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What's the point of adding a lamp where there's already light?
May 18th, 2018

illustration (attribution, if any possible, is at the end of the article)

What's the point of adding a lamp where there's already light?

If you take bodhisattva vows (, then the next step is not to go to a monastery, nor to become a renunciant, etc. That's a natural wish, and it may seem a logical continuation from the vow, but… that'd be like creating a new lamp where there's already light. What's the point?

Armed with bodhicitta (, stay in the world:

• see how "wishful thinking" never is true 'care' (for anyone: neither you, nor others); see how postponing engagement ("for a better, wiser engagement") is just postponing engagement while making excuses ( because there's no 'perfect' answer anyway (; if you feel you're 'useless', you may well be onto something (;

• engage with businesses; make them ethical;

• engage with families; bring love, compassion, patience in; in fact, embody endless tolerance (;

• engage with the mess (; produce "right effort" in practice, i.e. reduce the unwholesome, increase the wholesome;

• engage with crazy thoughts and with desires (that's just a sub-category of crazy thoughts); realise the folly, see it by yourself, renounce unwholesome thoughts not by force, not by conceited righteousness, but by merely losing interest in fallacies;

• you're your own refuge (, offer a refuge to others; create a lamp into the world (;

• keep on doing what you do, while knowing full well this is futile. If you're falling but realise you're merely in a dream, is there an absolute need to wake up immediately? It's a dream, you cannot truly get hurt! So you can actually explore "falling further", that's OK! And yet, even in a dream, exploring with wholesome curiosity isn't leading to the same experience as exploring stupidly ;-) And waking up oneself and others from stupid dreams is a worthy task, even if there were just dreams, it's compassionate not to let dreamers experience nightmares;

• realise the interpenetration of all phenomena, thus the dependence of wisdom upon ignorance (;

• realise nibbāna within saṃsāra (, not outside of saṃsāra ! Realise that nirvāṇa is saṃsāra, saṃsāra is nirvāṇa (, and yet the Middle Way is not Oneness ( Realise that cyclical saṃsāra is not so 'cyclical', in an impermanent reality (

What's the point of adding a lamp where there's already light?

Bring a new lamp where there's still some darkness to dispel!

#Buddhism #engagedBuddhism #Dharma
Illustration: Gilt-bronze multi-armed Avalokiteśvara, Ming Dynasty (China)
To walk a spiritual path alone goes with a high risk of falling prey to preconceived ideas, distortions, selfish biases, individual preferences and unexamined impulses. Conceited, unwholesome righteousness often arises from an initial desire to do "the right thing"… Guidance is available: contact me!
Buddhism has no specific guideline on supporting teachers, it simply asks for you to consider causality: if you want this living tradition to survive, how are you participating, in practical terms, to make this happen? Nice words, exposure or social media ‘+1’ might feel good, but they do not actually help with the basic necessities: