By Nhat Quan
The question is:
- Where do gentleness and love come from?
This is a rather special quality, it is hidden in all of you. To discover the hidden things in people, you first need to know what is necessary for you. The necessities for you to calculate are many in both spiritual and material aspects. But considered as basic essentials in daily life, it must be said that happiness and the factors that make it happy. The factors that make happiness are many, but they can be counted as:
- Feeling of love,
- Affection, closeness, and
- Compassion...
These are the hidden elements within you that have the power to bring happiness to you and to others. I believe that each of you has the ability to create:
- Feeling of love
- Affectionate, close
- Compassion
Feelings of love, feelings of closeness… All these kinds of feelings are collectively called gentleness. This is the basic substance of all sentient beings, whose essence is gentleness and affection for one another. So when talking about the field of affection or compassion from the Buddhist point of view, in the world calling a person's compassion is not only a matter of religion, but it is also a necessary factor for the daily life of people in all areas of the human community. Therefore, without acts of kindness, support, and love for each other, you cannot exist. And an act of mutual assistance, no matter how small, cannot be accomplished without a feeling of mutual affection.
Experience with babies shows you that, if there is no emotional feeling, or no attachment to the mother, the baby may not be breastfed. And without affection on the part of the mother, or someone else, breast milk does not come naturally.
Therefore, no matter how much paternal grandparents or maternal grandparents love a grandchild, when there is no parent, that child will follow and always be close. But when it has parents, it must follow its parents, but it doesn't follow paternal grandparents or maternal grandparents anymore. That's the way of life. That's reality.
Your own body needs a feeling of love and compassion. So when you have a calm, emotional, healthy, and joyful state of mind, it has a beneficial effect on physical health and happiness. Conversely, feelings of frustration, fear, restlessness, and anger can damage your health.
In Buddhist philosophy, especially in Buddha-nature, it refers to the most subtle, fundamental, and latent nature of the mind. This state of mind, present in every human being, is entirely unspoiled by negative emotions or thoughts. That is when you have negative thoughts, kindness, and gentleness it does not appear, but not because of that, these qualities are lost. Until you have a positive spirit of progress, gentle, loving nature will appear through the act of helping others.
You may also find your health, or emotions, enhanced by feeling healthy emotions. To understand this, you just need to think about how you feel when others show enthusiasm and sympathy for you. Or observe how your own feelings or attitudes automatically and naturally affect you inside, how they make you feel. For sure, the peaceful emotions and positive behavior that come with you will lead to a happier family and community life.
So I think you can conclude that basic human nature is:
- Gentleness.
And if that's the case, gentleness makes life all the more meaningful when it comes to a lifestyle that better suits your basic gentle nature.
Thus, if you fully notice and develop the core nature of gentleness and love, it will be possible to resolve all conflicts and aggressive behavior around you very well.
Of course, you cannot ignore the fact that there are always conflicts and tensions, not only within your mind, or in your personal life but also within your family, as you interact with others, and at the social, national, and even global levels. So looking at the current state of society, some of you conclude that human nature is basically aggressive. They can point to human history, and compared with other species, human behavior is much more aggressive. This may be true. As a matter of fact, you know, love or gentleness is part of the mind, but anger, greed, hatred, and selfishness are also part of the mind. They are equally part of your nature, both more or less shared in your being
Therefore, I believe that, once you practice cultivation, you can develop a more loving and gentle nature, then the anger, violence, and aggressive nature can be controlled completely or little or very little. Anger can arise, I think, but that is only secondary, or more superficial, in a sense arise when you get frustrated in your attempt to gain personal gain.
So although aggression may occur, I believe these conflicts are not necessarily your nature but rather the result of your knowledge. Because once your intelligence is out of balance, or misuse your intelligence, and use your creativity in the wrong place, then your ability and your intelligence develop in an unbalanced way, unbalanced with love and gentleness, it will become destructive. It will lead to disaster.
But, When you know if your conflicts are caused by the misuse of intelligence, you can also use intelligence to find ways and means to overcome those conflicts. When your intelligence and your kindness or affection are used together, all your actions become constructive. When you combine a warm heart with knowledge and education, you will learn to respect the views and rights of others. This becomes the basis for the spirit of reconciliation to work through your resentments and resolve your conflicts.
No matter how much violence, or how many bad things people have to endure, I believe that the ultimate solution to conflicts, both internal and external, lies in the basic nature of human nature gentleness and love.
To be able to develop gentleness, and love to the fullest, you have to admit that your behavior is mostly selfish, in a common sense seeking self-interest, for your own family, has been ingrained in your heart from East to West. The thought that not only makes you selfish but also aggressive and hostile is a part of your basic nature that has resided in you, in every living being, since time immemorial.
But when you know how to cultivate your mind, most of you tend to be selfless. Altruism is a part of your survival instinct that contrasts with earlier thinkers' theories that hostility and aggression are the hallmarks of your survival instincts.
Looking at natural disasters around the world, you can see that many benefactors work together to help each other, and tend to avoid possible psychological problems later on, which can be real. It is possible because of true love.
With gentleness and genuine love, there is a tendency to associate closely with others and to act for the welfare of others as well as for yourself is a remarkable force. Indeed, when you join together and become a member of a group there is a higher chance of survival, and no force can destroy it. Therefore, a need to establish close social relations is essential to a gentle and loving nature.
In Dr. Larry's studies, which examined risk factors for coronary artery disease, people often reminded themselves by using pronouns such as:
- Me, and mine
By reminding yourself that you are more susceptible to coronary artery disease, even when health-threatening behaviors are contained. Scientists discovered that people who are less socially connected, seem to have poor health, higher levels of unhappiness, and are more prone to stress. Meanwhile, those of you who extend a helping hand to others may be necessary for the practice of loving-kindness and gentleness, but also for your own well-being. Because in addition to demonstrating the development of the ability to have love and altruism, it is also one of the beauties of humanity and makes people healthy, happy, and young.
Because while special areas of the brain are dedicated to the potential for love and gentleness if you are placed in the right social environment, that is, a society that loves, respects, and appreciates each other, the most secretive places of the brain begin to develop and mature and the capacity for altruism grows. In the same way, all of you have the capacity and the seed of love, when placed in the right circumstances at home, or in society in general, and then through your definite efforts, that seed will sublimate.
With that concept in mind, sociologists are now seeking to uncover the best environmental conditions for the seeds of concern and compassion to ripen in their children. They have recognized some necessary factors, so there are parents who try to practice, self-regulate, can regulate their emotions, and set an example of how to be considerate. Teach the limits of their children's conduct, instill in their children an understanding of responsibility for their children's conduct, and use that understanding to help their children be mindful of emotional states, or consequences of their treatment of others.
Once everyone in the human community learns to use gentleness and compassion rather than aggression or selfishness, your relationship with the world around you changes instantaneously. Change, of course, tends to be healthy. Indeed, if you look at other friends living on the basis of love instead of hostility and selfishness, this helps you to reduce stress, trust, live comfortably, and make your life more secure, and happy.
Remember, the purpose of life is happiness. This simple statement can be used as a powerful tool to help you overcome the difficulties of everyday life. From that perspective, your task is to eliminate the things that lead to suffering and accumulate the things that lead to happiness. This daily practice leads to a gradual increase in your awareness, and understanding of what actually leads to happiness, and what does not.
When life gets too complicated and you find it unbearable, it is often helpful to take the time to stop and remember your whole purpose, your whole goal, which is:
- Happy
So when dealing with feelings of stagnation and confusion, all you need to do is spend an hour, or an afternoon, even if it takes a few days, to think:
- Does that really bring happiness? Will it help you? Or is that making you miserable?
You think carefully and then rearrange your way of life, what to prioritize, to keep you treasured, you practice first. What needs to be given up, definitely give up without hesitation. This will put your life back in the right frame, give you new perspectives, and help you in what direction to go.
Sometimes you are faced with key decisions that can affect your whole life. For example, you decide to focus on the spiritual life, such as leaving home to study religion… or following a course to become a lawyer, artist, electrician, or doctor….
Once you have a choice, you are strongly determined to achieve happiness. You know what factors lead to happiness and take positive steps to build a happy life. The turning point towards happiness is a valuable goal, and the conscious decision to seek happiness in a systematic way will profoundly change the rest of your life.
Understanding the factors that will lead to happiness, is based on a lifetime of methodical observation of the mind, investigation of the nature of the human condition, and investigation of these things within the framework set forth by the Buddha established for the first time in nearly 26 centuries. And from this process, give you clear conclusions about which activities and thoughts are most valuable.
Your day-to-day life is full of hope, although there is no guarantee of the future. There is no guarantee that you will still be here tomorrow at the same time. But you still work for it purely on the basis of hope. So you need to make the most of your time and don't waste it on useless things. I believe the correct use of time is like this:
- If you can serve others, other sentient beings, or do something meaningful for a day.
If not, at least refrain from harming others, or other sentient beings, I think that is the whole basis for you to have a meaningful life.
In short, reflect on what has real value to life, what gives meaning to life, and prioritize on that basis. But no matter what, life goals need to be positive. You were not born for the purpose of causing trouble to harm others, for your life to have value. But for your life to have value, I think you have to develop your good, basic qualities which are:
- Enthusiastic, kind, and compassionate.
If you do that, your life will become more meaningful, more peaceful, and happier.
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