24 April 2012

Dharma Test

I recently heard a great test for whether I'm practicing in line with the Dharma or not: I simply have to ask whether what I'm doing is making myself a burden to anyone else, the world, myself, etc.:

     Do others have to dance around me?
     Do I require others to act a certain way for my well-being?
     Do I make others do things I could do myself?
     Do my actions force them to make accommodations in theirs?
     Does my presence weigh people down?
     Do they find me obnoxious, intrusive, inhospitable?
     Does my one issue lead to many more for others?
     Does what I'm doing hinder my practice?
     Does what I'm doing make it harder to keep the precepts?

If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes," then I'm not practicing the Dharma.  I'd heard of aiming more and more at living without trace or remainder, but this really puts the whole thing in a more accessible, concrete frame of reference.

The Dharma is the gate to the kind of happiness that is not bought in the coin of others' unhappiness.  The practice of the Dharma is not a zero-sum game.  It is the path of great ease for myself and for others.

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