Reply To: On Principles to cultivate and live by


I see a lot of good advice. Here are a few more.

Merit giving is always good. You can “give” only after “gaining”. But that “gain” could come in many ways: when one gives to the poor, animals, and especially to bhikkhus, one “gains” merits for oneself, which one can the share with all beings, in one’s mid. One can also gain by doing satipatthana (being mindful). When one has avoided a bad kamma by being mindful, one will feel the “joy”, which again one share, etc. One can also gain by doing vipassana (insight meditation) by contemplating on Dhamma concepts (dasa akusala, five precepts, anicca, dukkha, anatta, paticca samuppada, etc).

One can gain “niramisa sukha” or “cooling down” just living a simple life. When we try to accumulate too many material things (thinking that they will provide us with pleasures), they only increase the burdens that we are already carrying. That does not mean one should give up everything. One needs certain things live this life. But the minimum one can live is the best. One has to be wise in making decisions though. For example, there is no point in paying for a “high end car” costing a lot money, but one should not buy a cheap car that breaks down often too (if one can afford); buying a “really cheap” car would only add more problems to handle, when it starts breaking down.

By the way, I would not worry about whether devas exist or not. We can see the suffering of humans and especially animals. Think about the pain suffered by an animal while being eaten alive or an old person without anyone to help. When I see those old people begging, I wonder what they would do when they get sick. That generates a lot of compassion. Then it is only natural to give merits to all such beings in this world. There are countless beings in much worse conditions.

So, we must not be depressed even if we do have problems. Everyone does. We just need to try to minimize the suffering by acting mindfully. Most of the things that we can do are not that hard to do. We just need to slowly start seeing the “hidden suffering” in things that we perceive to provide pleasure. Just like a fish bites into a “tasty looking” worm on a hook, we tend to overlook the suffering hidden in sense pleasures. Simple life is a happy life.

It may be a good idea to read of the posts in the following sections. Each person’s level of understanding is different. So, one can read different sections and see which ones resonate with oneself.
Moral Living and Fundamentals
Living Dhamma