We face many favorable and unfavorable situations in our lives that make us react in ways that may not always be in our best interests. Let us read, digest, understand and apply this timeless wisdom by Sufi mystic Rumi or Mevlana.
1. In generosity and helping others, be like a river
2. In compassion and grace be like the sun
3. In concealing others’ faults be like the night
4. In anger and fury be like the dead
5. In modesty and humility be like the earth
6. In tolerance be like a sea
7. Either exist as you are; or be as you look.
Rumi teaches us that our generosity and help to others should be like the river, ever flowing. The Bodhisattvas in Buddhism understand that if one were to liberate oneself to full enlightenment, one has to liberate others simultaneously. This understanding becomes the main guidance in Bodhisattva practice: it is through helping others that one could help oneself. Unconditional or unattached generosity, giving, and helping others is known as dāna in Buddhism, which ultimately culminates into one of the perfections, the perfection of giving (dāna-pāramitā).
Rumi teaches that we have to forgive others’ wrongdoings, and bury our anger and hatred. Anger and hatred arise from not accepting others and their apparent wrongdoings. There is no absolute yardstick for wrongdoings, but there are man’s differentiations, judgments, and prejudices. Over the thousands of years, endless wars arise because of anger, hatred and enmity. Only by forgoing anger, hatred and enmity that human beings can free themselves, and be truly liberated from fetters, anxiousness, bondages, and hindrances.
Rumi teaches us to be humble as the earth, and be tolerant like the sea. When we look at our mother earth, it is subject to all kinds of natural battering and human pollutions and exploitations. However our mother earth accepts all in quietude, silently absorbing all elements and nutrients of life and nourishing all life forms. In the same way, all rivers end in the ocean, and the ocean accepts each and every of them wholeheartedly without grudging or alterations. Rumi teaches us that our tolerance towards others should be likewise.
Modesty and humility allow us to put down our preconceptions, personal differentiations and preferences. Our heart is then widely open and is ready to take up and absorb knowledge and opinions that the world offers. With that clarity one seeks the skillful and wholesome path, and avoids or amends those unwholesome ones.
Patience and tolerance are the prime virtues in Buddhism. When some bad thing happens and appeared to be unbearable, people might feel deeply wounded. On deeper thought, no matter good or bad, things will happen when their causes and conditions are ripe; and what has happened is not for us to refute. On the other hand, to accept a bad thing in its entirety does not preclude us from examining and dealing with it rightfully and in the most effective way. Furthermore, total acceptance will help us to reduce our helplessness, anger and hatred, and reduce the chance of imposing our views on others which might seed further hatred and enmity.
The last advice from Rumi is that one has to appear as one is, or be as one appears. In any faith and knowledge, knowing without practicing will not bring fruit. Appearance reflects one’s behavior and practice. When our outward appearance matches our inner self, it means that we have put our knowledge and faith into practice and action.
This beautiful explanation of the 7 advice of Rumi has been extracted from an article in a Buddhist website. Check out FULL article at URL below:
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