4-21-20: Kalyāna (2 of 5): The Beauty of Virtue
9:59PM May 14, 2020
So this morning, I'd like to continue with the theme of beauty in the teachings of the Buddha of the Buddha.
The beautiful, and the word as I introduced it yesterday is called kalyāna. There are other words that are used, but the one I'm focusing on is kalyana k a l y a n a.
And one of the things that Buddha referred to as beautiful, is the Dharma. And he considered that he's expressed the idea that it's possible to become established in the beauty of the Dharma. So what is the Dharma? What is this beautiful Dharma? That's beautiful? What is this Dharma that's beautiful, the beginning, middle and end? It's many things. One of the meanings of Dharma has many meanings. They maybe get deeper and deeper as we practice, but one of the meanings is actually action how we behave what we do. And to be established in the Dharma is to be established in in good behavior and ethical behavior and virtuous behavior in beautiful behavior. And these words like goodness and ethics and virtue. Some people are inspired by them, some people are not some people hesitate around these words for maybe for good reasons. But to see them as synonymous with beauty and beautiful places, video of ethics and virtue and goodness in a often in a very interesting context or a different kind of situation to see it that way. And the someone is established in the beauty or in in what's beautiful. If they are living by the five precepts. If they don't kill, steal, engage in sexual misconduct lie or involved in toxification. And for the Buddha, he referred to that as a beautiful thing. And part of that beauty is it's a beautiful thing to see someone in the world who is harmless, who is in the world, being truthful, who's in the world, not wanting to harm, taking care to not cause harm. I've met many people like that, and I find myself still to this day very inspired by this and, and almost like it's food for me like it's nourished by seeing this goodness or this harmless dedication to harmlessness that some people have and dedication to being truthful. And so, you know, so I like the word it's beautiful to see that and be that way. Interesting. The Buddha has this play Very interesting expression, beauty that transcends beauty. What is beautiful, it's more beautiful than the beautiful. And the beauty that transcends beauty is establishing others in the five precepts. And maybe we could be careful with the word establishing. So we're not, you know, obligating or pushing or demanding that people do it, but to support other people to bring forth from inside of them. That place of goodness, that place of the ability to act for the welfare and happiness of others. To not cause harm, to let that come to the forefront, to let that be recognized and be an operating principle for people's lives and to support people and having the subtleness the connectedness, the sense of self awareness that allows has to come from that place deep inside that wants to live that way. That to do that is the beauty that's more beautiful or the beauty that transcends beauty. It's interesting, very interesting little story in the suit does is have a person who comes to the Buddha and wants to define what a great person is. And, and the first thing the person says is a great person is someone who's really well learned and who's learned a lot and understands the meaning and the and inner meaning of what they've learned. And so someone who's done a lot of study. That's a great person. And the Buddha
says, Not quite, I have a different understanding of what is a great person. And, and then the Buddha says a great person is someone who is concerned For the welfare and happiness of the others, and who establishes others in the beauty of the Dharma, in the wholesomeness of the Dharma, that is a great person. And we see that over and over again that that Buddha's emphasis. For a wise person, that great person is someone who is concerned for the welfare of others. He clearly doesn't obligate people to be a great person. But for the Buddha's and the Buddha's estimation, he see someone who's a wonderful, great person, as someone who is in fact, concerned for the welfare and happiness of others. And, and, and one of the ways to be concerned for the welfare of others, is to establish them in the beauty of the Dharma. The wholesomeness of the Dharma. And so I said earlier that one of the meanings of Dharma is actually Another meaning of Dharma, that are qualities of mind the inner qualities of goodness or truth that's here that transcends or is beyond Buddhism, even its, this is why practices like mindfulness to really connect us to what's here. And attentive, we say connects us to the Dharma. But it's not a Dharma that's, you know, someone else's religion or even, you know, belongs to a religion. It's a Dharma that belongs to the heart, to what we discover inside. And this deep trusting and valuing of the capacity of the heart, to act well and to be concerned for the welfare and work for others. And that brings us to one of the meanings that many people in our scene many things people associate with the word Pollyanna, and that is, there's a term we use good spiritual friend and that's kalyana meter, meter means friend and colleague knows what's translated as good spiritual. And, you know, the most literal meaning of the word is beautiful. So to have a beautiful friend, to have a good spiritual friend, but the fact the person is beautiful, certainly the person who would be beautiful in their ethics, how they behave, but more importantly, they be beautiful in their inner qualities from which they come from, and they act from and, and how they they are in the world, that we'd recognize something beautiful than them. When we use the word spiritual. It's not really a Buddhist word, it's a Western word. And, and we often hear in the speaking English, we assume we all know what it means and we share something. It's a fairly vague word. I didn't use it for many, many years. I was I was ordained as a Zen priest early in 1980. And I had a friend who sometimes got mad at me, because here I was a priest, you know, very religious person. And, and I've never used the word spiritual.
And it seemed like it was incongruousto to not use it. But I didn't it wasn't really part of my worldview to use that word and so I didn't use it much. Now I tend to use it more often, very away where that's kind of a vague word, it doesn't really specify
And to have a good spiritual friend, to have a beautiful friend. One of the things that Buddha talked about the value of kalyanamittata in Buddhism is someone who supports you, in living the Eightfold Path helps us become established in the Eightfold Path.
as we develop our inner life in beautiful ways, settle ourselves connect to ourselves, purify ourselves, work through some of the difficulties and
challenges that we have, that, that
the direction we're going is to be free enough, open enough, sensitive enough so that our care our interest is for the welfare and happiness of all beings, welfare and happiness of ourselves, welfare and happiness of others. And so then I'll end with one of my favorite quotes slightly from the sutras from the Buddha. And in a little bit similar to earlier the Buddha described a wise person. Buddhism's off associate often associated with wisdom, a wise person, as someone who's concerned for the welfare of themselves. Someone's concerned for the welfare of others. One who's concerned for the welfare of self and others, and someone who's concerned for the welfare of the whole world. And all those different four categories kind of referred to something a little bit different, that self care being concerned for one owns welfare is completely valid, important, crucial, so that we know and are in touch with what is the greatest benefit for others. So we've we know that for ourselves and more we can practice and discover for ourselves the greatest benefit, the greatest joy, the greatest happiness, then we understand what's possible for others. caring for others, and not being self centered, is important and you know, just clearly see another person and supporting them and helping them and then caring for self and others. I don't know maybe we don't know what the Buddha actually meant. But I love the interpretation that That self and others means us together, that we that somehow in their relationship, we have to care for that relationship and care for the welfare of that relationship as well. Not just the other person, not just ourselves. And the whole world means the whole collective, how the society how we all work together, the whole the whole, the mutually supportive, interactive, interdependent world that we live in there. We're also concerned for all of that, not just my people, not my tribe, but my family, my friends, but the whole world we care for. So that's a wise person. And to kind of repeat this idea of beauty and beautiful. This is something that's quite beautiful. And to call it beauty, brings it all into an aesthetic felt sense emotional reference point that can be inspiring and delightful and joyful and pleasing and just create thing to have beauty in our lives and so, may we become a beautiful people. May we live beautifully. May we act beautifully May we speak beautifully, for the welfare and happiness of all beings. Thank you