Living according to your beliefs
Whether or not you follow a faith or religion, most of us have core beliefs. A moral code that we claim is our center, that we use to determine which choice we make when we have a decision. Yet we all fall short of living up to our espoused ideals.
Here is my three point plan for improving my living according to the teaching Buddha left, for those that follow another path, just make your own list according to your beliefs. The main point is that if we all take the time to put these beliefs at the front of our decision making, we should all become better people. Now if everyone who reads and adopts this idea, influences one other person to do the same, and they influence one other person, the world will be a better place for all of us.
1. Equality: in Buddhism all beings are equal, we are all just trying to avoid suffering. This means my family, friends, neighbors, strangers, the cat that watches as I pass it’s window, even those pesky mosquitoes all have a right to life. So before I make a purchase, I will consider if this purchase has harmed or will harm other beings. Included in this will be has the product been tested on animals.? Is the production of the product, done with minimal or no damage to the environment, or better yet does it leave the environment in better condition. Which means choosing products that do not contribute to clear cutting forests, or depleting stocks of endangered species as examples. Is there a locally made product instead of one that saves us pennies but was transported around the world. By choosing locally made products where possible we help our neighbors, reduce our carbon footprint, and help stem the tide of driving wages worldwide to the lowest wage available anywhere else.
2. Charity: I have written before about not giving money to beggars, but rather giving them a meal bought from a nearby restaurant or street vendor. As a Buddhist I believe I will share in the karma generated by the purchase the person makes with the money I give. So it is better I buy the a healthy meal, than give money that supports their addictive behaviors. This way I am not enabling the person to harm themselves. Alternatively to volunteer with a charity that helps those who need a hand up, not a hand out. Think back to the last time you gave money to a street person, did you bend down to their level if they were sitting, or did you just drop the money into their cup or hat. By bending down and offering them a meal you are showing them respect as a being that has value. If you live some place where winter has arrived, instead of coins in their cup, perhaps a hot chocolate or coffee would be appreciated, with a few kind words as well, you just might see the person smile. This combines our charitable action with equality. Always be aware that you are offering a hand up, not a hand out, for we are only a decision or unexpected circumstance from being where that person is. No one chooses to be a beggar on the street, as their first choice, rather it is a choice of desperation.
3. Choose one more of your core beliefs and insert here. We will all choose something, but probably not the same issue. However by making even these three changes to how we live will change the world. In the only way it has been successively done, by changing ourselves. I listed several people as teachers I respect a few months ago, and they are all people who changed the way they did things, and inspired others to do the same. By changing ourselves, we offer an example of a better way forward, as others follow us, it strengthens us to continue to improve.