Everyday Right View

Throughout the course of history, people have searched for the right set of principles by which to live their lives.  Some have done so out of fear of death and the need of assurance that a positive life awaits them in the hereafter.  Others have done so to minimize the harms done to others of all kinds.

The Buddha taught that there were different ways to see reality.  He called our everyday understanding of people, places, and things mundane view.  He called our understanding of all things as transient, suffering, and non-self supermundane view.  He also had numerous names for the understanding that comes when enlightenment is reached.

The Buddha presented five principles of right view and we can practice and live by in our everday lives.  They smooth our relationships with others, just like the Five Precepts do.  Here they are:

1.  There is result of action

Most of the world’s psychological and spiritual teaching include the idea that one reaps what one sews.  We enjoy the benefits of efficient, positive choices, and struggle with problems arising from inefficient, negative choices.  Sometimes the results of our choices come about immediately.  Sometimes they come far into the future.  But they do come.  So, it’s best to be careful.

2.  There is result of giving

Generosity is a powerful force, and the Buddha chose to highlight it as such.  It is said that if we fully understood the consequences of generosity, we would never serve a meal without finding someone with whom to share it.

As Westerners, we sometimes balk at the idea of accepting the generosity of someone.  We don’t want to appear needy even if we aren’t.  It’s a cultural thing that tends to disappear when you realize that not accepting generosity is an inefficient action in and of itself.

3.  There is mother and father

The Buddha further zeroed in on particularly powerful forces by highlighting generosity to one’s parents.  Our parents gave us the start of life in the human realm.

However, that said, it’s fair to recognize that many parents harm their children, and there are often good reasons for such children to be separated from such parents.  I believe that if the Buddha was alive and teaching today, he would encourage us to remember our parents, but not continue to be victimized by them.

4.  There are apparitional realms of rebirth

Life after death, and heaven and hell are issues of concern to a lot of people – whether it’s their salvation or the salvation of others.  The Buddha made it clear that realms of existence better than or worse than human do exist, and one doesn’t go through a birth process to appear there.  He also made it clear that the focus of his teaching was helping others come to the end of suffering and rebirth in this lifetime.

5.  There are teachers who can show the way to realms of apparitional rebirth

Finally, the Buddha left the door open to those concerned about their next life by saying it is possible to receive teaching that will lead someone to a better next life.  Our world has many such teachers – Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and even Buddhists – who teach what needs to be done or what needs to be believed to enter a better next life.  Again, though, the Buddha’s focus was doing what needs doing in this life.

Jason S.

Jason Smith is a Customer Analyst at Economical Insurance doing process analysis, business analysis and business consulting. He is also an insight meditation teacher and author currently taking on new students. Anyone who wants to learn about and practice the Buddha’s way to enlightenment can reach him at e2jasonsmith@gmail.com. Jason lives in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, and is willing to consider working with students from outside this area by phone or Internet.

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