It’s not the goal but who you are.

Even for the Enlightened Person it’s who they are.

Everywhere in our life we look towards a better future where we’re slimmer, smarter, richer and happier. Always looking to others who seem to have achieved that most venerable state to which we aspire. We study how they’ve lived and worked so we too can achieve the happy life they seem to have – But that’s not who we are.

Don't be like anyone else.

Don’t be like anyone else.

Our life is different.

From before birth to death, in every way our genetics and experiences lead us down different paths to everyone else.

How can we possibly live like anyone else? When we see in someone something we admire, we see the current end results of their specific version of the philosophy and elements of their life which they’ve followed. We can admire the way they live and reference to them as we pass through our day but to follow their approach is fraught with the impossibility of the task. We are not them.

The Five Precepts.

This applies to everything we notice in others and wonder if we should take it on board for ourselves, be it the mundane aspects of life or the more noble goals of living well.

Even in looking at those who are awake to the ways of the world it’s not about being them but more, noticing the traits which they have.

In the five precepts of Buddhism it’s mentioned how to be. Not how we should be looking into some future, which doesn’t exist yet but how someone is, when they’re enlightened.

That is an end in itself. If we choose to improve, then we task ourselves to work at these precepts, all the time realising we are as we are and not like anyone else.

  1. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking life.
  2. I undertake the training rule to abstain from taking what is not given.
  3. I undertake the training rule to abstain from sexual misconduct.
  4. I undertake the training rule to abstain from false speech.
  5. I undertake the training rule to abstain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.
Note: There are several translations of the original texts but all are a variation on these definitions. Example… #5 could be any substance or experience which clouds the mind.

This is about accepting you, as you are. Sure, you may wish to improve and even use someone as a role model who deeply embraces these traits in their life but it isn’t about being them. It’s about being yourself and undertaking the training. Right or wrong, good or bad, failure or success.

So you don’t care for these lofty goals.

This applies in every aspect of our life also, be it wanting to be a better parent, smarter business person, more respected medico, it doesn’t matter.

Consider the people you admire, undertake the training you need but accept you’re an individual and will never be like them. You’ll blend the best of the training with your personality to create a new variation of your ideals with that skill.

Then you’ll always be the very best version of yourself, Now.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Cyndi 7 April, 2013, 3:45 AM

    Thank you Ian. This is very important work, and I’m happy that you are writing again. – Cyndi


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