|A Teacher of Action and Inaction
....Buddha..... There is a way that one can rightly say of me that I am a teacher of inaction;
I do teach people to be inactive in regard to evil conduct in deeds, words and thoughts: I teach inaction in regard to the multitude of evil, unwholesome qualities.
But, I also teach people to be active by way of good conduct in deeds, words and thoughts; I teach action in regard to the multitude of wholesome Qualities.
There is also a way in which one can say that I am an annihilationist. For I teach the annihilation of greed, hatred and delusion; I teach the annihilation of the multitude of evil, unwholesome qualities.
Anguttara Nikaya VIII, 12 (excerpt)
To follow the Buddha's teaching at times flies in the face of many modern teachings. Often these teachings ask one to just experience what is happening now. To give all "duel" thinking a pass. The Buddha, however, asks us to wake up through a deep understanding of experience itself. He taught a path of discernment --- a very active path. We establish intention to end suffering and act on that intention, both mentally and physically, by using awareness and choice.
This can be confusing if we don't make a clear distinction between discernment and judgment. Discernment is the process of seeing the difference between things. Judgment is the act of assigning guilt or innocence. When discernment and the understanding of the dependent nature of all occurrences, be they mental or physical, are combined, choice becomes much less complicated. Is greed, hatred or delusion being weakened or strengthened? Weakened, act. Strengthened, don't act. Is loving kindness, compassion and equanimity being weakened or strengthened? Strengthened, act. Weakened, don't act. Evaluate and act in accordance with your goal. The Buddha tells us that choice is what he calls Karma, so, as we choose to strengthen the multitude of wholesome qualities we choose a future that brings us closer to peace.
Note: When making choices, it can be useful to think in terms of helpful and unhelpful, instead of good and bad or positive and negative. When tempted to judge it can be useful to think in terms of skillful and unskillful instead of right or wrong. As we do this the mind becomes less cluttered with thoughts and emotions, awareness is there and mindfulness is there. What needs to get done gets done ---- Skillfully.