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Excerpt from Health Through Balance

Chapter Eleven
Behavior

Recommendations for behavior are given in three categories: continual, seasonal, and occasional behavior.  The first is broken into two parts: continual behavior for the entire life and religious practice.

 


CONTINUAL BEHAVIOR FOR THE ENTIRE LIFE
Everyone wants happiness and a long life and does not want suffering, and everyone engages in techniques to achieve these.57  In order to get rid of suffering - disease - and to lenghten your life span, there are various methods which you can employ. You can wear precious stones on various places of the body to lengthen your lifetime and protect from disease. You also should take medicine that accords with your own physical disposition, and you should seek the help of protector deities through the practice of Secret Mantra.

You should, with mindfulness, avoid the two conditions giving rise to illness: unsuitable eating habits are unsuitable behavior, these being, for instance, to drink mixtures of different kinds of alcoholic beverages, to stay out in the sun for a long time and then come in to the cold, to wear light clothing in the winter, and to wear heavy clothing and so forth in the summer.  You should in all ways abandon as much as possible the various forms of the nonvirtues--three physical: killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct; four verbal: lying, divisive speech, harmful talk, and senseless chatter; and three metal: covetousness, harmful intent, and wrong view. You should diminish these as much as you can.

The sense faculties - the tongue sense and so forth - should be used in a balance manner; you should, for instance, not gaze too much at the very beautiful or the very ugly or prolongedly smell very attractive or very unattractive odors. If you gaze too much at very ugly things too long, eventually the wind element in the body is stirred up. Similarly, if you smell bad odors to much, it eventually affects the wind element in your body, and this brings out illness.

You should avoid getting on a wild horse, swimming in a whirlpool, running through fire to show off your courage, climbing up and jumping down from trees in summer to show off your physical powers, or playing at the edge of caverns that are filled with water from the rains of summer. At all times in all seasons, you should avoid such activities, basically because they could kill or harm. For instance, if you hang on branches, they could easily break off, or if you swim in a whirlpool, you can get sucked in; riding on a wild horse, you can get thrown off, injured, and even killed.

When walking, you should watch the road carefully. When staying in a single place, you should know the area where you are staying. You should try not to go about in the night, but if there is something important for which you have to go outside, take a friend along for protection. Do not go against the nature of things, in terms of time and in terms of the nature of the situation.

One reason for taking care about where you go and where you stay and so forth is that if, for instance, you go into the woods, you could fall into a trap that has been built to capture a deer. If you do not watch where you are walking on a narrow bridge, for instance, when you get to the end you might fall into a trap constructed for animals - the bridge itself being part of the trap. In other words, you have to take care.

It is advisable not to fast all the time, or sleep during the day instead of the night, or put great effort into tasks at which you cannot possibly succeed. Do not get drunk from alcohol a great deal; this will cause the strength of your body to be be lost. Do not stay talking all the time, just chattering on and on. These will cause your body to become old before its time.

In the spring [or late winter according to the "Western" seasons], when the nights are becoming shorter, it is a very rough season, and thus it is not a time to spend fasting, chattering, or any of the other above mentioned activities; if you do, this will cause your body to lose strength and the wind element to increase. Thus, if during this season you sleep a little bit, just after noon, it is very helpful. For instance, if you sleep for a half hour or an hour after lunch in the spring, it counteracts the effect of these activities - counters the loss of strength of body and counters the increase of the wind element.

If in the summer, fall, and winter, however, you sleep after lunch, this will cause an increase of phlegm; body and mind will become heavy, the sharpness of your intelligence will lessen, you will not want to move around much, you will get lazy, and you will get common colds over and over again.

A person who has to sleep a lot should be given an emetic and fast afterward. The purpose is to vomit out the phlegm that causes heaviness, and thus a special emetic is needed in order to expel the unwanted phlegm.

A person who cannot sleep should at noon take warm milk and at night take broth made from lean meat. The insomniac should rub sesame oil all over the top of the head. Also, in a spoon melt a little pure fresh butter and at the point at which it cools off, take just a drop and put it in each ear.

In general, you should not commit adultery, that is, lie with somebody who is married or who is under the care of another person, nor should you fornicate with animals. You also should not copulate during the time of menstruation. In the winter you can copulate as much as you wish - there is no specified limit - but in the fall and spring you should not copulate more than twice a week. In the months of summer you should copulate no more than once every two weeks. This is because summer is the peak time of elements; since everything is highly developed, if you copulate a lot during this time, your strength will be lost.

If more copulation is done, this will cause your sense powers (eye, ears, nose, tongue, and body) to become dull. For instance, your sight will not be as clear or bright. It can also cause untimely death; if, for instance, you had been capable of living one hundred years, you might die at seventy or eighty. Also, your intelligence will become duller.

In order to overcome the wind that causes you to age, you should bathe frequently and rub sesame oil everywhere on the body. In India we can get only sesame oil, but here you have many kinds of oil that are suitable although mustard oil is to be avoided. This will get rid of fat, and your body will be lighter. Rubbing oil on the body will increase the digestive fires; your intelligence will become clear, and you will have a clear sense of exertion. It also increases sexual powers.

Question: How often is "frequent" bathing?
Answer: It is necessary to bathe at least once a week, but you should do it twice. In India people who practice this bathe every day in the morning and then rub on oil.

Question: If you copulate more than the specified number of times, is there counteraction you can take?
Answer: Yes, there is medicine. There is a separate text on virilification and aphrodisiacs for the sake of restoring sexual potency - making the impotent potent. It is said in that text that if a man takes medicine properly, he can lie with a hundred women in one night. I do not know about that, but the medicine is very powerful.

If you transgress these rules, it is possible to contract chronic disorders. These specifications of times and season and amounts are particularly important for the old, for wind or bile. They are slightly less important for the adult who is not bothered by wind or bile problems.

Persons who have a strong body should take fatty and oily types of foods in the winter and spring. However, they should lessen the intake of these in the summer and the fall, the reason being that fatty and oily foods will increase bile.

Most important for a person who is predominated by phlegm is any form of exercise - running, jumping, swimming, whatever. When a person who is predominated by phlegm washes, as a substitute for soap, it is good to use powdered lentil. It draws out phlegm in the hair pores. Through this, your joints will be very flexible. This also causes fat to dissolve, and the flesh to improve. If you engage in such behavior, your skin will have good tone, your limbs will be very strong, and you will have a long life.

Question: What other kinds of oil are good to use?
Answer: Oils from various types of nuts, even walnut oil, but not mustard oil.

Question: Can you bathe too much or have sex to seldom?
Answer: If you bathe many times during the day, the water itself might increase wind problems. With regard to having too little sexual activity, I do not think there would be much fault, except for the possilbe formation of stones.

Religious Behavior
Because all sentient beings want happiness, they engage in many activities; in the previous section, we talk about wordly activities; now let us turn to religious activities. Because it is the case that even regular happiness can lead to suffering, it is best to engage in religious activities. You should not procrastinate with regard to religious practice, thinking that you can accumulate wealth and a good situation and then practice later on. Rather, you should begin practicing right away, not putting it off until later.

The main religious activities are: with regard to physical acts, to give up killing living beings, stealing, and impure sexual activity - adultery; with regard to verbal activities, you should give up lying, senseless talk, harmful speech, and divisive talk which is the worst of all; mentally, you should give up covetousness which is a desire to have somebody else's belongings, harmful intent which is to wish to harm another, and wrong views - for instance, to view that there is now cause and effect of actions, that there is no rebirth, that there is no such thing as Buddha, Doctrine, and the Spiritual Community. In this way you should give up non-virtuous activities - three of body, four of speech, and three of mind. Even if you are unable to sit in a cross-legged posture and have the appearance of one who is meditating, the diminishing and abandonment of these is religious practice.

Whatever capacity you have should be used to help those overwhelmed by sorrow, those bereft of wealth, and those stricken by suffering. Helping others is very special. You should always view any living being, even bugs and so forth, as like yourself. Just as you would not like a needle stuck in your own flesh, so even a worm or bugs does not like such things.

You should, when talking to others, speak altrustically with a smiling face, without deception, and honestly. You should mainly seek to help even persons who are acting as your enemy and are trying to harm you. Also, with a motivation of love you should generate the two altruistic supreme minds of enlightenment - the altruistic intention to become enlightened in both its aspirational and practical forms as well as the realization of the emptiness of inherent existence.

Physically, even if now we are not Bodhisattvas and are incapable of giving our own bodies to others, we can give gifts to others; we can give blood to others who do not have enough. Persons who make organ donations are indeed carrying out the Bodhisattva precepts. Verbally, we should use speech with an attitude of altruism; for instance, if another is seeking to kill someone and trying to find out where they are, even if you had seen the intended victim, you can tell the killer that you do not know where that person is and thereby free that being from being killed. Similarly, mentally you should think about what will be helpful to others, discriminating between what helps and what harms others.

It is very important to engage in the Bodhisattva type of altruistic attitude, considering others' welfare to be more important than your own. These are the ultimate religious practices.

Question: What happens if you feel anger but are smiling?
Answer: It would be harmful because you are angry, but because of not carrying out an action of harm against someone else, the effect would be less.

Question: It seems that you run the danger of self-deception rather than the deception of others when you attempt to act differently than you feel.
Answer: Once you have desire and hatred, there is no way that you cannot be in a position of loss. If you show it to others, it will bring a certain problem and if you keep it inside, it will bring another. We are stuck in this situation until attaining freedom from the afflictions of desire, hatred, and ignorance.


57. In Day-si-sang-gyay-gya-tso's Blue Daidurya, Vol. 1, the corresponding section begins at 308.2.  See also The Ambrosia Heart Tantra, pp. 112-116.


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