How does the following list of how to be a good human fit with Buddhist teachings?
- Raise the next generation
- Support your community
- Tell stories
- Leave the world the way you found it
- Be Creative
- Learn continuously
- Pursue Joy and wonder
- Die well with dignity
Raise the Next Generation
In Buddhism, much emphasis is placed on compassion, loving-kindness, and the ethical treatment of all beings, which certainly includes nurturing the next generation. The development of wisdom and compassion in younger generations can be seen as a part of one’s responsibility to reduce suffering in the world.
Support Your Community
Community, or Sangha, is one of the “Three Jewels” in Buddhism. Supporting your community aligns with the Buddhist principles of compassion, altruism, and ethical conduct (Sila). Working for the welfare of others, whether through direct support or by contributing to a positive, ethical community environment, is highly valued.
Buddhism has a rich tradition of storytelling, often through Jataka tales or parables used to illustrate moral and ethical lessons. Storytelling can serve as a way to impart wisdom and help others on their spiritual journey, aligning well with the focus on Right Speech and Right Understanding.
Leave the World the Way You Found It
This principle resonates with the Buddhist concept of impermanence (anicca) and non-attachment. While we interact with the world, we do so with the understanding that we are not permanent owners of anything. Buddhism also promotes ethical stewardship of the environment, which aligns with this principle.
Buddhism doesn’t specifically focus on creativity, but the development of qualities like mindfulness and concentration can enhance one’s creative abilities. Creativity can also be a form of skillful means (Upaya) for teaching Dharma or spreading compassion and understanding.
The pursuit of wisdom is at the core of Buddhist practice. Right Understanding and Right Intention, the first two aspects of the Eightfold Path, encourage continuous learning. The Buddha himself was an advocate for questioning and understanding rather than blind faith.
Pursue Joy and Wonder
Joy in Buddhism is often considered a wholesome mental state that can be part of the path to enlightenment. However, it’s important to differentiate between the fleeting joys of sensory pleasures and the deeper, more sustainable joy that comes from spiritual practice. A sense of wonder could be associated with the Buddhist practice of mindfulness, where one gains a deeper appreciation for the complexities and beauties of life.
Die Well with Dignity
Death is an important subject in Buddhism, serving as a reminder of life’s impermanence. Preparing for a “good death” can be part of one’s spiritual practice, involving the cultivation of virtues and wisdom throughout life so that one may face death with mindfulness and equanimity. The concept of dying well aligns with the ultimate goal of achieving Nirvana, or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
What am I missing from the list? ChatGPT responds
Your list is comprehensive and aligns well with many Buddhist teachings, but there are some additional principles that might be emphasized in a Buddhist context:
Compassion is central to Buddhist ethics. While your list includes “Support Your Community,” the explicit practice of compassion might extend beyond community to all sentient beings. Buddhists often cultivate compassion through meditation and daily practice, aiming to reduce the suffering of others wherever possible.
Mindfulness and Self-Awareness
While “Learn Continuously” comes close, the practice of mindfulness is a cornerstone of Buddhist philosophy. Being fully present and cultivating awareness of your thoughts, actions, and emotions can lead to deeper understanding and less suffering.
Ethical Conduct (Sila)
The Buddhist principle of ethical conduct goes beyond supporting the community and encompasses Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood. Ethical conduct forms the moral foundation upon which wisdom and mental discipline are built.
Detachment or Non-Attachment
While pursuing joy and wonder, it’s essential, from a Buddhist perspective, not to become attached to them. Attachment leads to suffering. Understanding the impermanent nature of things helps one to appreciate them without clinging to them.
This principle is somewhat implied in “Die Well with Dignity,” but it’s a pervasive theme throughout Buddhist teachings. Accepting the impermanent nature of all phenomena can lead to a life with less suffering.
Spiritual Practice or Meditation
Daily spiritual practice is central to Buddhism, commonly manifesting as meditation. It’s through these practices that one cultivates the qualities necessary for enlightenment.
While your list focuses on worldly responsibilities and joys, a Buddhist would also place importance on the quest for enlightenment or Nirvana—the ultimate cessation of suffering and end of the cycle of rebirth.
Giving without expecting anything in return is considered a virtue in Buddhism. It can be in the form of material gifts, time, or sharing wisdom.