The second spoke of the wheel of the “Eightfold Path” is “Right Intention” — also expressed as Right Aspiration, Right Thought, or A Will to the Truth…
Now there are Buddhas, and there are Deluded Beings, and some say it will take so many lifetimes for us to become those Perfect Buddhas we aspire to be. Maybe so. But I believe that each of us can aspire, and can realize, so much of our Wise and Compassionate Buddha-ness even in this short life.
Indeed, “Right Aspiration” is our seeking, as best we can, for wholesome conduct through a commitment to Practice and the Buddha’s Teachings. We aim to live in a way, as we can, which softens and frees us from so much of the dissatisfaction (Dukkha) brought about by inner desire and craving, while embracing life “just as it is.” We aspire to see the world more and more through a Buddha’s eyes and understanding, even though our deluded eyes are sometimes clouded over. We seek as best we can (and though sometimes falling down) to nurture good will and loving-kindness, reducing feelings of anger and aversion. We aspire to the avoidance of harm through thoughts, words or deeds, and to the development of Compassion.
The Four Vows, as we recite them in our Treeleaf Sangha, hold these aspirations though they are never (for now, at least) perfectly accomplished:
To save all sentient beings, though beings numberless
To transform all delusions, though delusions inexhaustible
To perceive Reality, though Reality is boundless
To attain the Enlightened Way, a Way non-attainable
In other words: “‘Right Intention” is just the will to live, as best we can, a peaceful, wise, compassionate, healthful, and non-harmful life — at one with life and the world as-they-are — through our Buddhist Practice.
Though not yet “Perfect Buddhas” … as the years go by, the sittings of Zazen go by, we do get better at it all!
CLICK HERE for today’s Sit-A-Long video.
Remember: recording ends soon after the beginning bells; a sitting time of 20 to 35 minutes is recommended.