Overcoming our negative qualities and perfecting our positive ones.

 

 

 

You have control over your actions, but not the consequences of your actions.

Our only choice is to act well and hope for the best.  

Do the things the kind of person you want to be does.  

 

 

Virtue  

A policy for achieving one’s goals or values.  An attitude, habit, trait, or quality of action.  

Values grow virtues.  

 

 

Mental defilements

 

No good comes of no good.  

Anonymous

 

All contaminated phenomena are unsatisfactory.

Seal Two of the Four Seals of Buddhism

 

Let a wise man remove impurities from himself even as a silversmith removes impurities from the silver: one after one, little by little, again and again.

The Dhammapada

 

The implication is that those things that do not arise from such contaminated causes can be satisfying and fulfilling.  When we talk about contaminated phenomena in this context, we are referring to events and experiences that arise under the power of negative impulses, or afflictive thoughts and emotions; they are called “contaminated” because they are tainted by the pollutants of the mind.  That is why they are fundamentally unsatisfying, and why their nature is said to be dukkha, or suffering.

... the causes and conditions that give rise to the origination of a thing are the very causes and conditions that also plant the seed for its cessation.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama – “Transforming the Mind – Eight verses on generating compassion and transforming your life”

 

 

The Unwholesome Roots (Buddhism)

Greed

Hatred

Ignorance

 

The Wholesome Roots (Buddhism)

Generosity

Loving-kindness

Wisdom

 

Nine Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Christianity)

Love

Joy

Peace

Longsuffering

Kindness

Goodness

Faithfulness

Gentleness

Self-control

 

The Inciting Nafs (Islam)

Including:

Stinginess

Greed

Envy

Ignorance

Arrogance

Lust

Anger

Heedlessness

Coveting

Bad manners

Involvement in useless things

Making fun of others

Having malice for them

Harming them with speech or hand.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins (Christianity)

Lust

Gluttony

Greed

Sloth

Wrath

Envy

Pride

 

 

Intentions, mental defilements, and karmic actions

If your intentions are influenced by mental defilements, then the resulting actions are said to be “karmic actions” according to Buddhism.  Karmic actions are said always to be troublesome and to have negative effects on the person who does them, not to mention on the other people affected.  

Actions that affect others, and whose intentions do not have mental defilements, are fully aligned with the Healing Principle and the Definition of Goodness.  According to Buddhism, these actions lead to happiness.  

 

Sin, karmic actions, emotions, the ego and no-self

A sin is an action influenced by

An action not influenced by greed, hatred or anger is an act of perfect compassion and follows the definition of goodness.  

Try to remove greed, hatred and anger from your everyday life, and they may also shrink when it comes to difficult situations, leading to positive consequences for you and yours.  

Get to know your emotions.  The ego (skill) balances the id (emotions and instincts) with the super-ego (ethics).  The immature ego tends to give most weight to the emotions.  The emotions demand instant gratification and can lead us unthinkingly to greed and hatred, karmic actions, and sin.  A mature ego can consciously defer gratification until a more suitable time and place.  If we stop and think about what we are doing, we can consider more carefully what is the right course of action.  

We may say that the self can be defined in at least three ways: 1) the totality of the organism; 2) a set of natural inclinations of that organism; 3) the id, ego and super-ego acting together to govern behaviour.  The label “no-self” could be attached to the taming of self-importance, and the shrinking back of self-centred greed, anger and hatred.    

One way to achieve this kind of detachment is through meditation: either

  1. calm meditation, concentration upon an object in the here and now such as the breathing; which trains and tames the ego by interrupting and taking control of it temporarily
  2. insight meditation, where we practice observing, identifying and acknowledging our own thoughts and feelings under conditions of calm meditation, and this can thereby become a habit in daily life.  To observe an emotion does two things: 1) we acknowledge it so that it can do its job of alerting you to something relevant to your goals, deliver its message; 2) we step outside of it instead of being carried away by it.  Then we can try to identify the actual reason for the emotion.  

Together these can be an effective technique for quietening the mind and emotions, learning about oneself, and transforming unconscious into conscious ego defenses.    

 

 

When I think of all the good times that I've wasted having good times

When I think of all the good time that 's been wasted having good times

 

When I was drinkin’

I should've been thinkin’

When I was fighting

I could've done the right thing

All of that boozin’

I was really losin’

Good times

Good times

 

When I think of all the good time that's been wasted having good times

When I think of all the good time that's been wasted having good times

 

All of my lying

I remember her crying

My useless talkin’

I could’ve been walkin’

Instead of complainin’

I could’ve been gainin’

Good times

 

Yes, here we all are having a jolly good time

And everything is working out fine, ha ha ha ha ha

 

Useless talkin’

All that walkin’

All of my sinnin’

I could've been winnin’

I have it too easy

And its a beginning of good times

Good times

I said good times

Talking ‘bout good times.

 

"Good Times" – Eric Burdon and the Animals

(Burdon/Briggs/Weider/Jenkins/McCulloch)

 

 

 

 

Bright Lines

A Bright Line is a line you would never step over, a rule you would never break, under any circumstances.  

It is often worth thinking about a Bright Line in advance, at your leisure, fixing it in your mind so that you won’t forget it under pressure.  

For example, if there is somebody whom you love very fiercely, you may decide in advance that you will sacrifice almost anything for them.  

 

 

 

Aztec virtue ethics  

An introduction to Aztec virtue ethics (Aeon magazine):    

https://aeon.co/essays/aztec-moral-philosophy-didnt-expect-anyone-to-be-a-saint?  

Their emphasis was on the social regulation of virtue; the “solid” or “rooted” person who can stay steady when things go wrong; and the “middle way” or moderation in all things.  

Virtue Ethics