- How Actions Lead to Perception
- Consistent Form -> Consistent Results
- The Rules of Engagement Require Actual Engagement
- You Are What You Do
- Taking the Next Step
“Shinnyo refers to the qualities that we find exemplified in the lives of the Shinnyo Parents and the Two Dojis, most prominently in the way they demonstrated what it means to embody a spirit that is selfless, unbowed, and full of harmony. Shinnyo Ichinyo (oneness with truth) is about the effort that we make to express these qualities of shinnyo in our daily life, and by so doing, we are always connected with our spiritual masters”
Spirituality is often interpreted as being an internalized concept in that while various groups of people will have a common belief system, it is the beliefs and practices of the individual that comprise how the philosophy impacts the rest of the world. We see that demonstrated in our contemporary life by the acts of a few individuals affecting the impressions that others form about a whole religion, or even simply the label of alliance with a philosophy. Whether or not the actions by those individuals are conscribed or taught by the actual philosophy are not part of the perception.
This is often illustrated in many idioms and proverbs:
- Do as I say, not as I do.
- Actions speak louder than words.
- It’s the thought that counts (implying, not the action, or lack thereof).
Effectively, these are saying, “Take my advice, even though I am acting contrary to it.” (Sometimes used as an apology for behaving hypocritically.) – McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
What most philosophical schools teach is that individual actions should always strive to be in alignment with the principles of conduct, or the laws of commonly decent behavior. In Buddhism, these are illustrated as the Dharma, which comes in many different expressions:
Four Noble Truths
- There is suffering
- A source of suffering.
- The cessation of suffering
- Attainment of Nirvana
Five Cardinal Sins
- Killing one’s father,
- …a saint,
- Injuring a Buddha,
- Disturbing the Sangha
8-fold Noble Path
- Right views
Nonetheless, memorizing the guidelines becomes pointless if actions taken aren’t in alignment with what performance is expected. We know children pick up on this concept rather quickly at a young age. If parents always say to do something, but either don’t do it themselves, or don’t make efforts to correct or demonstrate desired behavior, kids figure out, “they say it, but they don’t really mean it.” And likewise, so do our pet dogs and cats, and even our co-workers. We learn from the actions we observe, and much less so, the words we read or hear.
Similarly, we also learn more from our own actions (and mistakes) much more than from what we write, or say. Repeated actions reinforce memory. Learning how to golf takes practice, and that doesn’t mean watching videos or reading books about it. The “muscle memory” comes from repeated guidance in the correct form (or conversely, incorrect form repeated over and over leads to really lousy golf scores.)
Returning to our sales-related analogy, once you have assessed the needs of the customer and figured out a solution that would address them, you have to actually finish the transaction (“seal the deal”, follow-through, make it happen.) In a nutshell, if you don’t take action to write the sale up, you go home with less pay, thus there’s a direct positively correlated relationship between taking action and personal gain.
In life, the relationship is not so clear to those who don’t take action. But as in physics, not taking action is in and of itself another action. And there are consequences for inaction, too. And every action should emanate from a compassionate source or it tends to have an opposite effect.
In Shinnyo Buddhism this belief in action has been distilled into three basic practices:
- Connecting to others (jpn. otasuke)
- Making voluntary effort (jpn. gohoshi)
- Contributing time or value (jpn. kangi)
Just as the symbolism of cleaning things and places is also referred to as “polishing our hearts”, it is the actions that when repeated and reinforced through positive guidance that lead to actual transition, and transformation.