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23. Our Duties Towards Others

11/06/202008:57(Xem: 775)
23. Our Duties Towards Others

OUR DUTIES TOWARDS OTHERS

Venerable Sumangalo

It is so easy for us to think of our duties to ourselves and also of our rights. It is quite true that we have duties to ourselves and we also have rights. But if we allow ourselves to centre our thoughts on self, then we have overlooked something that is very important in the Buddhist way of life, and that is our duty to others.

No one can ever be truly happy who thinks only of himself, of his own needs and wants, his own likes and dislikes and his own pleasures. Each of us has duties towards our friends, associates, and to all living beings everywhere.

In modern times we hear a great deal about co-operation. The Chinese have a very expressive way of stating the idea of co-operation. It is “pulling together”. To be self-centred is to pull away from others. Most of the good things in life can be had more easily by all of us if there is more and more pulling together.

Our Buddhist religion teaches us that selfishness is a poison. If we seek only our own personal happiness, then we are pulling against ourselves. A man may gain riches, power and fame, but they are not sure guarantees of happiness. There is a very beautiful word which is the same in both Sanskrit and Pali, Mudita, meaning the joy we find in the joy of others. A person who is glad that others are happy has an unselfish heart and such a person, whether child or grown-up is good at “pulling together”. Envy at the sight of others’ happiness is a sure sign of selfishness.

While we are still young, we ought to start learning the importance of group-effort, of “pulling together”, in order to bring about the well-being and happiness of all. Being a member of a Buddhist Dharma school is a good way to learn how to get along well with others and to “pull together.” When we are older we ought to join a Buddhist Association and take part in as many of its activities as possible. We must never make the mistake of believing that anyone who thinks only of himself and keeps to himself, can find real happiness.

 

THE ONENESS OF LIFE

O Heart of all the world
You beat as one,
All suffer pain and loss
When evil’s done.

Think not, oh, lordly man
To stand alone,
Harm but the weakest life
And all atone.

Creatures that walk or run,
Fly, swim or crawl,
Hurt to the least of them
Is hurt to all.

By his deeds, good or ill,
Each seals his fate,
Strive to help, heal and bless
Early and late.

Oh, wondrous Soul of Things
You too, are One
All will be merged in Thee
When peace is won.

Life’s troublous ocean crossed,
Enfranchised free,
Those who have reached Life’s goal
Are One with Thee

                                               -Geraldine E. Lyster.

 

QUESTIONS

  1. Is it easier to think of ourselves or of others?
  2. Do we have duties to ourselves and also to others?
  3. What are some duties we have to ourselves?
  4. What are some duties we have to others?
  5. Can a selfish person be really happy?
  6. What is the Chinese way of saying Co-operation?
  7. When is the best time to learn to “pull together”?
  8. When we are grown-ups, what are some good ways of “pulling together”?
  9. If we bring other children to the Dharma school, is that doing a duty to others?
  10. What is the best way we can work together to make a bigger, happier and better Dharma school?
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