Thoughts that Revolutionize the Mind and Engender Civility
The Buddhist teacher, Atisha, created slogans for training the mind so that people can wake up to their true potential, as well as be a source of inspiration and compassion to others. Without these basic thoughts in place, civility is more stilted, if not a bit better than lip service. (Quotes of the actual slogans, thanks to the Nalanda Translation Committee)
Four Thoughts that Revolutionize the Mind.”
These four thoughts are classified together as the first slogan and are…
- “Maintain an awareness of the preciousness of human life.”
COMMENTARY: How much do you appreciate your own life? If you cannot engage the world with this appreciation, then civility is hard to embody and if feigned, will be shallow at best.
2. “Be aware of the reality that life ends; death comes for everyone; Impermanence. “
COMMENTARY: Without a notion of impermanence, it is impossible to relax or let go. Thus, desperation and insistence become more fanatical. And, life becomes humorless. Civility is then tainted with desperation or resignation.
3. “Recall that whatever you do, whether virtuous or not, has a result; Karma.” COMMENTARY: In keeping with the Biblical, “What you sew, so shall you reap;” that how you engage a person or a situation will eventually come back to you in some reciprocal way. Therefore, the adage of civility in this light is “Treat others as you would like to be treated.” And, if you don’t then remember, “what goes around comes around.”
4. “Contemplate that as long as you are too focused on self-importance and too caught up in thinking about how you are good or bad, you will experience suffering. Obsessing about getting what you want and avoiding what you don’t want does not result in happiness; Ego.”
COMMENTARY: Without an altruistic spirit, civility is not possible. Self-importance or only looking out for your own advantage or success will bankrupt the situation.