is more peaceful when it's free of attachment, clinging, and craving, as well as the worrying and fear that come from being attached to external things. Genuine Dharma understanding impacts how we live. When we realize that we use such an unfair portion of the world's resources, when we feel interconnected with other living beings, these understandings will affect what we think about when we get into our car to drive somewhere. If we care about the environment, we will try to carpool or use public transportation. Or, when the urge comes to buy something that we don't really need, we stop to ask ourselves, "Do I really need it? Maybe the one I have is okay."

      When we understand that the more we indulge, the more the thirst increases, when we understand that we use an unfair share of the world's resources, the more we create suffering for others and enemies for ourselves, it is bound to impact our life. We will feel compelled to change our lifestyle. This doesn't mean we have to effect a huge change immediately. It may be easier to start with small changes and gradually increase. By doing so, we will know, through our own experience, that simplicity brings more peace of mind.

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