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Buddhism

Step 6: Our thoughts and resolve are of renunciation, good will and harmlessness.

Principle: Change

This Step relates to Right Intention which is a threefold process:

  1. the intention of renunciation or detachment
  2. the intention of good will
  3. the intention of harmlessness

These three are opposed to three parallel kinds of wrong intention: intention led by desire, by ill will and by harmfulness. Just prior to the Buddha's enlightenment he reflected that his thoughts could be separated into these two distinct groups (right & wrong). When those of the second kind arose he saw that they brought distress to himself or to others - or to both. They obstructed wisdom and led away from freedom. But whenever those of the first kind arose they were clearly beneficial, conducive to the growth of wisdom and an aid to the attainment of Nirvana.

Text or Verse

The thought manifests as word. The word manifests as deed. The deed develops into habit, and habit hardens into character. So watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings.
The Buddha

Let us live happily then among the greedy!
Among those who are greedy let us dwell free from greed.

From lust comes grief, from grief comes fear;
He(she) who is free from lust neither sorrows nor fears.

Let us live happily then, not hating those who hate us!
Among those who hate us, let us dwell free from hatred.
The Dhammapada

Practice

The practice is based on simple cognitive behavioral principles. When we become aware of negative, potentially harmful or unhealthy thoughts we replace them with positive thoughts. One of the most powerful practices which changes our attitude immediately, is to thought switch by enumerating a list of gratitudes for the situation we are in or the person who appears to be challenging our equanimity. This practice effects immediate positive results.

Resources

Mapping the Dharma: A Concise Guide to the Middle Way of the Buddha (go to Links menu to connect to the web site)

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