Information era is becoming more and more a disinformation era. This can be harmful. On the other hand, the Nalanda tradition of Buddhism has been cultivating laser-sharp logic and reasoning for centuries and this tradition is still living in Tibetan tradition, especially in Gelugpa school.
These teachings sharpen our mind and help us to differentiate what is valid from what is merely a projection, the help us to recognize the flaws like speculation, generalizations, futile shifting from subject to subject, projections into others etc., and supports us mental discipline, cognitive precision and flexibility that comes from training in debates (antidote for dogmatism and mental dullness), they build certainty in valid perception and gradually eliminate doubt etc.
“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act. If one is really concerned with benefiting others, one needs to be engaged, involved.”
“That is the truest form of empathy: not just feeling, but doing; not just for ourselves or our kids, but for everyone.”
Genuinely compassionate people always have a lot in common. Regardless if somebody is a Buddhist or Christian or atheist, they tend to speak a similar language.
Genuine compassion is never just a lip service, designed to build one’s image in front of the others. Its test are the actions that we take to benefit others. it is always surpassing the narrow frame of I, me and mine and opening the horizon across time and space.
Study is a great equalizer. In study there is no discrimination by gender, race, nationality, age or ordination, all that matters is if you have studied the topic enough to have understood it or not. Differently to common beliefs, study is also fu9. You can see it when you watch the monks and nuns debating. There is a lot of laughter and bonding on the way to insights.
I wish that people understood the value of study also to avoid the sectarianism. When study is not the focus, when ignorance is stronger, it is more likely to worship external appearances such as fame, wealth, titles and similar, and to develop sectarian attitudes, such placing one’s own teacher, tradition or monastery above others. Respect and appreciation of our sources of dharma are wonderful. Not because of external factors, which can be deceiving, but because of opportunity to better comprehend the Buddha’s doctrine and with each layer of comprehension transform our perception of reality a little bit more. Contrary to common belief, study is not mere intellectualism, it is a means that gives us clarity about what to pursue and what to abandon. It cuts through appearances.
The less that I am clinging to samsaric pleasures, confirmations or engagements of any kind, the more I have renounced samsara, the more I see the beauty that can be found in that very same samsaric appearances.
Does it sound like a paradox? It does. Is it a paradox? No, not at all, rather the contrary.
For years I have been watching how grasping at anything samsaric leads to trouble. It makes us want things to be our way, which brings us stress and frustration because life does not follow our wishes and wants. It makes us generate expectations how other people should act or speak or think, which is another source of conflict and stress, sometimes simply because we are different and have different needs.
The more I have started to notice how my self-centered, self-righteous clinging to my habits and beliefs have started to subside and give space for a more open-minded approach, based on reason, instead of emotions, habits or peer-pressure, the more my mind has started to relax and the faster it regained joyful balance after I got upset about something, that I found unjust, harmful or simply not to my liking. Appreciating others and the circumstances that I have, have gradually become my mode of existence. Still work in progress, but the basis is here.
So, here it is, happier and more peaceful life than I’ve ever had before. It has grown from reason, from understanding what matters and what does not, from a larger perspective to a succession of lifetimes, from study and contemplation of I have learnt. In this life of gratitude my mind is much more opened, relaxed and happy than ever before.
This is the basis, I believe, that makes colors more brilliant, tastes more delicious, bypassing sounds more pleasing to my ears, and every movement around me more subtly elegant. I experience it as a happy-sad beauty, being at the same time acutely aware that all these sensations are impermanent, not satisfying on the long run and similar to a reflection of the world on a soap bubble. Yet, this is anything but a melancholic feeling to me, instead it evokes a strong and steady determination to continue to pursue my path in Dharma study and ordination.