Wednesday, September 13, marks the fourth annual Global Character Day, which was launched by filmmaker and Webby Awards founder, Tiffany Shlain. The idea of the day is to get us all talking about “the importance of character building in today’s increasingly distracted and overly-connected world.” Sounds to us at Lion’s Roar like a very good thing to do. Perhaps the place to start is to ask, What are the characteristics of the Buddhist view of a positive character?
Global Character Day literature notes a number of positive characteristics; for example, grit, curiosity, courage, temperance, and so on. A couple of these, Buddhists would identify immediately with, like “wisdom” and “gratitude.” But we’d add to those (at least for starters): compassion, kindness, clarity, confidence, responsibility, equanimity, and courage. So, in the spirit of the day, we’ve compiled a great resource-list of articles all about fostering these qualities in ourselves. Read on, and happy #CharacterDay2017 to you!
Wisdom & Compassion
Living the Compassionate Life — This teaching by the Dalai Lama explains how the Buddhist teachings of mindfulness and compassion lead inevitably to feelings of self-confidence and kindness.
Compassion and Wisdom — A society based upon peace, harmony, wisdom and compassion is possible, says Venerable Khandro Rinpoche—but we must all begin with ourselves.
Kindness Changes Everything — When we practice loving-kindness, says Noah Levine, we change for the better—and so does our world.
Kindness to Ourselves and Others — Suffering is more than the first noble truth of Buddhism. To see our own and others’ suffering is the first step on the path, the birthplace of compassion. Judy Lief offers guidance on the journey.
See Things Clear Through — In this practical and pointed meditation instruction, Upasika Kee Nanayon, the foremost woman dhamma teacher in twentieth-century Thailand, shows us how to combine concentration and clear-seeing to penetrate the “mass of deceit” that is the mind.
Buddhist Meditation is Relaxing With the Truth — It is only when we begin to relax with ourselves as we are, says Pema Chödrön, that meditation becomes a transformative process. The pith instruction is, Stay. . . stay. . . just stay.
Ready, Steady, Go — One of the crucial qualities of the bodhisattva warrior, says Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, is the steadiness of mind that fosters strength and confidence. We harness the energy of mind through the practice of meditation.
Ask the Teachers — How Do I Deal With Doubt? — Narayan Helen Liebenson, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche, and Grace Schireson answer a reader’s question about “dealing with a lot of doubt regarding my practice, my sangha, and even my teacher.”
Life Is Tough. Here are Six Ways to Deal With It — An ancient set of Buddhist slogans offers us six powerful techniques to transform life’s difficulties into awakening and benefit. Zen teacher Norman Fischer guides us through them, most notably here, “Drive All Blames Into One.”
The Bodhisattva — Taking the bodhisattva vow, says Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, “implies that instead of holding our own individual territory and defending it tooth and nail, we become open to the world that we are living in. It means we are willing to take on greater responsibility, immense responsibility.”
Sit Like a Mountain: An Image of Equanimity — Sharon Salzberg teaches on why equanimity is important, and how to foster it.
Ask the Teachers — How do I retain passion while accepting all of life equally? Narayan Helen Liebenson, Zenkei Blanche Hartman, and Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche respond.
Smile at Fear — Pema Chödrön on Bravery, Open Heart & Basic Goodness
The Warrior Tradition: Conquering Fear — Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche on fearlessness and how to recognize and conquer real enemies in the world outside.
For much more, visit the Character Day website, watch their films, and get involved.