Playing your part


Looking after yourself; taking responsibility for your life




Responsibility for your actions

In any given situation in which we play a part, some of what happens in that situation is our own doing.  

If we have displayed “greed”, “anger” or “ignorance” (sin, as opposed to ethics), then things will probably not go as well as they would otherwise have done.  

Taking responsibility for our actions means to stand up and be counted for what we have done.  We owe this to the other participants, so that: 1) they do not unjustly take the blame or credit; and so that: 2) they know who to ask for information.  


Playing your part

In a cooperative situation, where people are cooperating together to achieve a common goal, then there are a number of roles to be played, and each falls to a particular person.  

If someone fails to play their part, then we say they are shirking their responsibility, or letting the side down.  


Dependent origination

All situations are caused by other situations, and contribute causes of their own.  Sometimes, depending on circumstances, the consequences can become a disaster over time.  


“For Want of a Nail” is a proverb, having numerous variations over several centuries, reminding that seemingly unimportant acts or omissions can have grave and unforeseen consequences.




Once we commit to a cooperative engagement, we are both required and expected to see it through, unless we explicitly take leave, and disengage from the project, using special, customary words and actions.  


Responsibility for yourself


If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?  

Hillel the Elder


Only a man himself can be the master of himself: who else from outside could be his master?  When the Master and servant are one, then there is true help and self-possession.  

Any wrong or evil a man does, is born in himself and is caused by himself; and this crushes the foolish man as a hard stone grinds the weaker stone.

And the evil that grows in a man is like the malava creeper which entangles the sala tree; and the man is brought down to that condition in which his own enemy would wish him to be.  

It is easy to do what is wrong, to do what is bad for oneself; but very difficult to do what is right, to do what is good for oneself.  

By oneself the evil is done, and it is oneself who suffers: by oneself the evil is not done, and by one's Self one becomes pure.  The pure and the impure come from oneself: no man can purify another.

Let no man endanger his duty, the good of his soul, for the good of another, however great.  When he has seen the good of his soul, let him follow it with earnestness.  

The Dhammapada


Look within and find your own power.  Place the “locus of control” within yourself.  


A worthwhile existence lies in playing whatever cards life has dealt you as skilfully as you can.  

Naoki Higashida – “Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight”