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Archive for November 25th, 2017

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The thought manifests as the word;

The word manifests as the deed;

The deed develops into habit;

And habit hardens into character;

So watch the thought and its ways with care,

And let it spring from love

Born out of concern for all beings…

 

As the shadow follows the body,

As we think, so we become.

 

 —From the DhammapadaSayings of the Buddha

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I’ve been writing this blog for over five years [actually, it’s nine years now] which I find hard to believe. Some days I have nothing to say but still feel the need to keep this habit alive. Sometimes I read through older blog posts to gather inspiration and in doing so, I came across this bit of wisdom from the Buddha that I featured in a 2009 post.

When I used it at that time, I was referring to people’s words and deeds of incivility eventually hardening into character. For example, if you speak with anger and hatred constantly, it eventually becomes a permanent part of who you are. This was of course inspired by extremist nature of the political climate. But today when I read it, these words didn’t strike me in that cautionary way.

Instead, it was more inspirational, seeming like good advice for the young artist or anyone aspiring to something more. For me it was: Think as an artist, act as an artist. Eventually, the thoughts, words and actions become part of who you are– an artist. It took many years before this habit hardened into character. I often questioned the validity of the claim over the years but slowly these doubts faded, replaced by a belief in those words and deeds. I had practiced the habit of being an artist for so long that I could no longer  feel that doubt.

As I said, this applies to so many things, even simply being happy. If you think of joy, speak of joy and act with joy and eventually happiness becomes part of who you truly are– a part of your hardened character.

It’s a simple precept, almost too simple to be taken seriously especially on those days when it is challenging to remain joyful. But it holds true, as the Buddha instructed, for those who can maintain the way.

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The painting at the top is “The Kinship” which is included in the Kada Gallery show.

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