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Wholesome intentions – Introduction

Burning candleThese statements about reality, about the way things really are, are central to Buddhism, and you can test them for yourself:

  • Everything happens because of preceding causes. Everything, both inside our minds and outside in the world.
  • Those causes lead to results that are either beneficial or harmful, for ourselves and others.
  • Causes originate within yourself and outside yourself.
  • The primary source of the causes that originate inside you are your own intentions. As one teacher put it, “Everything rests on the tip of motivation.”
  • Some of our intentions are very deliberate and conscious, while others are shadowy or altogether hidden. Multiple intentions dance, join with, and oppose each other in the mind, some have more power than others do, and our actions are the result of the net sum of all of them at any one time. Our actions reveal our true intentions.
  • The sphere of intention is vast, ranging from the items listed on a shopping list to our loftiest aspirations. It encompasses our goals, aims, values, drives, purposes, wants, and ideals. The influence of our intentions pervades our entire life.
  • This means that through establishing our intentions, we have tremendous influence over our life. Therefore, our intentions bring us both great responsibility and great opportunity.

In sum, becoming more aware of our intentions, observing their effects – for better or worse – and becoming more skillful with them is an absolutely fundamental and powerful source of benefit for ourselves and others.

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About Rick Hanson PhD

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Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, a Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, and a New York Times best-selling author. His books include Hardwiring Happiness, Buddha’s Brain, Just One Thing, and Mother Nurture. Founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, he’s been an invited speaker at Oxford, Stanford, and Harvard, and taught in meditation centers worldwide. He has several audio programs and his free Just One Thing newsletter has over 100,000 subscribers.

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