Rouse yourself! Don’t be negligent!
Live the Dharma, a life of good conduct.
One who lives the Dharma is happy
In this world and the next.
Dhammapada v. 168, translated by Gil Fronsdal
Moving along on our “greatest hits” tour of the Dhammapada, this verse is from a section called The World. I find the first line irresistible. It’s as if every day when we wake up we have to remind ourselves that time is short – to the barricades!
And yet what we are urged to do, live a life of good conduct, is not necessarily a difficult battle. In fact, once it becomes our regular intention, it’s incredibly pleasant. Choosing wholesome activities over unwholesome ones actually makes us feel happy, confident and settled. Whining and complaining has its charms, but once we live for days and months with a quieter, more contented mind, sure in the knowledge that we are making wholesome choices – well, we just don’t look back.
It is likely that most of you, dear readers, have already made this discovery. But I think it is wholesome to reflect on the mysterious joy that comes simply from orienting ourselves in a particular direction. Whether we’re working or playing matters less than the attitude with which we undertake the tasks at hand. Sadness and pleasure, eagerness and reluctance – all these can be experienced with more or less acceptance. Moving about the world harmlessly, gently caring for others, offering kind words when possible; these form a beautiful supporting framework for our lives.