Saying or doing whatever comes to mind
is the storehouse of all nonvirtue.
Investigate before you act.
Until you gain the fruit of what you do,
it is important to continue.
Don't say or do everything that comes into your mind. Most times, what comes
into our mind are negative thoughts related to pride, jealousy, hatred, and
attachment - not so many positive thoughts. So when any thoughts come, first
examine them. Investigate very carefully before you say anything. Look at
your motivation. If the thoughts are negative, purify and implement other
practices. When a strong negative thought comes, it tends to push you into
action and then after a couple days, it gives you regret. So it is better to
wait. This is not saying to suppress your anger, but rather it is a way to
practice and see our limitations, a way to purify our thoughts and develop
our good qualitites.
Whatever you do, first thing is to watch your mind. Take a deep breath for a
few seconds. That is mindfulness. When the telephone rings, let it ring
three times. With the first ring, develop noble thought and think, "This is
a sign of impermanence." Let your mind rest on the second ring. After the
third one, pick up and say hello. When you drive, sometimes you need to
rush a little. Just get in a take a deep breath. Watch your thoughts and
drive with peaceful thoughts. This way, everything becomes a meditation
If there were no method of purification, then we would have no choice but to
act. But we have so many methods and practices. First, there are methods
that help negative thoughts not to arise. Second, if they do arise, there is
a way to purify them or transform them without suppression.
Suppressing anger is not good. Look at the face of anger - does it do any
good for you? Does it do any good for others? See that nature. Even if you
have a good reason to be angry, if you act on it, it still brings you
suffering. There is a saying, "Do you want the reason, or do you want the
happiness?" If you hold onto the reasons to be angry, then there will be no
happiness. So even if there is a reason to be angry, purify the anger; this
is the best way.
So often, we start something here and then discontinue it. We start
something there and discontinue it. You gain nothing for yourself, and you
have nothing to show others. Once you investigate and decide this is the
right thing to do, that it is definitely helpful to me and others, then you
should pursue it until finished. This is the sign of a noble person, a sign
of strength. People will trust such a person.
If you cannot do something, it would be better not to accept the task. If,
out of pride, you say you will do it and people rely on that, and then you
can't do it, people lose trust. But once we are committed, once we accepted
to do something, then we just do it no matter what it takes. If you cannot
do it, say so. Then when you accept to do something, people will be so happy
and appreciate you. When you accept and cannot do it, then people are not
sure. That is the kind of thing the author is talking about.
Sometimes people think that all these details are a little boring, but they
are very, very important. This is how we establish our Dharma practice -
with the details. Even in the highest view of Mahamudra and Dzogchen we need
to understand these details. Mahamudra and Dzogchen are not separate from
them. As the Heart Sutra mentions, "Emptiness is form, form is emptiness.
Form is no other emptiness, and emptiness is no other than form." We cannot
find the highest, most respected view aside from these teachings. When we
have these detailed understandings, especially about sustaining our
discipline, our realization of Mahamudra will be very effective.