The Wisdom Blog: Classic & Contemporary Buddhism

Monday Mindful Morsels: The Middle Way

by Lydia Anderson
August 4, 2014
Mon, 08/04/2014 - 14:56 -- landerson

This week's morsel comes from The Middle Way: Faith Grounded in Reason by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In this book, His Holiness connects core ideas of Buddhist philosophy to the truths of our shared condition. The selection below comes from his talks on how to bring undestandings of Nagarjuna's Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way together within a framework for actual Dharma practice.

Practice the profound

Each morning after you wake up, try to shape your thinking in beneficial ways before you begin your day. You can think, for instance, “May my body, my speech, and my mind be used in a more compassionate way so that they become a service to others.” This is something I usually do. It makes life more meaningful. Likewise, examine your mind in the evening before you go to bed. Review the way you spent your day and check whether it was worthwhile. Even for nonreligious people, I believe this is a valuable method to create a more meaningful life, so that when you arrive at the end of life, you do not feel remorse or regret. You may be sad because you are now departing from this world, but at the same time, you have some satisfaction from having lived your life in a meaningful way.

One particularly helpful habit to develop is the habit of watching your own thought processes, observing what occurs in your mind so you are not totally immersed in it. Usually when we develop anger, for instance, our whole mind or self seems to become anger. But that is just an appearance. With some experience, you can learn to step back when anger develops. It is enormously helpful to be able to recognize the destructiveness of a negative emotion right in the moment it develops. This is of course very difficult, but through training you can do it. Then, when you have some perspective on your own anger, you look at your anger and, immediately, the intensity of it is reduced. It works the same way for attachment, sadness, pride, and so on. Through training and habituation, cultivating a daily habit, this is possible.

These are also ways to extend human value outward, extending from a single person to family members, and from each family member to their friends. That is the way to transform family, community, eventually nation, and then humanity. If each person cultivates his or her mind, the effects will spread and lead to a better world. After I pass away, after forty or fifty years, perhaps a better world will come, but if you want that, you must start working for it from today, from right now.

That is what I want to share with you.

To read more from The Middle Way, click here.


How to cite this document:
© Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, The Middle Way (Wisdom Publications, 2009)

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