I was cleaning out my office the other day after we came back from vacation. Having cleared my mind, I wanted to clear the physical space I live in as well. In amongst all the student essays, stacks of books (most of which are now all gone, given away to anyone who wanted them), I found a small piece of paper, a little crinkled.
It was a holiday card wishing friends a peaceful holiday season and a joyous new year sent out a few years ago from the monastery where my teacher, Master Ji Ru is the abbot. Printed over a lovely photo of the meditation hall under a blanket of snow are these words:
Do not find fault with others.
Do not worry about what others do or not do.
Rather, look within yourself to find out
what you yourself have done or left undone.
Stop doing evil, do good.
Could it be any simpler?
1. Do not find fault with others. How often do we find ourselves during the day, either silently or aloud, being critical of what others do? And why do we do this? So we can feel more clever, superior?
2. Do not worry about what others do or not do. I know I can be the worst offender here myself. It seems this kind of thing happens all the time at home, at work, in community. Snarky little comments about who did what or didn’t do … and again, for what? So we can say, so and so didn’t do blah blah blah but I! I DID THIS AND THAT and so on! Look at ME!
3. Rather, look within yourself to find out what you yourself have done or left undone. Ah, here is where the rubber hits the road. Instead of looking at everyone else, what if we just took great care in this simple observation? What if we could abandon the practice of examining everyone else and refrain from all the snarky thoughts and comments which do nothing to make a more peaceful world – which in fact only create more trouble, upset and genuine suffering. Instead, what if we took all that energy and used it for being mindful and honest of our own thoughts and actions; and then just did what needs to be done plain and simple.
4. Stop doing evil, do good. I think this sort of summarizes the 3 steps in the verse. While, we might think evil is a pretty heavy word depending on our own religious backgrounds, on the other hand, from small bad things big evil things sometimes come. So, rather than quibbling over words, try this if evil seems to heavy.
Don’t do bad. Do good.
Imagine how peaceful the world would be if everyone could practice living this way.
Sometimes, I’m glad there’s a bit of a mess to clean up. The process always leads to the gold!
Thanks for stopping by. Wishing everyone peace and happiness, hij