buddhist experimental ethics

from Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (p. 35):

Looking deeply requires courage. You can use a pencil and paper if you like. During sitting meditation, if you see clearly a symptom of your suffering, write it down. Then ask yourself, “What kinds of nutriments have I been ingesting that have fed and sustained this suffering?” When you begin to realize the kinds of nutriments you have been ingesting, you may cry. Use the energy of mindfulness all day long to be truly present, to embrace your suffering like a mother holding her baby. As long as mindfulness is there, you can stay with the difficulty. Practice does not mean using only your own mindfulness, concentration and wisdom. You also have to benefit from the mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom of friends on the path and your teacher. There are things that even a child can see but we ourselves cannot see because we are imprisoned by our notions. Bring what you have written to a friend and ask him or her for their observations and insights.

The text points to at least three things: (a) always trying to improve, (b) monitoring your progress, (c) communicating and getting help from others.


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