Monday, March 3, 2008

Do No Harm

I had an email at the end of last week with a link to a website called Do No Harm. A nice idea, simple and uncontroversial, and the Internet is an ideal place for it. Who knows, it might be catching...

Actually, it's Buddhism in a nutshell. The Ten Commandments? Who needs them, when they can be condensed into this exquisitely simple injunction, much easier to remember and less forbidding than all those "Thou shallt nots." I think it's probably the best of all religions in a nutshell--at least of the original spirit of all religions, if not their interpretation by fanatical followers.

All it involves is a certain measure of consciousness. Too often, the harm we do comes from our thoughtless acts, or actions when raw feelings--anger, for example, or fear--surge up and overpower the natural balance of the conscious mind. Road rage provides us with an excellent, if perhaps overly dramatic example. I don't know about you, but the same kind of things tend to happen in small scale all the time in my daily life--as when I hurt a friend with a casual, thoughtless remark.  Or think about gossip--a by no means harmless habit that most of us indulge in without giving our words a second thought.

So doing no harm becomes a continuing series of choices, an exercise of the will, a practice, the results of which is--guess what?--not only better relationships with those I chose not to hurt and greater well-being for that which I choose not to harm, but greater happiness for me! I feel more at ease with the world, less stress, more comfortable in my skin. I recommend the practice to anyone wanting to improve the quality of their life. Try it out this Monday morning: Do No Harm! And see how much better the week will be...

5 comments:

thailandchani said...

Best post you've ever written! :) Thanks for the referral. I'll check it out.

I also want to refer you to another blog to review.

http://happyluau.blogspot.com

PeterAtLarge said...

Thank you, Chani. And thanks for the referral. I'm reading the advance copy of a soon-to-be-published book about Thailand, about the work of "Father Joe" in the slums of Bangkok. I'll be reviewing it here before too long....

thailandchani said...

I'll be interested to see how the book turns out. For some reason, I'm shuddering.

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

That’s an admirable site, Peter. Thank you for the url. I’m adding the sight’s “Do No Harm” image from their “free stuff” to my blog’s sidebar.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written, but am wondering why you felt compelled to say anything at all about the Ten Commandments, especially with a somewhat negative tone. Couldn't that undertone be considered somewhat harmful and disrespectful or dismissive of someone else's belief? Christ too summed them up, when he was challenged by a lawyer that asked which was the greatest commandment. He was not dismissive of them.