Kim O'Hara wrote:...I still believe that compassionate action in the world, when undertaken with mindfulness and the right motivation, is always consistent with the path and never an obstacle to practice - in fact, that some such engagement is essential to practice ...
dhammapal wrote:Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:"worthwhile" goals that our culture and its sub-cultures tend to exalt, such as social acceptance, meaningful relationships, stewardship of the planet, etc. These, too, will inevitably lead to suffering.[/b]
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:Because the Buddha saw how these enlightened qualities of wisdom, compassion, and purity could be developed through the pursuit of happiness, he never told his followers to practice his teachings without expecting any gain in return. He understood that such a demand would create an unhealthy dynamic in the mind. In terms of Western psychology, expecting no gain in return would give license for the super‐ego to run amok. Instead, the Buddha taught that even the principle of renunciation is a trade. You exchange candy for gold, trading lesser pleasures for greater happiness. So he encouraged people to be generous with their time and belongings because of the inner rewards they would receive in return.
From The Problem of Egolessness by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
dhammapal wrote: Another difficult passage..
Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:The Karaniya Metta Sutta goes on to say that when you're developing this attitude, you want to protect it in the same way that a mother would protect her only child.
“As a mother would risk her life to protect her child, her only child, even so should one cultivate a limitless heart with regard to all beings.”
Some people misread this passage — in fact, many translators have mistranslated it — thinking that the Buddha is telling us to cherish all living beings the same way a mother would cherish her only child. But that's not what he's actually saying. To begin with, he doesn't mention the word "cherish" at all. And instead of drawing a parallel between protecting your only child and protecting other beings, he draws the parallel between protecting the child and protecting your goodwill. This fits in with his other teachings in the Canon. Nowhere does he tell people to throw down their lives to prevent every cruelty and injustice in the world, but he does praise his followers for being willing to throw down their lives for their precepts:
“Just as the ocean is stable and does not overstep its tideline, in the same way my disciples do not — even for the sake of their lives — overstep the training rules I have formulated for them.”
— Udana 5.5
From: Metta Means Goodwill by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
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