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Every time you act, it’s important that you look at your motivation before you act.

“When the Buddha was teaching Rahula at the beginning of the path, he didn’t say, well nothing really amounts to much so don’t really try. That would have been the end of Rahula’s practice. He never would have gotten anywhere. The Buddha told him: Look at your actions. Every time you act, it’s important that you look at your motivation before you act. What are you anticipating from the action? Is it going to be for harm or for happiness? If it harms anybody, yourself or other people, it does matter. You don’t want to do that kind of action. If you see that it’s going to cause no harm, you can go ahead and do it.

While you’re doing it, you look at the results. Again, the results are important. This is not a time to think about the fact that ultimately the sun is going to go nova someday and the earth is going to fry to a crisp before it gets dissolved and there’ll be no trace of our ever having been here. That’s not the the proper frame of reference. The proper frame of reference is, what intentions are you developing? Because even if the sun goes nova, if we haven’t reached nibbana at that point we’re going to be somewhere, reaping the results of our kamma. So you look at the results of your actions in the present so that you can get more and more skillful.” ~

Thanissaro Bhikkhu “Making a Difference” (reformatted)

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