We are incredibly fortunate to have the visit of H. E. Dagyab Rinpoche in May at both Jewel Heart Ann Arbor and Jewel Heart New York. As such, we highlight the foreward and first 17 out of 52 topics for contemplation in the 2005 Tibethaus publication, BEING A GOOD HUMAN BEING (Some Fundamental Thoughts on Human Communication).
I am not concerned here with high-level, demanding Buddhist topics such as meditation, bodhicitta, emptiness, tantra, enlightenment, and so forth. All I am concerned with here is the basis of human values, just “being a good human being.” This is the starting point for both social and spiritual communication. If these qualities are lacking I cannot find peace within myself and therefore cannot find it in society, either. If I turn away from them, I shall not only shut the door to my own inner development through Buddhist methods, but to all spiritual and social paths as well. This is the basis of everything.
I think that other people as well, such as my students and friends, might benefit from this, (although) this manner of reflection may not be so customary in the West. Perhaps as a Westerner one needs some experience with the Dharma in order to understand my advice correctly.
The following is important: When I engage in reflection I always do so based on what is the most natural assumption for me; that everything arises dependently and must be understood as existing interdependently. As a rule, people in the West tend to adopt a somewhat one-sided perspective; they do not understand that their perception of the “external world” also arises in dependence on their own mental dispositions.
The following is important, too, since it is often misunderstood in the West; self-confidence and inner strength, the ability to look after oneself and others at the same time as well, has nothing whatever to do with egocentrism. This distinction is most important. Otherwise one becomes more and more entangled in the “net of mental poisons,” expecting too much of oneself in the name of what seems to be altruism, behind which conceit and pride take cover.
In any case, you should take an open and neutral approach to my theses, i.e., without clinging to your own habitual patterns. You (yourselves) must find the right perspective for this. I also encourage you to reflect on these points again and again.
I want to be a good human being! There is no human being who wants to be bad. Therefore I must be mindful of the following points every day:
I. General Considerations
Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018