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Lions Roar : May 2019
master “right view.” What view of Buddhist ethics is “right”? It’s not the kind of right that is the opposite of wrong. Right view blows through the dualistic notions of right versus wrong and us versus them, because it is grounded in selflessness. If your behavior isn’t free of a self-serving agenda—no matter how high-minded you think it is—the traces of your greed, anger, and ignorance will cause harm. Our path requires us to be selfless in what we say, do, and share. That’s a tall order for anyone, but especially on Facebook, where every other person seems as if they are begging to be set straight. So when I logged back on, I vowed to keep it simple, following these five modest, yet potentially far-reaching ways to make the world better through Facebook. 1. Give encouragement. People are angry, sick, sad, and discouraged enough already. 2. Refrain from giving advice. Those who ask probably don’t need it and those who don’t ask don’t want it. Give encouragement instead. 3. “Like” pictures of kids and pets. Small acts of kindness aren’t small. This is your chance to culti- vate empathetic joy. 4. Honor everyone’s privacy. This includes the privacy of your kids, elderly parents, and extended family members. Don’t let them suffer the indignity of your rage, pride, worry, or imprudence. Before you post a picture or story about anyone in your family, ask yourself if you are exploiting their image for your own short-term emotional benefit. Then don’t. 5. Offer what you need to see yourself. Share words and pictures that support, guide, calm, and uplift you. I find that great poets, clever humorists, ancestral teachers, and innumerable past presidents have said exactly what I need to hear to revive my hope for a better day. It’s hard to curb our argumentative impulses, but we can find inspiration from the last image in Zen’s famed ten ox- herding pictures, drawn by a twelfth-century Chinese master to represent the stages of Buddhist practice. In the final picture, the mature practitioner returns to the marketplace. He is bare chested and carrying a jug of wine. By the wide smile on his face, you can guess that he has more than a few jokes up his sleeve. He’s liberated himself from spiritual striving, and there’s no trace of pretense or piety in his presence. He delights in the company of friends, the antics of children, and the affection of animals. No place in the world is off-limits. A bodhisattva, or enlightened being, doesn’t change the world by leaving the world, but by entering it. We can thank Facebook for giving us the training ground to act enlightened— especially when we’re not. ♦ ‘There is much wisdom to be found here.’ ~Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Happiness When my poetry comes to me, I go to a place where nothing else exists, just that sweet moment when the words, like a stream of water, flow, until the sensory valve automatically, with it’s self-timer, shuts off. I cannot go back and turn it on. It must happen again expressly. I don’t have to wait for that moment. I know it will come again and again. ~melissa joseph All proceeds from the book benefit the National Institute of Mental Health Now available on Amazon.com www.atenderforce.com LION’S ROAR | MAY 2019 18 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE