Cultivate Oneself First

Yutang Lin

Having learned some Dharma teachings
Some would apply them to demand others to become such and so
But in such demands it is unavoidable to have implicit
Personal choices that are biased
    And those are blind spots that one could not be aware of
The world is so wide and vast
Sentient beings are so numerous and of extremely diverse varieties
If one minds others first, there will be no time for cleansing of one’s mind

Prince Siddhartha Gautama
Intended to resolve the puzzle ball of birth, aging, sickness and death
His aspiration aimed at helping all sentient beings
His practice began with his own cultivation on the enlightenment path
His compassion encompassed all sentient beings
In deeds he first renounced personal love and ties
He is undoubtedly the epitome of full enlightenment
Subsequent seekers of enlightenment should not forget to imitate his fine example

Only after one’s mind have been purified
And all bondage on one’s body have been untied
Can one genuinely guide others on the path to enlightenment
Can one save all sentient beings from transmigration in suffering realms
Hence, cultivating oneself first does not imply complacency with self-attainment
But a solid way of practicing Dharma
As to choices made when facing real-life situations
A practitioner should ponder and decide in light of Bodhicitta

Written in Chinese and translated on February 2, 2010
El Cerrito, California

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