Thoughts, Words and Deeds …

Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that one does not actually have.

I think hypocrisy makes everyone’s blood boil sometimes. We hear a statement, and know truly that actions do not match. If it’s a subject we care about, we react. I guess people often don’t realise what they are saying, or agreeing to etc, nor see that what they do contradicts their recent words. These last few weeks, I have been feeling a little ill over the word hypocrisy. I have been discovering and, hopefully reducing, the hypocrisy in my own life by changing some simple choices I make everyday. The evidence of my thought – deed train wreck can be found in my closet, bathroom and laundry cupboards and fridge. Items that I bought and use or consume, that contradict my beliefs, or at least, what I say I believe and hold dear.

This blog is about my recent personal journey so far. It is not a judgment or a denouncement of anyone else.

Everyone who knows me, knows I am an animal person. Always have been. Puppies, kittens, guinea pigs, anything I can pet at the zoo. Recently though I have realised that my cute animal prejudices stink of hypocrisy. I love kittens and puppies, but have bought products tested on fluffy rabbits. Open wounds, month after month, burning raw flesh until the animal dies in a lab somewhere – so I can wear makeup. Even saying fluffy rabbits, shows a prejudice that possibly it’s more cruel than the same treatment on rats. I had beauty products distributed by companies that support vivisection. Recently three top beauty companies resumed cruel testing in response to China’s tantrums. And it’s not just about beauty – washing powder, deoderant and cleaning products are often tested on animals too. In my fridge is food that contributes to animal misery across Australia. Food that is not good for me as a human being anyway, that does not contribute to my health and wellbeing. It feels like a sick, dark part of my soul. A stain on my life that I have these things.

Another thing that has occurred to me is just how self-destructive my hypocrisy is.
“Your health is bound to be affected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike… Our nervous system isn’t just fiction, it’s part of our physical body, and it can’t be forever violated with impunity.” Yurii from Doctor Zhivago,

And this self-destruction of both my body and soul, violates everything I should be striving for. Through meditation on four lines from The Bodhisattva Vow I am realising how serious my actions are.

With a wish to free all beings
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.
Enthused by wisdom and compassion,
today in the Buddhas’ presence I generate
the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of all sentient beings.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
And dispel the miseries of the world.

I believe I am taking part in harming other sentient beings.
Bringing pain and suffering to their precious life.

What the hell? So I can eat ice cream, chocolate, have nice smelling shampoo and trendy deoderant. Because I am too lazy to make my own cleaning products. Because I don’t think enough and feel enough about the things I know to be true.

This is not a rant about animal rights, but the rights of all beings to be happy and free from suffering. The Buddha ate meat as long as it was not intentionally killed for his consumption. An article I read recently on Bhante Sujato’s blog takes this statement by the Buddha

“Having abandoned the taking of life, refraining from the taking of life, one dwells without violence, with the knife laid down, scrupulous, full of mercy, trembling with compassion for all sentient beings.”

further by saying “This is not just an ethic of allow-ability. It doesn’t merely set a minimum standard. It calls us out, asking us to aspire to a higher sense of compassion, an ethic that deeply feels for the welfare of all beings. More than just asking, ‘Does this act come from an intention to harm’, we ask ourselves, ‘Is this act the best I can possibly do to promote the welfare of all?’ Rather than simply escaping bad karma, we create good karma.

“All” and I struggle to write this, refers then to those who carry out the cruelty toward other beings. In meditating on “freeing all beings and dispelling the misery in the world” I have to have compassion for those who hurt, maim and kill in the name of science, food and human ego. I cannot make any value distinction between beings. Those that hurt, hurt too. Bullies aren’t happy and I am sure the recently sacked local abattoirs workers aren’t either. The case for Innocent and Guilty aside, they are all beings of immense value. For the benefit of all, means ALL.

I don’t expect my personal choices to change much about “backbone of Australia” industries. It’s not my point. But I do expect to feel less burdened, better physically, spiritually and emotionally due directly to my consumer choices and reducing my soul train-wreck. I do expect to reduce the destructive footprint my life has on earth, and the karma and energy I both attract and release. Through education, actions and daily intention to be less ignorant than I am now, I can again say The Bodhisattva Vows without the horrible feelings inside that I am kidding myself.

I am sure this is a lifetime journey, and again and again, it’s about knowing myself and being able to love myself. I am truly not the person I act like sometimes, otherwise I wouldn’t get that telltale sick feeling. But if I don’t love who I really am, then I won’t act like I really am. Self love releases the soul and in return it’s freedom smothers you with wisdom and true compassion. Hypocrisy, lies and deceit cannot exist. To know fully that your thoughts and actions are indeed “for the benefit of all beings” is a place I want to be. Everyday.

This is my amended Vow:-
With a wish to free ALL beings from cruelty and suffering
I shall always go for refuge
To the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha,
Until I reach full enlightenment.
Freed from my ignorance by education,
and actively practicing my compassion for ALL beings,

today in the Buddhas’ presence I generate
the Mind for Full Awakening
For the benefit of ALL sentient beings, those that harm and are harmed.
As long as space remains,
As long as sentient beings remain,
Until then, may I too remain
May my everyday actions dispel the miseries of the world.


One comment on “Thoughts, Words and Deeds …

  1. Graeme says:

    A great post. Thought provoking indeed.

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