“Successful people are always looking for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people are always asking, “What’s in it for me?”
This is a quote from someone. It reminds me of what I have learned in Buddhist lectures. To be happy, I have learned to give. Give, give, give. Think, “how can I give?”
When a farmer plants a seed in a field, it might seem that he is giving the seed away. But we know that he is planting it in order to reap the produce. Without planting the seeds he will never have a produce. If he does not plant he will be able to keep the seed, but he will never reap the potential use of the seed and reap its real benefit.
The same applies to acts of giving. When giving it might seem as though you are losing. But the law that governs the farmer’s seed and the law that governs human acts is the same. It’s the law of cause and effect. What one sows, one shall reap in kind. If one plants a seed of a tomato, a tomato will grow.
Planting seeds of happiness will be the cause for a destiny of happiness to grow. The more “seeds” we plant, the more consistent and bigger the future happiness.
Maybe someone is thinking, “well, I have not lived a very good life up to now. I have done bad things, and I am reaping the results of unhappiness from those actions. My life is hopeless. This is who I am.” Even if you do not consciously think such thoughts, deep down maybe we all have feelings from regrettable things we have done in the past. In reality there is no need to despair. And there is reason to be optimistic. The power in Buddhism is always in the present moment. The “now”. The present is the key to the past and the future. What does this mean? Who you are right now is a result of everything you have done in the past, up until this moment. So, for example, a person who has lived an unwholesome life till today is who they are right now because of those actions. Those actions were choices. And choices shape our lives. But choices are made in the present. What choices are you making? Are they good or bad? The future is determined by the choices that are being made right now. Therefore from the Buddhist teachings, each moment is a chance for a new beginning. At first it might be a small step towards good, but as consistent small steps are done in that direction, they will create a greater and greater impact on one’s future. Giving oneself wholeheartedly to making better choices will impact one’s life greatly.
Buddhism teaches that the mind is the most important and “heaviest” of our actions, surpassing body and speech. Why? Because the mind is the source of all body and speech actions. In this sense, the mind is the true creator of our lives. Our thoughts shape our future. Therefore we are advised to sow good seeds consistently and avoid planting bad. In this way your life is sure to improve. Ultimately, looking at the big picture, which Buddhism does anyway, at the end of our life we take nothing with us, except our deeds. Our deeds not only determine our destiny in this life, but in our afterlife too. They are that important.
Getting back to the opening line of this column. Success can be deemed as happiness. I am very impressed by the understanding of the person who wrote it. In two lines he has summed up the key to happiness. These words can make a better Buddhist. Let’s take these words with us in our day. Let’s have a mindset of “how can I help?” This is the Buddhist spirit. In a world where too many people only know of trying to get for themselves, let’s share this Buddhist spirit of giving in order to both give and gain happiness.
Frank Costelloe, USA
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #30 | 2013, The Truth of Humans Revealed
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