Very few people do serious crimes against humanity; this isn’t about those. This is about when you’re having a bad day and you snap at someone. Little things matter.

 

By Daniel Scharpenburg

This is a list of four seemingly simple things we can do that are great, that will be really helpful to us on the path.

 

Do Good

Be nice. Say hello to people. Ask how you can help them. Hold open doors. Say please and thank you. These are simple things we can do. We want to try to be helpful and kind in as many ways as we can throughout the day. Don’t be part of the problem in someone’s day. Doing good deeds creates and sustains a positive attitude.

Don’t Be a Jerk

The actual wording is “Avoid Doing EviI.” I think that’s a much heavier description than what we’re talking about here. So, I borrowed the phrase “Don’t be a jerk,” from Brad Warner. We need to pay close attention to our thoughts words and deeds and notice when we might be causing harm. In the context of this slogan we are mostly referring to little things. Very few people do serious crimes against humanity; this isn’t about those. This is about when you’re having a bad day and you snap at someone. Little things matter.

The last two slogans are traditionally about making offerings to bad spirits and praying to good ones. I’m reinterpreting them for our purposes here, but I don’t believe in spirits.

Appreciate Your Weaknesses

This means noticing the areas where we struggle and accepting these things about ourselves instead of beating ourselves up. Bodhi, a friend of mine at the Inner Peace Buddhist Center, once said that when he would be clumsy or fail at something he used to always say to himself, “You’re stupid.” He would tear himself down. But, after a while he adjusted things and instead he would say, “You’re stupid, but I love you,” to himself. That’s what we’re talking about here. Don’t beat yourself up. Just do your best.

Be Positive

This means just reminding ourselves that we can do this, that we are worthy of the path and that our true nature is basically good. It’s hard to be positive; it’s hard to believe in ourselves. Because it’s hard we often need reminders. You are worthy.

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

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Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel lives in Kansas City. He's an ordained Zen Teacher in the Order of Hsu Yun. He regularly teaches at the Open Heart Project and he leads public meditations. His focus is on the mindfulness practices rooted in the earliest Zen teachings. He believes that these teachings can be shared with a little more simplicity and humility than we often see. He has been called "A great everyman teacher" and "Really down-to-earth"

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