This may seem like a no brainer. But lately it seems like I have had an inordinate number of opportunities to respond in one of two ways in my thoughts, speech or actions. Each time I have stopped for an instant and asked myself, “What does the Dharma say about this? What would the Buddha do at this moment?” I have been astounded at the results both in my happiness quotient and my corresponding duhkha. And the people around me also appear to be the beneficiaries. Taking that few seconds to stop and think instead of having a kneejerk reaction has made all the difference. The Dharma has given me that alternative response to select.
I am totally amazed at the utilitarian nature of the Dharma. I know we are supposed to focus more on our actions and motives and less on the results. But the results are impossible to ignore. I have been reading and intellectualizing the teachings for several years now. But lately I said to myself that unless I start using the Dharma in my everyday decisions I am just doing an intellectual exercise. I can’t believe how powerful the teachings have been for this one sentient being. I will be careful not to become evangelical about it!
Ken Mondal is a retired Ophthalmologist who lives in Spokane, Washington. He received his education at Temple University and University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and residency training at University of California-San Francisco. He practiced in Ohio, Washington and Hawaii. Ken met the Dharma in 2011 and attends teachings and retreats on a regular basis at Sravasti Abbey. He also loves to do volunteer work in the Abbey's beautiful forest.