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Truth is found in silence and stillness. It is not found in activity. Doing ritual practice, reciting mantra, studying Buddhist philosophy and participating in voluntary work are all good things to do, and are very helpful in putting you on the right path. But they are activities and so your mind is agitated. Truth will only come when you sit down and meditate. When your mind is calm, still and silent. Read more
‘To expect happiness without giving up negative action is like holding your hand in a fire and hoping not to be burned. Of course, no one actually wants to suffer, to be sick, to be cold or hungry but as long as we continue to indulge in wrong doing we will never put an end to suffering. Likewise, we will never achieve happiness, except through positive deeds, words and thoughts. Positive action is something we have to cultivate ourselves; it can be neither bought nor stolen, and no one ever stumbles on it just by chance.’
This was written by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and I believe the best way to obtain true and lasting happiness, and not material happiness, is to follow the Eightfold Path as taught by Buddha. I do not mean understanding the path intellectually or chanting it each day. I mean to make it part of your life, your very being. This way all your actions of body speech and mind will be positive and your life will be truly happy.
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A right livelihood is one that does not bring harm to anyone or anything. Buddha
listed five professions that constitute wrong livelihoods. They are dealing in weapons, dealing in humans, dealing in meat production, dealing in intoxicants and dealing in poisons.
Traditionally these professions are dismissed out of hand, but I feel a little uncomfortable with that. I have Indian friends that have joined the army so they can provide for their parents and siblings. They didn’t go in to the army with the sole intention of killing people, although that may be a consequence of their action. Also, if a country didn’t have an army, how long would it be before another country took it over. These days the army also does peacekeeping missions and so, in that way, is helping society.
It isn’t as black and white as Buddha’s list suggests. I think one should aim for a profession that does not harm, is not deceitful and dishonest, doesn’t involve trickery, treachery or any kind of fortune-telling. Buddha went into a lot of detail regarding the last one, fortune-telling, in the Samannaphala Sutra:
Whereas some priests and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, maintain themselves by wrong livelihood, by such lowly arts as:
reading marks on the limbs [e.g., palmistry];
reading omens and signs;
interpreting celestial events [falling stars, comets];
reading marks on the body [e.g., phrenology];
reading marks on cloth gnawed by mice;
offering fire oblations, oblations from a ladle, oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee, and oil; offering oblations from the mouth;
making predictions based on the fingertips;
laying demons in a cemetery;
placing spells on spirits;
reciting house-protection charms;
snake charming, poison-lore, scorpion-lore, rat-lore, bird-lore, crow-lore;
fortune-telling based on visions;
giving protective charms;
interpreting the calls of birds and animals …
[The list goes on and on, but I think you get the point] Translated from Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Any type of fortune-telling or predicting the future is a form of deceit and trickery, even if it is done by some religious person. All you are doing is peddling false hope.
It is never right to deal in humans, such as prostitution, people trafficking, forcing children into work or teaching them to fire a weapon. Nor is it right to make illegal drugs and poisons. All these professions are bringing harm to people and so should be avoided.
The bottom line is that our livelihood must not bring harm to people, animals or the environment. If we stick to this, we will be on the road to living a responsible life.
Ripples in the Stream shares a collection of Buddhism-inspired blog posts Lama Yeshe compiled over a three-year period. The collection is written in a manner that is pragmatic, contemporary and easy to relate to. Find out more and buy the book.
Based on thirty-eight Buddhist principles, this enlightening guide teaches readers how to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. Find out more and buy the book.
The Best Way to Catch a Snake, a three-part volume, is a beginner’s guide to Buddhism, for all those who want to start their journey towards nirvana, but don’t know how and where. Find out more and buy the book
See all reviews of Life’s Meandering Path – A Secular Approach to Gautama Buddha’s Guide to Living, by Karma Yeshe Rabgye
See all reviews of The Best Way to Catch a Snake – A Practical Guide to the Buddha’s Teachings, by Karma Yeshe Rabgye
Karma Yeshe Rabgye is a Western Monk in the Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Originally from England, he now lives in Northern India.
Yeshe took ordination vows from H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche in Sherabling Monastery, Northern India and has studied with H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama, H.H. The 17th Karmapa, H.E. Tai Situ Rinpoche Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, Drupon Khenpo Lodro Namgial, Geshe Sonam Rinchen and Geshe Tashi Tsering. Having received teachings and studied works of all traditions of Buddhism, the Best Way to Catch a Snake was inspired by successive short-term retreats in which Yeshe took the Buddha Shakyamuni’s early teachings as his inspiration for practice.
Although Yeshe learnt from the great Tibetan Buddhist masters in exile, his Western background forced him to question some difficult elements of the teachings, in particular to distinguish those teachings that were essential aspects of the path from those that were mere cultural embellishments. Life’s Meandering Path stems from this questioning and is aimed at a more secular and sceptical audience.
Yeshe spent several years in a monastery in the foothills of the Himalayas teaching young monks basic Buddhist philosophy and meditation. He now offers teachings freely to all in a manner that is unpretentious and clear. He does not demand students to blindly accept what he says, but instead invites them to examine their own minds and experiences to discover the validity of Gautama Buddha’s teachings. Using everyday examples he has the ability to bring the teachings alive, particularly to a younger audience seeking to make Buddhism relevant in their lives. His approachable manner has attracted many students who appreciate his sense of humour and practical advice.
Yeshe quietly demonstrates Gautama Buddha’s teaching on compassion through the charitable trust ‘Sangye Menla’ that he founded in 2008 in Chandigarh, Northern India. The trust provides medical assistance and care to people from the Himalayan region in India.
The trust was set-up in 2008 by Karma Yeshe Rabgye and another Buddhist monk. It helps to facilitate the medical needs; including accommodation, doctor location, translation services, and often food for roughly 4000 people a year who travel with little or no money for much needed care. It helps people from the Himalayan region who have to come to Chandigarh for medical treatment and do not know what hospital to attend, which doctor to see and where to stay. Often they do not speak Hindi or English and so cannot communicate their sickness to the doctors. The fully trained staff at Sangye-Menla Trust interview the patients on arrival and decide which is the best hospital and doctor for them. They will also attend the hospital with the patient to translate and ensure the patients understand their treatment. The trust also provides a very cheap hostel for the patients to stay in. They never turn anyone away and if the patients have no money they will offer free rooms and get sponsorship for treatment and medicines. Sangye Menla was named by HH 17th Karmapa, kindly encouraging the Trust to put the aspirations of Sangye Menla (Medicine Buddha) into practice.
If you would like to donate and help Sangye-Menla Trust carry on their valuable work, please use the donation button below. Thank you for your kindness.
This truth is called nirvana, liberation, enlightenment and so on. It is hotly debated these days. Some think that if you reach nirvana you will never be born again, others think you will be reborn, but you can pick where. For people who do not believe in rebirth, they see it as something we can achieve in this lifetime. I have no idea who is right and who is wrong – it maybe they are all wrong. Read more