UNCOVERING HUMANITY

In INNER KNOWLEDGE by Erik Pema Kunsang2 Comments

What am I doing and why? It’s an interesting topic and often I ask myself that question, rather than what is the meaning of life. It’s much more practical because we can find a clear answer, every single day and automatically infuse our life with meaning. Basically, it is up to each of us, to decide what is the best to integrate and express.

Don’t we all want to live happily and without too much fear? To be content with our words, thoughts and deeds without regrets. To appreciate what we do as worthwhile. To lead a life which we can face up to. To know what is helpful in good and bad times and to have an understanding within reach, in our bag of insights, we can take out and make use of.

To be a decent human ought to be at the top of the list. To live without making trouble, without leaving corpses behind us. To part with people on good terms, not as enemies but as friends. This is not always easy when we have spent time together and seen each other’s weaknesses. But just as we like to be accepted as we are in spite of our flaws, it is wonderful to extend that same generosity to our life companions and acquaintances.

We are not perfect, so it doesn’t make sense to demand that others are and to hold faults in mind. A sense of tolerance is helpful. We meet each other everyday, and over the course of our life we have known so many people. Let’s think of them as friends, with whom we have spent good times and learned from. Sometimes painful lessons. We have discovered new horizons together, explored the vast and deep ranges of the human landscape. Together we have seen what a human being is, and appreciated the value and qualities.

Spiritual means more open-minded, sensitive and intelligent. It means combining heart and mind by being willing to allow natural intelligence to coexist with sincerity and honesty. Being this way, we appreciate people’s noble heart and good qualities. As we do so, we find it much more easy to get along.

Everyone ought to have access to practical methods on how to be a content, kind-hearted, level-headed, tolerant and appreciative human being, and to have the right circumstances to unpack humanity from inside. I’m still working on this and from time to time I find the challenge delightful, as when tickled. Finding myself in an uneasy situation, I try to gently loosen the grip and give in to the situation. That is very helpful for being at ease in this world.

The good heart is to be kind to others and to ourselves. As we get more real, our mind opens up to notice that people have needs, we are able to fulfill them and we have the willingness to do so. That is perceived as kindness by other people and it unfolds from being open-minded, from inside.

Genuine kindness now becomes more spontaneous and part of our personality. The more at ease we are with ourselves and others, the more simple acts of kindness become expressed in our daily lives. Not necessarily as a formal spiritual practice, but just leaving good feelings behind in other people’s minds. Kind words and kind actions flow from a kind heart. An inner atmosphere of kindness is so helpful to live with other people, and to be at ease with oneself. Honestly, that’s what the Buddha taught about reality, about life and about being human in the real sense of the word.

All of the above are vital ways of uncovering our humanity, but in my humble experience, the most important topic in life is how to learn insight, wisdom, the true depth of understanding of what is real and what is unreal. It is here the Buddha’s teaching on the open mind of kindness sets itself apart from anything else I have found: uncovering the depth of humanity.

About the Author
Erik Pema Kunsang

Erik Pema Kunsang

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Translator of ancient Buddhist scriptures, author, bridge-builder to modern life, Buddhist teacher & meditation instructor. Board of director at 84000: Translating the Words of the Buddha. Founder of Rangjung Yeshe Publications and LEVEKUNST art of life. Other LEVEKUNST articles by the same author. Erik's website & retreats.


Photo by Cestina

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  1. christopher judges

    The Way of The Citizen Hero
    We live in a dark world
    No one seems to know what is right anymore.
    You can only do what’s right when you know what right is.
    How do you know what is right?
    Darkness is wrong for your life because it inhibits your life and growth.
    Light is right for your life because it encourages your life and growth
    Light is in your cells and in the cells of all living things
    Life is dependent on light to survive
    Light gives you life, sight and provides for you.
    Light guides you, inspires you and uplifts you.
    Light is unconditional in its giving.
    Light is what is right for life.
    Use light’s behavior, as you understand it, as your guide to your behavior toward yourself and others. This is the way of The Citizen Hero.

    Let’s print this message on a burger wrapper and inform the world

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