I wrote this down on a notepad for myself while listening to a dharma talk a long time ago. It was from Steve Armstrong on https://dharmaseed.org/. The talk was about the 10 Paramis, or qualities of character the Buddha cultivated within himself to cross the metaphorical river to freedom. I am sorry to say i can't find the exact dharma talk it was. He is a wonderful teacher, I highly recommend him. And this website is a terrific resource for sure!
Anyway, he started off a talk with this little list. I am paraphrasing here but it basically went like this:
Do good deeds
Avoid causing harm
Purify your mind
Bring up the wholesome
Diminish the unwholesome
Generosity is the first of the paramis
Dukha (suffering) = Craving
The End of Dukha = Letting Go
This little list inspires me so much! Especially “purify your mind.” What does that mean?
We are all human. There will be times when we think thoughts about others that are less than well-wishing. It is going to happen. That doesn’t make us a “bad” person. Yet we don't want to be seduced into indulging in unkind thoughts. Have you ever fallen into a little gossip? I know I have. When I feel I have been wronged, I definitely have the tendency to ruminate on the offense. I can definitely go to a self-righteous place and think non-well-wishing thoughts about the “offender”. In these cases, for me, it takes some attention and intention to redirect my mind towards wholesome thoughts. It takes practice to let go. It helps me to remember that the work of yoga is to purify the mind. That doesn’t mean repress, or spiritually by-pass. Sometimes we do need to think about bad experiences to heal. We might need to analyze to understand and give ourselves time to grieve. But then a time comes when we can get stuck in a rumination quagmire--and flail around in it. Or we can actively engage in our healing process, digest the experience and transform it into wisdom. That is purifying the mind. Taking care of our suffering so we can heal ourselves and help heal the world. Directing our energies towards the wholesome, diminishing the unwholesome, purifying the thoughts.
What do you think? Does this resonate? Does this list inspire you?
Here is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita that resonates for me:
Be fearless and pure; never waver in your determination or your dedication to the spiritual life. Give freely. Be self-controlled, sincere, truthful, loving and full of the desire to serve. Realize the truth of the scriptures. Learn to be detached and to take joy in renunciation. Do not get angry or harm any living creature, but be compassionate and gentle; show good will to all. Cultivate vigor, patience, will, purity, avoid malice and pride. Then Arjuna, you will achieve your divine destiny. 16:1
May this practice serve for the awakening of all.