The Four All Embracing Virtues are a list of tools to help us on the path to saving all beings. These are tools to help us be more harmonious.
The Four All Embracing Virtues are:
2) Speaking with kind words
3) Conducting oneself for the benefit of others
4) Adapting oneself to others.
Many of us are learning to become more generous and to move away from self-centered habits. We are learning to put others ahead of ourselves and to give more value to cooperation than competition. This is important because it can be difficult to think about the welfare of others when we are trying to be better than them. There are ways to practice giving even if we have no possessions. We can be generous with our time, helping someone in need or listening to someone that needs a kind ear. We can be generous with compliments too. Don’t overlook opportunities to be generous.
Speaking with kind words:
This involves giving compliments instead of criticism. Many interpersonal problems are simply the result of a few unkind words spoken at the wrong time. Lies and gossip are two kinds of dangerous unkind words. If we are mindful of our speech, we will have better relationships that are full of trust and compassion.
Conducting oneself for the benefit of others:
Strive to be of service to others. Volunteer, help without being asked, and take care of people and animals that need to be taken care of. We often pass up opportunities to help others because we are blinded by self-interest. If we all helped each other the world would be a much better place. We are all in this together.
Adapting oneself to others:
This means trying to see ourselves in the shoes of whoever we meet. If we don’t try to see things from another person’s point of view, then conflicts can be devastating. If we judge others we are being counterproductive to building healthy relationships. If we are understanding of another person’s point of view, then we won’t be quick to place blame on them.
Cultivating these virtues helps us a lot in generating kindness and compassion for others and creating a better world.
About the Author:
Daniel Scharpenburg is an authorized Zen teacher in the Ch’an Guild of Huineng, in the lineage of Master Xu Yun. He has studied and continues to study in various Buddhist traditions and teaches a Buddhist Sunday School for children at the Rime Buddhist Center in Kansas City. He also writes articles for the online magazine Elephant Journal.
He leads Meditation Workshops and Retreats in the Kansas City area and is available for private lessons.
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