The Conditional Nature of our Intentions and Actions

Dear Friends,

Through his practice, the Buddha awakened to the conditional nature of the mind and all experience. Taking up the Buddha’s insight powerfully undermines the mind’s tendency to grasp and struggle with experience. Both wisdom and ignorance arise due to causes and conditions. In a conventional sense, it is important that we take responsibility for the skillfulness or unskillfulness of our thoughts, words, and actions. Intentions have consequences. In a deeper way, it is also important to recognize that these intentions and actions are themselves conditional. They do not arise in isolation, due to being a “bad” or “good” person in some essential way.

The Buddha taught that, “When this is, that is. With the arising of this, comes the arising of that. When this isn’t, that isn’t. From the stopping of this comes the stopping of that.” In other words, both skill and the lack of skill arise conditionally. If a person wishes to be happy, they must understand the causes that support happiness. In so many ways, the Buddha taught that mindfulness and clear comprehension are the supports for happiness in life. And, it is distraction, misperception, and misunderstanding that cause so much suffering.

Wishing us all the deepest insight,
Mark Nunberg

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