Tag Archives: society

What is the proper way to nurture a human being in society?

Subservience of one’s individual thinking and reflection upon the prevailing social concepts without rational discernment is the beginning  of the formation of a slavish mentality.   That is why it is imperative for parents and those entrusted with the care of children in their preparation towards responsible adulthood to develop questioning minds which will not rest until the search for truth is  reached and established.  This is the only way to develop intelligent and mature individual minds in any truly human society.

Today, most institutions including religious ones, are failing in this task, not because they were already flawed from the start but because they are starting to view or have already viewed themselves as the goal in their own right, instead of as the means.  The search for truth has, therefore, been sacrificed to the tools of search for truth, as it were, without using them to reach the goal in actualizing wisdom and compassion.  In short, they have become complacent and in the process, corrupted, stagnant, mired in their own ignorance and dogmatism.

A child is not the property of its parents to be dictated upon and disposed of according to their whims and caprices.  This is an individual entrusted to their care, much like a sapling that will become a tree in its own right.  They will contribute to the society what they have learned from you, their parents.  Therefore, handle with care.  If you can’t do this, don’t even attempt to become a parent.  This child is an entity which has already a history, some longer than yours.  Do not dumb down their life experiences with concepts which have no bearing on reality or truth.

Learn from one’s own mistakes.  The point of one’s existence is to acknowledge, forgive and learn and not to impose, judge and condemn.

A parent once asked my teacher, a monk, whether they should bring up their child in their own religion or not.  The wise teacher replied that they should not bring them up in any one particular religion.  Instead they should encourage their children to think for themselves, to constantly question and search for the truth on their own, and teach them to love truth through their own example.  A child of such caliber would not be content with stock answers but would look for the solutions to nagging questions of his/her own existence and in the process, fulfill his/her own destiny.  They would be able to determine, by themselves,  what is true or false, what accords with truth and reality and what does not.  Developing such a mindset is a much greater gift to a child than all the material riches of this world, for this would allow them to grow and mature when you are no longer physically around to guide them.  You would have equipped them with the tools to deal with the trials and tribulations of life wisely and compassionately, long after you are gone.

As it stands, we are producing automatons/drones that follow the diktat of those in authority without due consideration.

For those in authority, you have responsibilities that have lasting beneficial or destructive implications upon the vast majority.  Be careful.  If you settle for mediocrity, for the ‘this-will-do’ mentality without striving for excellence in all your endeavors, you will have failed the society you are purported to serve but more outstandingly, you have failed yourself.

Think deeply about what motivates you in life to do the things you do.  Is your mind guided by right view, right thought, right speech and right action?  If not, how can you carry out or even expect to perform such a life of selfless service which is badly needed in our society today?  Do you seriously intend to deliver on your promises?  The masses have been debased enough by the present environment and the prevailing conditions.  Are you going to add more of the same or are we serious in making the people a shining example of a society fulfilled to its highest potential?

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Dealing With The Nature of Reality

For a phenomenon to occur, various factors in requisite proportion within a congenial environment must be present  before it can manifest itself visibly.  This stipulation  allows weather forecasters to predict the advent of  a host of weather patterns such as a storm and, the lab technicians to re-create certain natural phenomena, albeit in miniature, within the confines of the laboratory.

In the case of a storm, a lone factor did not single-handedly contrive to assemble all these elements at any given moment to bring about its visually evident expression.  They (the elements), whether subjective (heat/cold) or objective  ( water/air), were just there at the right time and at the right place together, creating a favorable environment that would, in turn, give rise to the phenomenon that we now call a storm.   Compounded by nature’s input on an infinitely larger scale, you can see the impact of the combined factors of man-made activity and these various elements on the phenomenon’s  intensity of expression.

To be able to foretell the occurrence of any phenomena, one must be guided by right view and right thought.  A clear mind, as far as it concerns the individual, is able to delve into the nature of reality with far greater accuracy than a prophet ever could.

Unfortunately, how to create a clear mind is not taught in any of the conventional schools.  Instead, while there, humans are being bombarded with second-rate information, and therefore, indirect experience, that only serves to further clutter and confuse their minds.  This practice is being repeated endlessly in almost all the present-day institutions which are managed by individuals who hold even a barely superficial knowledge of the very nature of reality.  Indeed, a classic demonstration of the blind leading the blind.

So, what is needed?  Firstly, we need to think outside of the box, out of our individual comfort zones.

The Buddha taught the doctrine of dependent arising and impermanence 2,600 years ago.   He also taught how to cultivate wisdom and compassion.  Where are these reflected in our textbooks and manuals?  Of course, nowhere; or nowhere are they clearly stated and taught.

People wanted the easy way out.  So they suspend their rationality, and now rely on their so-called leaders to dictate what is right and what is not.  Superstition and dogmas become the order of the day, showing a sheer laziness of using one’s rational faculty, the rare ingredient that helps to differentiate one from  the rest of the animal kingdom.  And to think, if the latter could, they would have done so already as evidenced by the painstaking efforts they undertake to solve a dilemma, whether created artificially by man or posed by Mother Nature. But I digress.

In short, there is no incentive to inquire, investigate or find out.  Then, all it takes is for some self-appointed authority with vested interests supposedly mandated by the heavens, to declare that the earth is flat and under pain of death, all one has to do is swallow such statements hook, line and sinker, no questions asked.  And, they expect to produce intelligent, rational humans under such a system?

An aspiring  leader who wanted to become the president of his country even said that he did not believe in climate change, without offering an ounce of justification for such a belief, merely relying on the say-so of some pseudo-scientists who, perhaps, just wanted a quick return on the side.  This sloth in reasoning drags a large number of the population, and prevents them from seeing the bigger picture; it’s like the little boy who takes a square frame and extends it with his arms against the backdrop of the sky and declares that only what he sees within the confines of the frame is reality.  And this sad, anecdotal event is replicated in myriads of manifestations or aspects of human endeavor, be they economic, social, political, or religious.

So, what is one to do given these conditions?   The dictum, “Man, know thyself” would be a start and can help you enormously.  Keep questioning and investigating until one finds the truth.  Know the nature of the mind, that is, whether one has control over it or not.  Never try to attempt to control, lead or manage others when you have no control over your own mind or else, it will only end in disaster, in more pain and suffering for oneself and others.  And, that, is certainly not your goal in life.  Others’  liabilities can never be your assets.  Happiness/contentment is your pure driving force.

Unlike the proverbial man who, when hit by an arrow insisted first  on knowing its origins, constitution and consistency before any operation could be made to relieve him of it,  you must assume that the physician who will remove that threat to life is competent enough to perform an emergency operation before you are dead.  In your quest for truth, do not remain mired on your ‘perceived’ certainties forever.  Learn to move on and do something about your situation.  Also, be guided by all the great sages’ advice, “By their fruits, you shall know them.”

Develop internal sincerity and an abiding desire for truth in all your endeavors and, may all beings be happy and well.