Like a fire, greed is more a process than a thing. It is the state of combustion, the activity of consumption, the procedure by means of which organic resources are quickly reduced to a heap of ash. It is insatiable by nature, since the moment one desire is gratified another flares up, demanding also to be sated. Greed drives an unquenchable compulsion to consume, and as the guiding hand of our economic system, its reach is rapidly becoming global. As it burns it throws off a compelling light, dazzling us with the pleasure of its shapes and colors. We delight in playing with this fire.
Great compassion is the root of altruistic action. It really is a source of wonder. There is no greater source of help and happiness. The capacity to devote yourself to the welfare of others yields otherwise unobtainable power and potential for good. Generate great compassion and you become a friend of the world and a companion of the warm-hearted.
Awareness is the key. Do we see the stories that we’re telling ourselves and question their validity? When we are distracted by strong emotion, do we remember that it is our path? Can we feel the emotion and breathe it into our hearts for ourselves and everyone else? If we can remember to experiment like this even occasionally, we are training as a warrior. And when we can’t practice when distracted but KNOW that we can’t, we are still training well. Never underestimate the power of compassionately recognizing what’s going on
As Buddhists, we work to accept the impermanence and inevitable decay of the physical body. But it’s not enough to accept it as a fact; we can believe in this and still not want it in plain sight. Nagarjuna said, “Change makes all things possible.” It is only because of change that suffering can end—and it is because of change that our bodies fall apart, like all compounded things. We cannot have one without the other, but we try.
The nature of the mind is such that if certain mental qualities are developed on a sound basis, they not only remain, but they also increase. In fact, once properly developed, the mind’s good qualities eventually increase indefinitely. Therefore spiritual practice brings us long-term happiness and inner strength.
Buddhism explains that our normal state of mind is such that our thoughts and emotions are wild and unruly, and since we lack the mental discipline needed to tame them, we are powerless to control them. As a result, they control us. And thoughts and emotions, in their turn, tend to be controlled by our negative impulses rather than our positive ones. We need to reverse this cycle.
from “The Dalai Lama’s Little Book of Wisdom” by The Dalai Lama
Leaving aside the perspective of spiritual practice, even in worldly terms, in terms of our enjoying a happy day-to-day existence, the calmer our minds are, the greater our peace of mind will be and the greater will be our ability to enjoy a happy and joyful life.
Modern education pays attention to the development of the brain and the intellect, but this is not enough. We need also to be able to develop warm-heartedness in our educational systems. This we need from kindergarten all the way through university.