Joyful Exertion

Posted on October 19, 2012

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Dalai Lama

Dalai Lama (Photo credit: Alegrya)

When you move a lifetime’s worth of stuff to a new home, sometimes you discover treasures that you had forgotten about.  This has been the case for me in so many ways.  In this last week, I re-discovered Living Wisdom with His Holiness The Dalai Lama.  I was particularly refreshed by the Dalai Lama’s words about joyful exertion.

These are a few sayings from that work that I thought you might enjoy contemplating this weekend.  The Dalai Lama suggests:

We should think, “If I live, I will benefit beings.  If I die, I will benefit beings.  I will benefit beings as the basis, as the path and as the result.”  There is simply no other intention than this.

The Transcendent Perfection of Joyful Exertion is to take delight in doing virtuous things.  When we are really enthusiastic about virtuous activities, this gives rise to pure confidence.

In spiritual matters, we should not allow ourselves to be too easily content, because truly there is no limit to our spiritual potential.  Since there is no limit to our spiritual potential and there is a limit to the span of our life, we must make every effort to utilize what little time we have as we possibly can.

I’m not a Buddhist, but I find so many of these ideas to be helpful, particularly the idea of taking delight in virtuous activities.

In modern life, we seem to have so many encouragements to live without virtue, so many reasons to worry about our own concerns at someone else’s expense.

Conversely, there are forces in society, business, and religion that encourage us to sacrifice our delight for the greater good and forget the emotions of joy and delight.

To find delight in virtuous activity for the benefit of other beings is a different kind of approach.  How might the world be different if more of us could live this way?

Today’s Contemplations:

What kind of virtuous activities bring you delight?

In what way is your joyful exertion benefiting other beings?

Are you making an effort to expand your spiritual potential?

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