The Path To Bodhichitta

You start where you are, the practice will meet you there.

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Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Heart Of The Matter

It was between a sip of heaven and a contented sigh that the conversation suddenly veered from business to philosophy.

"Have you ever felt like you needed to help people?"

I eyed HC through the curling steam from my coffee cup. "Just recently but very strongly."

"How?" he asked, looking at me intently.

"I don't know yet," I answered. "But everyday I ask for an opportunity to learn and practice compassion, humility and strength, and I believe that one day, I will be shown how I'm meant to serve others."

"But what's your motivation for doing that? Is it to feel good inside, to give back to society, to make up for your wrongdoings?"

I pondered over his question. No one had ever asked me that before. After a while, I slowly answered, "Well, I suppose my motivation comes from a deep yearning to make other people's lives a little better."

My reply sounded uncertain and hollow to my own ears. HC nodded and the conversation returned to business negotiations. On the drive back, I chewed over his question. It bothered me that I didn't have a motivation for displaying kindness and compassion. Then I realised that that was the answer.

Kindness and compassion need no motivation. They should just be given.


Blogger YogaMama said...

funny thing about yoga. whomever starts on the path, inevitably wants to share it with others. it's the nature of the beast. it's like a virus, if you like, but a good virus...

as you move towards enlightenment (or journey to your inner Self, if you like), you gather light, and you will also give out light.

no motivation required. it's a given....

2:41 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

you gather light and give out light - what a beautiful way of putting it. and i know it's true because that's exactly what you two are doing right now.

2:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It’s amazing what answers come to us when we’re alone and tune into ourselves. It’s our yoga that gives us this ability … I’m so happy for you.

Peace out,

4:10 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

that's so true...but the tricky part is tuning in and actually listening!

9:10 AM  
Blogger wjfljql said...

hi. there's also this idea most popularly presented by ms. objectivist ayn rand that we are all basically egoist and that everything we do, even acts of altruism are ultimatelu done out of selfish purposes. maybe to feel good about ourselves or something. i'm not sure because it does not distinguish slobodan milosevic from motehr teresa.

10:58 PM  
Blogger starlight said...

hi burhan. thanks for dropping by. and that's an interesting comment. perhaps one of the ways to gauge someone's sincerity is to see how the person responds to a negative result. if they're purely altruistic, then they wouldn't be affected by the result but if they aren't then their frustration and anger would come through because their efforts have not earned them the admiration/approval they were seeking. people like mother theresa and the dalai lama know that their role is to just do the best they can and leave the rest up to a higher power. they have no issues with 'losing face', etc. of course, this is much more difficult for us mere mortals! :)

by the way, i popped over to your blog. you've got deep stuff going on there!

12:40 AM  
Blogger wjfljql said...

yes. then it is sincere despite what happens.

the big thing in european ethical theory today is to understand the sincerety of a moral act as a 'pure gift.'

a gift only makes sense if it was not meant to be reciprocated.

also, a gift also only makes sense if it is not in reply to something.

one gives a gift, and just that. it does not cause anything and is not caused by anything.

4:12 AM  
Blogger starlight said...

you hit the nail right on the head, burhan!

7:13 AM  
Blogger wjfljql said...


8:57 PM  

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