Perception is Reality

“We need to get worthy of our own selves and understand that no one is more deserving of our best behavior than we are.” Rochelle Pennington, Writer.

Buddhism teaches about the law of cause and effect. This law states that the deeds that we do come back to us. So why do we, people in general, do bad things? Even when we learn about the law, we still do bad, behave poorly, and so on. Through our deeds, we are the makers of our own future. If our behavior is bad towards others then for sure we are creating a bad destiny, and making a bad relationship with that person. Sometimes I wonder why we do such things, even when we know the law of cause and effect.

Do we think that by behaving in such a way we will get back at that person, cause them hurt for the hurt they caused us? In this way we hold on to resentment for things done months or years ago, things that are better to be forgotten about. Resentment affects the person who is holding it. By reliving the experience in the mind, the person being hurt is me, the thinker. But for some reason we still persist in cultivating them thoughts, when we could be directing our thoughts to something good.

But if we think about who we are truly hurting, then we might take stock of what we are thinking and refrain. A person who is thinking about a hurtful experience probably will not have a smiling face. Their face will resemble the thoughts they are thinking, and they most likely will be unaware of how they look to others. When your mind is absorbed in anger or resentment, the face and body posture show it in the form of anger, sadness or unhappiness in general. In the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, there is a man who is very tall and very overweight, and in constant pain because of his weight. He says that when people see him they get frightened because he looks angry. But, he says, he is not angry, he is just in pain. However, people only see what shows on his face. The majority of people we meet during our day won’t ask why you look the way you look; we take people at face value most of the time. ‘First impressions count’ and ‘Perception is reality’ so the sayings go.

A friend told me once that when he puts on a suit, he get many more glances and smiles from the opposite sex than when he is wearing casual clothes. We all have had similar experiences probably. This is a simple example of the deed coming back to the doer. The good deed of putting more effort into looking nice has the result of attracting more positive attention. What about if we polish our character and personality that shines through our smile and behavior? This will surely attract good results just as wearing nice clothes do.

Actors emphasize this point. I admired them for their ability to be flexible and multi dimensional. They can convincingly play a different character and person in every show. Some will say, that is not reality and just actors on TV. But isn’t life like acting? Don’t we all put on act when we meet? Some of us do it better than others, that is all. We are the person who is most deserving of our best behavior. We deserve to do good for our own sake, even a good deed that is done towards someone else, knowing the effect will come to me alone. My cause my effect.

When we do things for others, it can be very conditional. We do more for those we like, and less for others. But if we keep in mind that no matter for whom we are doing a good deed, and the more of our heart that we put into that action, the greater the results will be for us. When we think about good deeds in this way, maybe we can improve our behavior in all areas of our life, our mind included.


One of my favorite authors, the American writer, Henry Miller said, “Example moves the world more than doctrine.”

When I think about this in terms of Buddhism I am made to remember how many times I have heard that just learning the doctrine of Buddhism is not enough; it must be put into practice. A person leads by example, not by words alone. Learning a doctrine is the first step, but to reap the benefits of the doctrine, it must be put into practice. Buddha taught the six good deeds, and the seven deeds that can be done without having, such as smiling, saying kind words, giving physical labor, a meal and so on. The common thread between these is that they are all actions. One who understands a doctrine will put it into practice. One who understands Buddhism the most will practice good deeds the most. The doctrine and behavior go hand in hand.

Frank Costelloe, USA

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #33 | 2013, Perception is Reality

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