Buddhism is not about becoming good, yet is

A good topic over at Thoughts Chase Thoughts: Buddhism is not about becoming a good person, but becoming a human being.

And really, it is about both. It is about deepening into our humanity, as it is, and as it reveals itself and matures when not resisted. And it is about living from ethical guidelines, from the empathy that naturally emerges from embracing the fullness of our own humanity, and from the inherent goodness revealed behind narrow beliefs and identities.

By deepening in our embrace of the fullness of who we are, as human beings, there is a release of resistance to any of it and also a release of beliefs and identities. This opens for a recognition of our shared humanity, and of ourselves and others, which in turn tends to lead to a natural empathy which spills over into our lives. And this release of beliefs and identities also invites us to notice what we are.

Exploring what we are, untouched by stories, there is a fuller allowing and a wider embrace of who we are, as human beings. And there is also an uncovering of the inherent compassion and wisdom in what we are, this awake void and form, noticing itself, even while operating through this one particular human self.

And by following ethical guidelines throughout this process, we are more likely to stay out of trouble and be less of a nuisance to others in a conventional way, and it also helps us deepen into who and what we are. Ethical guidelines helps us notice what is happening, what comes up in us and how we relate to it. They serve as a pointer for recognizing our shared humanity and ourselves in others. And they mimic how we naturally live our lives within the context of Big Mind/Big Heart awake to itself.

Initial draft:  

A good topic over at Thoughts Chase Thoughts: Buddhism is not about becoming a good person, but becoming a human being.

But really, Buddhism seems to be about both. It is a deepening into our humanity. It is about following some basic guidelines for ethical behavior. It is about living from a recognition of our shared humanity, and the empathy emerging from that recognition. And it is about uncovering our basic and inherent goodness, untouched by beliefs and identities.

We deepen into a wide embrace of our humanity, finding the wholeness already there, and exploring in daily life how to live from and express it. And to do this, resistance to who we are need to fall away (identification with that resistance), which means that we eventually need to awaken to what we are as well. The awakeness needs to awaken to itself, which in turn allows for a more full and free healing, maturing and development of this human self.

At the same time, during this process we need ethics which not only guides our behavior, but also the process itself. Ethics becomes a pointer for us to recognize ourselves in others and find our shared humanity, which invites a natural empathy and compassion, and also some wisdom.

As usual, there is a mutuality between the two.

Deepening into who we are opens for recognition, empathy and some wisdom. Deepening into what we are is also a deepening into both of those, in the form of Big Heart and Big Mind.

And ethics keeps us out of trouble in the process (at least to some extent), makes us less of a nuisance to others (hopefully), and also serve as a pointer for deepening into who and what we are. It is a mirroring of how we naturally live when there is a wide embrace of who we are as human being, and when we notice what we are as awake void and form.

In the quote, Roshi Kwong of course points to the danger of being caught up in ideas of how or who to be. If I have an idea of what a good person is, and think I should be a good person, then I have to deny large parts of who I am, which tends to obscure for me who and what I am, and the inherent – or basic – goodness in it all when it is not resisted and knows itself in a more mature way.

The mirror side of this is to be caught up in an idea of not having to be a good person, which is still only an idea, and for some could be taken as a license to live from whatever comes up, no matter its effects on oneself and others.

As long as we take ideas as saying something real about the world, we may as well attach to useful ones, the ones that reduces suffering and invites a deepening into who and what we are. And ethical guidelines are an example of these.

One thought to “Buddhism is not about becoming good, yet is”

  1. I like the idea of putting “good” aside, with all the conceptions and misconceptions of what that may be. For many people, I think that that is not only a — ahem — good idea, it is necessary for their trod on the path.

    Many people have a mishappened association with a false “good,” where goodness is an oppressive wholesomeness that they seek to impose on others as much as on themself.

    Isn’t what we want ‘to escape dogmatic ethics’? goodness that comes from rules following? Isn’t the ‘best’ ethics improvisational, when you reach a point where you just ‘know’ what to do?

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