October 15, 2005


In the Dhammapada, the most authoritative teachings of Buddha, it is said in chapter three that:
A well-directed mind creates more well-being than the wholesome actions of parents toward their children.
I have thought to myself about parental love and wondered aloud to others at times whether it would be possible to love others like parents love their children. As most of us are intimately familiar parents care for their children to a point at which they say things like, “I want them to have a better life than I have had…I want them to have all of those things that I didn’t have…I want them to be better than I am.” How can that be so natural for us? Conversely, how can it be so naturally difficult for us to feel that way about our friends, our acquaintances or even strangers? I haven’t figured that out yet. However, I do find it interesting that this passage by the Buddha seems to address this question. If we are to have well-directed minds maybe we can bring that kind of parental love to others.
A wise man should pay attention to his mind, which is difficult to perceive. It is extremely subtle and wanders wherever it pleases. The mind, well-guarded and controlled, will bring him happiness.
I think that guard and control means many things, but first I think it starts with awareness. If we can be aware of ourselves and our thoughts we can begin to direct ourselves toward goodness, toward wholesomeness and toward happiness.