Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The Simple Things

Tajik children review tattered class notes before school.   photo Michael Yamashita

   "We human beings all live on the love of others, and even during our short life when we believe we are  independent, we are not; we are still dependent, we need the love of others, we need appreciation from others, we need help and support from others. If we don’t support each other and help each other, we cannot get anything done. We can’t be successful or happy; we cannot do anything or progress. It’s like the saying: “When the trees support each other, then we have houses and cities, when human beings support each other we have society, we have civilisation.” If there is no support, there is no society or civilisation, so the whole of human civilisation, human society, survives on supporting and helping each other.

    "This is very important to understand. When we understand this, that we are not independent, that we are totally dependent,  completely dependent, that we live by the love of others and the support of others, we grow and develop because of that dependence. Not only at the time of dying but also the bit in between. When we understand this, then when we are able to, we have to help others and when we help others, they will help us in return. So when I help somebody, when I help society, when I do something good, something that’s useful and beneficial, I’m doing it for myself, and I’m doing it for society, for my own people, it’s “WE”.

    "There is this saying in Sanskrit in India: “For the sake of the world one must sacrifice one’s country, for the sake of one’s country one must sacrifice one’s village, for the sake of one’s village one must sacrifice one’s family for the sake of one’s family one must sacrifice oneself.” The world is the most important thing, because the world includes every one of us, our country, our village, our community, our family, myself.
    "If the world is going bad, then how can my country be good, my village, my family be good? So, therefore, the world is most important. But then the country is more important than my village
and family and myself, because we are all included in the country. So, if the country is in a very bad situation, a negative situation, getting into wars and famines, then it will affect my village and family, and myself. Then, my village is important because that is where my family and I live. Then, next in importance is my family because I am part of that too.

  "But, I think that way of looking at this can become a little reversed in a very materialistic egoistic way, in a kind of ultra-modern way of looking sometimes. For my sake, I sacrifice my family, for the sake of my family, I sacrifice my village, for the sake of my village, I sacrifice my country, for the sake of my country, I sacrifice my world. For me, I sacrifice the whole world! Sometimes it’s like that nowadays, but that’s totally idiotic because it’s not possible. I cannot have something really good if everyone is in a bad shape. So, the most important understanding is to think about how dependent I am, how interdependent we all are. When I know that I am interdependent with others, if I do something for others, it’s not just others who are benefitting but I am also receiving benefit. It’s not like a business (transaction). When I do something that I know and understand is something beneficial then I feel more useful, more important, more meaningful. But if I think only of what ways to help myself and nobody else, where will it get me? Maybe we have to think that. What should I do if I just want to help myself and nobody else? How can I do it? Should I just close my door and sit in a room? Cook myself very nice food and sleep all day. That may be nice for a few days but then what would happen?"

from a teaching by Ringu Rulku Rinpoche, given in Helsinki, Finland, 2012
transcribed by Margaret Ford
courtesy of Minna Stenroos.

Thank you

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