The value in sincerity

I was inspired by something I heard this week.

I was listening to another Gil Fronsdal dharma talk, and he related a story from the Zen tradition.

A student asked his teacher “If I practice Zen will I become enlightened?”.  And the Zen teacher replied “If your practice is sincere, it is almost as good”.

I was incredibly inspired by this simple concept.

I know myself that I practice Buddhism because I identify with the precepts very strongly.  However I do not hold the belief that I will become enlightened – I would imagine very few Buddhist practitioners ever will become enlightened.

However I can practice with sincerity.  We all can.

And it doesn’t have to relate to Buddhist practice – we can live our lives with sincerity full stop.

I love that thought so much.

Sincerity encompasses so many things – living ethically, honestly and with pure intention.  And all of those things make such a difference not only to our lives, but to the lives of those that we touch.

You can’t really put a value on sincerity and honesty.

So this week I’ve tried to really keep that as my intention.

Also in this past week I heard a discussion on the Buddha – how before he became enlightened he had to live through many lives, and learn from each one.  He was reborn many times.  And of all the lives he lead, and the mistakes he made (as a lay person) one thing he never did was lie.  And specifically he did not lie to himself.

It’s a deep concept – to never lie to ourselves.

It’s also been on my mind this week, and I have given a lot of reflection on the ways I have lied to myself in the past.

There are so many great things that can be gained from self analysis and knowledge.  I feel blessed to have access to the dharma teachings.

And a new day each day to learn from them.




Everyday Wisdom #82

Developing concern for others, thinking of them as part of us, brings self-confidence, reduces our sense of suspicion and mistrust, and enables us to develop a calm mind.

Dalai Lama


Everyday Wisdom #74

“The way to overcome negative thoughts and destructive emotions is to develop opposing, positive emotions that are stronger and more powerful”

The Dalai Lama 



Everyday Wisdom #70

Affection and a calm mind are important to us. A calm mind is good for our physical health, but it also enables us to use our intelligence properly and to see things more realistically. Affection too is important because it counters anger, hatred and suspicion that can prevent our minds from functioning clearly.

Dalai Lama


Everyday Wisdom #65


Gaining mastery over our destructive propensities, through the exercise of awareness and self-discipline with regard to our body, speech, and mind, frees us from the inner turmoil that naturally arises when our behaviour is at odds with our ideals. In place of this turmoil come confidence, integrity, and dignity – heroic qualities all human beings naturally aspire to.

Dalai Lama



Everyday Wisdom #57

To be generous means to conquer our fears.

Our fears of loss.  Of losing our possessions.  Of losing our identity.

We fear irreversible loss – of giving away something that we cannot get back.  We fear losing a part of ourselves in the process.

To be generous though means to redefine our boundaries.

Those ‘things’ that are yours – your pain, your suffering, your problems – are also mine.

And those things that are mine – my knowledge, my abilities, my time, my resources and energy – they are also yours.

This is true generosity.


“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t appreciate kindness and compassion.” 

The Dalai Lama 


Everyday Wisdom #50

Every morning when I wake up, I dedicate myself to helping others to find peace of mind. Then, when I meet people, I think of them as long term friends; I don’t regard others as strangers.

Dalai Lama


This is something I feel very passionately about.

I always approach all people with the attitude that they are just a friend that I haven’t met yet.

And I treat them with as much open heartedness, and kindness, and warmth as I can.

And I am very blessed that I frequently become “instant friends” with people.  

To me there are:

No boundaries

No division

No seperateness

We are all one, and we can all help each other.




Everyday Wisdom #45


The many factors which divide us are actually much more superficial than those we share.
Despite all of the things that differentiate us – race, language, religion, gender, wealth and so on – we are all equal concerning our fundamental humanity.

Dalai Lama




Everyday Wisdom #39

By not being in conflict with yourself – by practising peace and compassion and acceptance – you are able to release yourself from suffering.

As you live without suffering and conflict, you allow yourself to be who you really are.

Free from unskillful thoughts and actions – both towards yourself and others.

With the absence of fear, aversion, greed and anger, you are left with a pure and beautiful heart.

The essence of who you truly are.



The quality of everything we do: our physical actions, our verbal actions, and even our mental actions, depends on our motivation. That’s why it’s important for us to examine our motivation in our day to day life. If we cultivate respect for others and our motivation is sincere, if we develop a genuine concern for others’ well-being, then all our actions will be positive.

Dalai Lama

Kindness Crusade

One should cherish all living beings – radiating kindness over the entire world

I listened to a great talk on the Metta Sutta this week, and it really gave me pause to think about kindness and the conditions needed to cultivate and increase kindness and tenderness in the world.


An excerpt of the Metta Sutta:

This is what should be done
By one who is skilled in goodness,
And who knows the path of peace:
Let them be able and upright,
Straightforward and gentle in speech.
Humble and not conceited,
Contented and easily satisfied.
Unburdened with duties and frugal in their ways.
Peaceful and calm, and wise and skillful,
Not proud and demanding in nature.
Let them not do the slightest thing
That the wise would later reprove.
Wishing: In gladness and in saftey,
May all beings be at ease.


What if we all made the decision to live according to this sutta?

If we made an intention to live ethically and kindly?

Peace would be possible.  Inner-peace would be possible.   And peace on Earth.

“Although attempting to bring about world peace through the internal transformation of individuals is difficult, it is the only way”.  The Dalai Lama

We can further cultivate peace, and increase kindness by:

  • Not taking the life of any living thing
  • Not taking things that are not given
  • Not engaging in sensual misconduct
  • Refraining from false speech
  • Abstaining from substances which cause intoxication and heedlessness

In order for our hearts to manifest the desire – “may all beings be at ease” we must first have gladness and safety in our minds and hearts.

Living with gratitude, kindness and love all gladden and reassure the heart and mind.

As does finding the joy in each moment and each situation.

And with wisdom, and the development of wisdom, we can look around us and see that everyone is suffering.  That everyone has a story filled with difficulties and challenges, loss of hopes and dreams.

Really realising this and seeing this brings a true tenderness of heart.

My personal desire is to develop the equanimity needed to be able to see what is happening in the world around me.  So I can bring kindness to every situation and make a difference.

Being kind is taking a stand.


“Do not fight against pain, embrace with tenderness.” 
~ Thich Nhat Hanh 


Everyday Wisdom #9

Turn off your TV

Dedicate some time today to being “TV free”.  

Turn off your TV, and use the time to instead learn something.

Become better informed about someone who inspires you.  Someone who has changed your world for the better.

Perhaps the Dalai Lama, or Martin Luther King, or Mahatma Gandhi.

Or teach yourself to knit, or sew.

Or use the time to read a (non-fiction) book.  

Start to learn something you’ve always wanted to.


Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this will mean all your life. 

~ Henry L. Doherty