This is not the traditional way of defining what matters or keeping score, but as usual, the Buddha breaks it down brilliantly to the core meaning of life. If the Buddha really said it. Some say he didn’t and that it’s a fake quote. It doesn’t really matter to me, because it’s brilliant really, and made me think about what my life review might be like when I reach the end. How would I fare if measured against this definition?
Then I took it one step further. What would it be like, I wondered, if everyone kept score this way?
So how are we doing in the world? We’re in the 21st century and there’s still not enough love to go around. Despite the Golden Rule, despite religious institutions, despite all the things we humans have put in place or say we believe, just look around. If love is the answer, the world isn’t doing very well. But little pockets of people who live their love exist everywhere. I know some of them. I’d like to know more. And I’d like to be more loving, myself.
When I see a reference to gentle living, I always think of the environment and the footprint we leave on the world. We’re not doing so well there, either. Yes, it’s much easier to simply throw that empty plastic container away than to wash it for recycling. Some people still litter, we see evidence of it everywhere.Too few are conserving water in drought-plagued regions. And big, gas-guzzling vehicles are still popular. Gentle living also makes me think of gentle touches with our loved ones, our colleagues and our friends. I can do better here.
Letting go of things not meant for us? That’s such a big one. Letting go of a loved one or a beloved. Or of a toxic job. Letting go of a home. I can think of many ways we are challenged to let go. I haven’t always done these with grace.
There isn’t enough emphasis on these kind of precepts from parents or at school. It’s likely that few kids would identify these as being important.. So is it any wonder that bullying is rampant in schools? that vile lyrics can be heard on popular songs? and that kids instead look up to celebrities who haven’t done anything but seek fame and fortune?
It would be nice if organized religion did a better job teaching these concepts. It’s not like they are completely absent from most religious instruction; they’re just absent from the way many religious people live. No denomination does a good job with these concepts.
I’d love to know where your mind went when you read the quote. Your thoughts?