Virtue is taught by all religions as a cause for happiness. Human goodness is appreciated by all mankind beyond dogmas and faiths. When we create the habit of being kind, generous, compassionate, patient, we not only experience mental peace and joy, but also benefit all others who come into our Paths.
How to create virtue in practical ways with our three doors in our daily life?
Here are some practical tips.
1- Protect the lives of others: Save small creatures who are about to drown in the sink of your toilet, that are in danger of being stepped by cars on the street or of being eaten by bigger animals.
Yes, every life counts, even that of the small insects we usually neglect, and each one of them has the same wish to be free from suffering and its causes as we do. How many times have we been in danger and have found comfort in the protection of others? Recognizing this fact will encourage us to do the same, motivated by the wish to repay that kindness we have received... which is actually immeasurable.
2- Keep your hands fully open: Give away something another person is in need of.
Practicing generosity by giving exactly what another being needs at that precise moment is a very powerful and meritorious practice. Remember how many times you have been in need of food or drink and someone gently offered it to you, or needed a particular book and received it as a gift, how many times others hosted you when you were homeless or when traveling in a foreign land, remember everything you have received due to the generous heart of others. Allow that feeling of gratitude and open-heartedness to guide you towards engaging in giving yourself as much as you can to assist others in need as well.
3- Do not sacrifice your ethics for a little tickle: Be loyal with your partner if you have one and back off from seducing the partner's of others.
We all have some experience of the suffering that arises due to infidelity in relationships, there is no need of philosophical discourses to support this truth.
Keeping our sexual energy clean by preserving it for our intimate relationships gives us a deep sense of integrity... and allows us to go to sleep with a calm mind as well!
Also, as we ourselves don't gain pleasure from being cheated or from others interfering in our relationships, the same case is for the rest of humans. Using our sexual energy in manipulative ways in order to get what we want (even if it is just a desirious look from someone else) is a childish way of the ego seeking for power. It makes us look unstrutworthy - and sometimes quite ridiculous as well- and makes others feel uneasy and unsafe in our presence. There are much more effective ways of gaining genuine power and attaining happiness, such as dedicating energy to developing our wisdom and compassion.
4- Make your mouth clear as a pristine river: Say the truth at all times.
Lying even in small ways such as exaggerating events to make our stories funnier is only a harmful habit that strengthens neuronal connections in our brain reinforcing the habit of having to twist the truth in order to gain satisfaction or comfort. Practice so much speaking truthful words that you become an undeceiving, wholesome being who inspires trust in all others at all times and who never has to go through the stressful situation of hiding for fear of being caught.
5- Become a human goodness promoter: Proclaim the good qualities of others.
Specially when you come across discord, try to bring about the goodness of others even when people are seeing only faults in another person. Fill your speech with genuine compliments and encouraging feedbacks that feed into other's mental joy. You don't have to be fake and go around saying pleasant words just to look nice in front of the eyes of others: just be natural and point out the goodness of others in front of them and at their backs. A person who cultivates this habit inspires again trust and safety in the minds of others, rarely gets involved into unnecesary discords with the neighbours and relatives and is much more prone to being happy and at ease, than someone who is used to putting others down in her mind and then criticizing them with the underlying pride of considering herself better (habit which makes the mood grumpy and pushes others away from us).
6- Make of your words a full open lotus: speak to others in a kind way.
Even if others speak harshly to oneself, one always has the choice of fighting back with the same harmful attitude or still wishing them well with our speech. This doesn't mean we should transform into a forest fairy speaking in a melodious, enchanting way: no need to be outrageous. It just means: make sure your words are coming from a place of kindness, and that they don't have the intent to harm the other person in any way. Being gentle gives us, as well as the benefit of others treating us in a gentle way back, the secondary benefit of appearing attractive to them (although this should not be our motivation, of course). But who in the world appears beautiful to us while screaming or speaking offensive words? Not even the most conventionally attractive person.
7- Make your words powerful: engage only in conversations about meaningful things.
Sometimes we don't realize how much of our precious human existence we waste in engaging in meaningless chattery. And not even say about how much time we make others waste! Thinking before we are about to speak and investing our priceless inmaterial energy in talking about relevant things that will bring ourselves and others some benefit, makes our speech much more powerful and creates the cause for others to really listen to us when we have something important to say. Less bla, bla, bla, will also make our mind more settled and spacious, available for engaging in virtuous activities.
Once again, one should not fall into the extreme of not commenting anything about the weather or not making jokes: it is just that a simple practice such as using our speech in a more meaningful and constructive way will benefit us and others around us and save us from being exhausted for no reason and add to our senseless conceptualization (as if we didn't have enough already!).
8- Make of your mind a pleasurable grove: Rejoice in the good fortune of others.
When you see someone on the street helping a homeless person, feel happy about it. When a coleague gets the promotion he seeked for, think 'How wonderful it is!'. When you scroll through Facebook news and others share their achievements, instead of harboring resentment, being jealous and suspicious... rejoice! When sitting quietly at home, reflect about how many people are creating goodness in the world by hosting refugees in their homes, feeding the hungry, teaching human values to children, praying for the welfare of others. Everywhere we look at internally or using our sight, we can find sentient beings being kind, generous, forgiving, patient, calm. The universe is pervaded by delusions, but of goodness as well, and everything beautiful and pleasant ourselves and others enjoy is the result of that benevolence. A mind that engages in the practice of rejoicing is a happy mind, a mind that is able to find joy wherever she goes.
9- Think of love as many times a day as you can: Wish others well.
Along the day we connect with and remember many beings, even in our dreams. Practicing wishing well to everyone we enter in contact with makes our mind uplifted, serene and allows us to feel connected with others. The opposite of love is hatred, or the mind that engages in malicious thoughts... the mind that reinforces our delusion of separation and pushes others away from us, externally and internally. If all we want is to be happy, and that happiness comes from our easy-going, kind mind, we can practice starting the day with this intention: 'May every being that crosses my Path today, through any of my three doors, be happy'. And when going to sleep: 'May any being I encounter in my dreams experience only easiness of being and mental joy'. We can be creative with our practice of love and make up our own intentions: apart from being extremely beneficial, it can be quite fun!
10- Contemplate your life as your own garden: Reflect repeatedly in the law of cause and effect.
Become aware of how each one of your actions of body, speech and mind motivated by a good intention, result in happiness for yourself and others in the long term, and how it is the opposite with your actions motivated by greed, anger, pride and all other afflictive states of mind. There is no random existence. Everything that comes into being is due to the force of causes and conditions, an infinite web of actions created by ourselves and others. The more good actions we decide to perform, the more seeds of perfumed spring flowers we will be planting in the garden of our mindstreams. And if we do not wish to experience unnecesary suffering (as we already have enough with the unavoidable sufferings of our human condition), we should recall into mind our negative actions and reflect on the disadvantages of them in order to restrain ourselves from creating sorrow for ourselves and others in the future.
And when your day comes to an end, don't forget to take some time to rejoice in all the good seeds you have planted in your mind. This will increase your self-confidence as well as the virtues created. Also, you can dedicate that all the happiness you have created, contributes to the welfare of all sentient beings... this make your mind vast as an ocean.