To most householders, the accumulation of wealth seems the best way to provide a safety net for the uncertain future. This is reasonable: there is no question that material resources have an important role to play. But the wise give equal precedence to less tangible preparations. They also cultivate warm and supportive relationships with friends and family members. Most importantly, they develop the qualities of integrity, patience, mindfulness, kindness and wisdom that will equip to make the best of whatever lies ahead, good or ill.
It is a great blessing in life to have role models who we look up to and see to emulate. But bad examples can also, in their way, be good examples. The most natural reaction to being in the company of people displaying greed, dishonesty, arrogance, cruelty and bad temper, is depression and cynicism.
…The practice requires more than simply an emphasis on striving for deep samādhi and insightful experiences. Actually, the level of meditation a person is capable of achieving is dependent on an inner readiness to accept that level….
In the first two lines of the Discourse on Blessings (Mangala Sutta), the Buddha gives his most fundamental advice for life in the world: be careful who you associate with. However, the terms he uses may need some explanation…