Buddhism Online

Duty & Behaviour
July 12, 2013

The ideal placed by the Buddha before us is mutual service – men being in need of each other – to help each other bear each other’s burdens. We have three types of work as mentioned in the Nikaya, three codes of conduct for the Buddhist: striving for-development, so that one may attain happiness, self-culture and self-realization; working for the benefit of one’s relatives and friends; working for the benefit of the whole world without making any distinction as regards caste. colour or creed. Therefore our task is to practise these principles laid down by the Buddha.


We talk about our duty to help others, bu as pointed out by the Buddha, if a person cannot help himself well, he cannot help others well. As said in the Dhammapada, “one should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only should he advise another; such a wise man will not be reproached.

It seems that modern man, because of his physical body, cannot be styled as an animal, but by actions many people nowadays behave worse than animals. As a moral being guided by moral conscience, man should rise much above an animal; he should become a being of a higher world in which higher values are preferred to mere material life and material gains.

The Buddha’s way of life is a system of cultivating ourselves, our higher consciousness. It reveals how self-development may be achieved, showing that the individual must be in perfect order that the organic whole may be perfect, the inner world coming first, since the outer world is only a manifestation of the inner world.
The state of the outer world is an exact reflection of our inner selves.

If our life and conduct are ordered by our likes and dislikes, we are weaklings, puppets and bondslaves, apt to be overwhelmed by indolence and incompetence, ill-health and frustration.

We are so used to seeing external training that we forget inner training, the training of ourselves. We like to train other people and forget to train ourselves. We tend to take it for granted that we are always right, and others are in the wrong.

It is not by any kind of prayer, by any ceremonies or by any appeal to a deity or god that a man will discover Dhamma, he will discover it only in one way – by developing his own character, controlling the mind and purifying the emotions.

There is a saying of Confucius, a very wise, useful saying: “An uncultured person blames others; a semi-cultured person blames himself; a fully-cultured person blames neither.” The problem is, what is wrong, not who is wrong.

Reverence, or showing respect, is a remedy for overcoming one’s pride.

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