Dhamma Quote - The Mindful Balance - Sedaka sutta

 

 

O Bhikkhus, One takes care of oneself by practicing mindfulness.
One takes care of others by practicing mindfulness.
Taking care of oneself, one takes care of others.
Taking care of others, one takes care of oneself.
How does one take care of others by taking care of oneself?
By practicing (mindfulness), (mental) cultivation and through many actions.
Thus, by taking care of oneself, one takes care of others.
And how does one take care of oneself by taking care of others?
Through patience, non-harming, loving kindness and sympathy.
Thus, O Bhikhus, One takes care of oneself by practicing mindfulness.
One takes care of others by practicing mindfulness.
Taking care of oneself, one takes care of others.
Taking care of others, one takes care of oneself.

– Sedaka Sutta (The Sutra about the Acrobats)

 

The Buddha illustrated this point to a group of disciples using the example of two street-acrobats who walk over a bamboo pole. A man balances and walks on a bamboo pole installed horizontally at a height. A girl balances herself by standing on his shoulders. If each of them were to take care of oneself at the cost of not caring for the other, both will fall down. If each were to take care of the other at the cost of not caring of one’s own balance, again, both will fall. The right way for the two acrobats is to balance mindfully in such a way that, by taking care of oneself, one takes care of the other, and by taking care of the other, one takes care of oneself.

 

Often, people confuse that taking care of oneself and taking care of others are contradictory and mutually exclusive. In fact, when firmly established on the mindfulness of body (kaya), feelings (vedana), thoughts (citta) and phenomena (dharma), taking care of oneself is the way to take care of others, and taking care of others is the way to take care of oneself.

 

Just taking care of oneself and ignoring the concerns of others, one remains careless of the interdependence that brings one’s own safety. That is not the correct way to place one’s mindfulness.

 

Likewise, taking care of others and ignoring one’s own state of mind, one lacks the ability to take care of others. If we let ourselves be swayed by emotions such as attachment and aversion with respect to others, we remain handicapped in actually benefiting others. One would be like a doctor who is unable to do a critical surgery on her own daughter because of attachment.

 

Now, let us see how to correctly take care of oneself and others through proper placement of mindfulness.

 

How does one takes care of others by taking care of oneself?

 

By practising mindfulness, cultivating correct attitude of mind, and through engaging in many meaningful actions. In that way, one not only remains composed with mental peace and clarity, but also remains responsive to the concerns of others and has the skills for that through clear-mindedness.

 

How does one takes care of oneself by taking care of others?

 

By practising patience, non-harming, loving kindness and sympathy. One remains mindful of one’s mental attitude and one’s actions of body, speech and mind with respect to others. Doing this, one also remains composed, peaceful, and light at heart.

 

Thus, by being mindful of one’s mental attitude, thoughts, speech and actions, one simultaneously looks after oneself and others. By, neither being self-obsessed nor being emotionally worked up about others, one balances with the right attitude, right thought, right speech and right action. Thus, one achieves welfare for oneself and others.

 

 

 

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