Do we need......

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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purple rose
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Do we need......

Post by purple rose » Wed Oct 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Do we need to to cultivate the thought that other sentient beings are precious and valuable, if so why?

Training the Mind: Verse 1

With a determination to achieve the highest aim
For the benefit of all sentient beings
Which surpasses even the wish-fulfilling gem,
May I hold them dear at all times.

His Holiness, XIV Dalai Lama:

In one sense, we can say that other sentient beings are really the principal source of all our experiences of joy, happiness, and prosperity, and not only in terms of our day-to-day dealings with people. We can see that all the desirable experiences that we cherish or aspire to attain are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings. It is an obvious fact. Similarly, from the point of view of a practitioner on the path, many of the high levels of realization that you gain and the progress you make on your spiritual journey are dependent upon cooperation and interaction with other sentient beings. Furthermore, at the resultant state of buddhahood, the truly compassionate activities of a buddha can come about spontaneously without any effort only in relation to sentient beings, because they are the recipients and beneficiaries of those enlightened activities. So one can see that other sentient beings are, in a sense, the true source of our joy, prosperity, and happiness. Basic joys and comforts of life such as food, shelter, clothing, and companionship are all dependent upon other sentient beings, as is fame and renown. Our feelings of comfort and sense of security are dependent upon other people's perceptions of us and their affection for us. It is almost as if human affection is the very basis of our existence. Our life cannot start without affection, and our sustenance, proper growth, and so on all depend on it. In order to achieve a calm mind, the more you have a sense of caring for others, the deeper your satisfaction will be. I think that the very moment you develop a sense of caring, others appear more positive. This is because of your own attitude. On the other hand, if you reject others, they will appear to you in a negative way. Another thing that is quite clear to me is that the moment you think only of yourself, the focus of your whole mind narrows, and because of this narrow focus uncomfortable things can appear huge and bring you fear and discomfort and a sense of feeling overwhelmed by misery. The moment you think of others with a sense of caring, however, your mind widens. Within that wider angle, your own problems appear to be of no significance, and this makes a big difference. If you have a sense of caring for others, you will manifest a kind of inner strength in spite of your own difficult situations and problems. With this strength, your problems will seem less significant and bothersome. By going beyond your own problems and taking care of others, you gain inner strength, self-confidence, courage, and a greater sense of calm. This is a clear example of how one's way of thinking can really make a difference. cont./... here


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Re: Do we need......

Post by ronnewmexico » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:31 pm

Conventionally certainly...It is how we operate and the mileau of our operations 99.9% of the time for 99.9% of us.
It must be worked at and added onto to devolve self and produce fortunate circumstances in which we may pursue dharma and help other better, in a better way. It is inherant to our composite of cognition. How we understand things in our fashion is as understanging anything is.... the front side to the back side it is compassion,,,the coin.
So ultimately.... no it does not need to be worked at or added onto it is as natural as our aspects of awareness are. We don't see it but is is part and parcel of all things, as all things are understanding of things.

This may be used by those of lesser undestanding to say they do not have to be cmpassionate...they have a ultimate vision of things.
That is a rationalization. For us the test of our spiritual practice the only measure of how we may measure this thing of the spiritual is our compassion...more compassionate we are succeeding less we are regressing.

It is that simple.
So yes and no.

The cultivation is the planting of the seed.The fruit of that cultivation is the true product seperate from water and seed and light and all those is the fruit....other sentient beings are precious in all aspect and form, they are as we are,precious as we consider ourselves. That is a fact... we need only to find.
We may find that.. as we may find a fruit somwhere, till we cultivate that as our own(know it)... the winds of karma may blow us here and there ,
Last edited by ronnewmexico on Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.

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Re: Do we need......

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Wed Oct 12, 2011 11:38 pm

Do we need to to cultivate the thought that other sentient beings are precious and valuable, if so why?

If you mean for the purpose of attaining realization (enlightenment, Buddhahood, whatever you want to call it) my understanding is that, ultimately, realization does not depend on anything outside of the mind. At the same time, it has also been said that nothing exists outside the mind! So in one sense, realization does not rely on that thought (let's call it compassion) in the sense of this being a stepping stone or prerequisite. But I think it is a kind of understanding of the way beings actually are, that other sentient beings are in fact precious and valuable, and without this understanding, the path to realization would be incomplete. Comapassion arises with awakening, as part of awakening. It isn't something separate from awakening that you develop, like a slingshot that propels one into the enlightened state.

As far as actually cultivating or developing this attitude, since it is part of realization, I think it is necessary, just as cultivating an understanding of the four noble truths is necessary.

I have had online discussions with followers of the theravada tradition who have dismissed the cultivation of this attitude as merely some religious hogwash invented by mahayanists, and that the Pali scriptures do not support the generation of the thought that other sentient beings are precious and valuable, that this encourages attachment. But that misses the point.

Buddha begged for his food, and in theravadin countries, monks still beg, and they rely on the generosity of other beings, and that requires some faith in the theory that compassion is somehow a trait basic to human and animal existence. When you depend on others to keep you from starving, you naturally develop the thought that they are precious and valuable. And through this interchange, you reveal the enlightened nature of others.

There is a really great line in the Brad Pitt film, Seven Years In Tibet, where the young DalaiLama tells Heinrich Harrer (Pitt) "You are my path to liberation".

Cultivating the thought that other sentient beings are precious and valuable is also the quickest means to letting go of self-attachment, and letting go of self-attachment is essential.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
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