Daily Tao

The Tao in Everyday Life

Archive for the month “March, 2014”

On the Use of Technology

Since the mind can endlessly produce thoughts, clearly it has the potential to endlessly produce new products. Like thoughts, they may not necessarily be helpful or beneficial. In the past,technological culture-changers like the telephone and electricity took a long time to produce and cultures had more time to absorb and contemplate their impact. Now, especially with electronic media, new cultural and ethical values are being developed and challenged, and things are changing so fast that we have little time to contemplate and absorb their impact.

Like many other things, technology can serve us well or not serve us well. If we approach it with vision, we can utilize it. If we lack vision, technology can prey on us, detecting our weakness or lack of resolve, such as discursiveness or desire for gossip. Or it distracts us from nowness.

In this way, it seduces us for a few minutes, which become hours, days, months and years.

We can tell if we have been served well by technology if we feel uplifted, informed or delighted by it. These are signs that the encounter was virtuous. However, if we feel dull or disconnected, then clearly that technology has numbed our senses. We are mentally less sharp and emotionally distant. We know we were used by the technology, as opposed to using it, because it has drained our energy. Technology can be a great expeditor of virtue, or it can create negativity. With the telephone or email, we can easily comfort, console or celebrate with others. At the same time, because we are not face-to-face, we might say or do things that we would not normally say or do. Thus, our negativity can become exponential due to the effect and power of technology. We may also tend to hide behind the electronic medium because we are less exposed.

Even though technology has advanced our ability to communicate, the five basic parameters of karma are still in place: raising the intention, deciding to do the action, preparing to do the action, doing the action and having no regret. We can decide to either apologize or to chastise an individual, and once the “send” button is pushed, the karma has been initiated. Afterward, if we sit there satisfied, it is a complete karmic act. That action does not go unnoticed.

In the modern era we need to be even more convinced of virtue, having resolve in terms of who we are and how we want to manifest. Generally, the best approach with technology is to consider our dignity and concern for others.

Thus, as we produce new programs for our laptops and applications for our smartphones, the principles of virtue must be clear in our minds. The point is to cherish the mind and not abuse it. If we remain mindful of our principles and priorities, just as we do in meditation, we can use technology to awaken our discipline and dignity, instead of letting it take over our lives.

The above is an excerpt from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s new book, ‘The Shambhala Principle’ (Harmony, May 2013) – Thanks to the Huffington Post and https://www.facebook.com/ArtofDharma

Knowing Self, Knowing Others

Knowing others is Wisdom

Knowing self is Enlightenment

Mastering others is Force

Mastering self is Strength

-The Tao Te Ching-

On Trusting the Intuition: the Sixth Sense Organ

Every day as we go about our lives we rely on (and trust) our sense organs of smell, sight, touch, taste and hearing. These we take for granted and do not even give it a second thought. There is however within our brains a 6th organ of sense which we have completed abandoned (and eventually learned to distrust) through basic lack of use.

The Buddhist teaching on Prajna is quite an interesting one. It is understood to be the natural state of all things animate and inanimate. Basically it is the source of all manifestation.

The more we let go of our beliefs, needs and ideas the more we fall into this natural state. It’s first felt a s a dim glimmer and, in the beginning, when we’re not too familiar with it, we all too readily dismiss its solutions in favour of our intellect (which are intimately tied to the 5 senses) because we have been conditioned to do that. If it’s not logical dismiss it !

But as you progress in your practice, in your meditation, you begin to recognise it more and more, its light grows stronger, illuminating your mind and thoughts until you  begin to trust its judgment just as much as you trust the judgment of your sight or other sense organs, or even more  as there will be a growing sense and realisation in you that this is actually your true self, your only self, the only self that can possibly be.

So how do you recognise it in practice, what’s its footprint ? It’s a feeling of certainty, of joy and of happiness beyond external circumstances. You will begin to feel that this is not of time, but that of which is beyond time. And its manifestation ? A much happier, fulfilled and successful life.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23 – New International Version (NIV) – with thanks to biblegateway.com

Let’s end with the Buddha’s last words :

So long as the monks shall live among the worthy, cherishing, both in public and private, that infallible intuition that results in the cessation of sorrow of him who acts according to it – so long may you be expected not to decline but to prosper. – The Wisdom of Buddhism, Christmas Humphreys

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