Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva: Verse 19
Even when you are famous, honored by all
And as rich as the god of wealth himself,
Know that success in the world is ephemeral,
And don’t let it go to your head — this is the practice of a bodhisattva.
Be Careful How You Explain Things: Dispositional vs. Situational Explanations
When wonderful things are happening, it’s easy to think “I’m the greatest.”
But how you explain both the good and the bad is a risky business. It’s easy to explain making lots of money or gaining fame is due to your great disposition. But wait — while this may make you a highly optimistic person for the moment, when something awful happens — if you also think it’s because of your disposition, you’ll sink into a terrible state of depression. If you remember most things are better explained by situational factors, when unfortunate things happen you realize you need to change your situation. And situations are changeable.
When good fortune shines upon you, remember it’s partially thanks to your situation. And when things go wrong, don’t automatically blame yourself for bad fortune. Life has many ups and down, so it’s wise to always expect them and ride with the punches. Kindness to those whose situations fail to bless them with fame and fortune will take you further than a rigid belief in the power of anyone’s disposition.
A balanced perspective on explanations will bring you greater self-compassion as well as compassion for others. And what could possibly be more important?
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