I’ve just come back from a 10-day retreat in the Sierra with Sogyal Rinpoche, very deep.
One of the things Rinpoche frequently mentions is how the Buddha summed up all his teaching in just three lines. My memory is not the best, but it’s something like to end our suffering
Do absolutely no harmful or evil actions.
Build up plenty of good karma through virtuous actions.
Tame this mind of ours.
When asked to sum up his teachings even more, the Buddha would just use the third line, “Tame this mind of ours,” as a deluded, out-of-control mind was the most basic cause of our suffering.
In my teaching and writing, I always mention all three, but put about 99% of my teaching into the last one, understanding and controlling our minds. That’s because I have always felt funny about “preaching.” If you tell people to not be nasty and to be good, that’s preaching, and college professors and scientists are not supposed to do that, are they? Only people identified as preachers and moralists are allowed to do that? Who are so good themselves that it would not be at all false for them to exhort others to be good?
Yet I have the nagging feeling that by not emphasizing the need to be good, by emphasizing the “technical,” the psychology of understanding and controlling the mind I’m abetting people in bypassing issues of whether they are indeed living a good life.
I don’t have any particular answers about this, but it’s a nagging question….