Being Well Balanced

To be balanced suggests two sides: these are our human side and our spiritual side. Being balanced is being in harmony or unity. This is the two truths.

We need to be decent human beings to appreciate our spiritual side.
When our spiritual side is recognised, we become decent human beings.

This sounds simple enough, but what is being ‘decent’?
‘Decent’ here is associated with the word ‘rightness’, denoting completion, togetherness and coherence, suggesting the sense of ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’, which can also be translated as ‘wholesome’, ‘wise’ and ‘skilful’. Being decent means not engaging in activities, trades or occupations which, either directly or indirectly, result in harm for other living beings.

From a Buddhist perspective, this would be practising the ten perfections, and the eightfold path.

The ten perfections:
1 generosity, giving of oneself
2 virtue, morality, proper conduct
3 renunciation
4 transcendental wisdom, insight
5 energy, diligence, vigour, effort
6 patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
7 truthfulness, honesty
8 determination, resolution
9 loving-kindness
10 equanimity, serenityāramitā


The Noble Eightfold Path

Division Eightfold Path factors Acquired factors
Wisdom 1. Right view 9. Superior right knowledge
2. Right intention 10. Superior right liberation
Ethical conduct 3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood
Concentration 6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

There is no need to squeeze ourselves into a spiritual straitjacket. We have to balance our understanding of the ten perfections and the eightfold path with our human situation, remembering, “Not too tight, not too loose” – in other words, avoiding extremism.

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