“Right action – Revisited: On Being Accountable”
By Risha Hall
San Francisco Buddhism Examiner
A note from the author: The original article (a different version) was written and published last spring in 2011. It was rewritten, revised and republished in March 2012, which now has reappeared in this slot, as well (two slots on this site). A colleague (yoga teacher) rated this article as “excellent”. With my blessing, she will be using parts of this article in a class that she will be teaching soon on Asian religions.
About a year ago, I wrote an article on the topic of accountability and right action. I wanted to write another article today, so I am revising what I wrote last year in this post.
This topic is relevant, whether one resides in the S.F. Bay Area or anywhere else on earth.
As a lifelong Buddhist, I am a native of the San Francisco Bay Area. My Asian American Buddhist family has lived for generations in California. One of my college degrees is in Religious Studies and I have taught college classes on Asian religions.
The Buddha once said, “Refrain from that which is unskillful or that which harms. Do good and purify your heart” (urbandharma.org).
I often think about the Eightfold Path in Buddhism. Many of the problems on earth could be resolved if more people were responsible for their actions — and apologized, when necessary to others. This would be called “right action,” which is derived from the Eightfold Path.
The world would be a more peaceful place if some of us were more responsible for our actions and words. It takes a certain amount of awareness for this to happen. Some people are asleep in their day-to-day lives. This is a common issue for everyone.
There is a need for us to be more mindful of our speech and actions in an effort to reduce conflicts and violence on earth.
Words are powerful and can create harmony or conflict in our communities. Be supportive and empathize with yourself and others. We all need to respect the boundaries of others and vice versa. Practice mutual respect. Be a genuine friend. Be inclusive, not exclusive.
Everyone deserves respect on this planet. It is a human right for each one of us.
Speak to others from the heart. Work to end conflicts as soon as they arise. See yourself in others. When people suffer, we all suffer.
Learn to forgive everyone and yourself. Be patient and cultivate compassion. When things go wrong, we can look to see how all of our actions may have contributed to a problem. Wake up from denial. Speak up when an injustice occurs.
Do what you can, as soon as possible, to resolve an issue — then let go and move on. Choose friends who are ethical, kind, honest and respectful.
Surround yourself with positive people, who are respectful toward you and gently say good-bye to all the rest.
For the remainder of your days on earth, be kind, open-hearted and open-minded to everyone and yourself.
Personally, as a longtime Buddhist, I work on practicing “right action,” “right speech”, “right views”, “right intentions” and so on (from the Eightfold Path) every day.