May I Be Of Benefit

By Waylon H. Lewis, Dec 19, 2006

Boulder, CO (USA) -- I’m a “Dharma Brat,” the nickname (said to be a mishmash of “Army Brat” and Kerouac’s “Dharma Bums") for the first generation of American Buddhists to grow up from the get-go with the terrible technological brilliance of the West and the esoteric wisdom of the East.

<< Look! This is your world. You can’t not look. There is no other world. This is your world: it is your feast. Look at the greatness of the whole thing. Look! Don’t hesitate—look! Open your eyes. Don’t blink, and look, look - look further. ~ Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche

When you grow up Buddhist, you notice that everyone’s always sitting around. They call it meditating. As a child, I remember wanting to yell at a building-full of meditators at Karme Chöling, in Vermont, “What are you afraid of! It’s a gorgeous day! Get out there and live!” Only later did I realize what hard work it was. Working with your mind. Becoming friends with oneself. Seeing through the incessant blah bla blah that speeds by so fast that, like a spinning tire, it looks solid. We look solid, that is: we think we exist. From there comes the urge to preserve and protect. From there comes the us vs. them mentality. From there comes ego, which is something I know all about.

But if I didn’t holler at them there Buddhists, they sure did at me. When you’re a child living at a Buddhist retreat center in the middle of nowhere (the exact middle: Barnet, Vermont), what happens is you get told to shush a lot. I was a just a kid. I ran and jumped instead of walking and laughed and yelled instead of talking. That didn’t go over so well with the meditation crowd.

Now I’m an old man of 32. I’m an adult, mostly. Folks don’t tell me to shush, anymore. They do, from time to time, suggest I put fewer photos of myself in my own magazine. I shrug, helplessly. I’m hopeless. For better and worse, I yam who I yam and I ain’t who I ain’t. And one thing I ain’t is someone quiet, or shy. I’m all about me. Not very Buddhist, I know.

And that’s where, as a young man, Buddhism hit home. Because Buddhism says...well, first of all, Buddhism says "don’t believe anything Buddhism says unless you can personally experience it and find it to be true." And secondly, Buddhism says, "You’re nobody. I’m nobody. I don’t exist." Then, in the Heart Sutra (the most beautiful, rhythmic sutra I know) Buddhism goes on to say that "though I don’t exist (form is empty,) I also am myself (emptiness is form)—and that’s not only okay, that’s great." It’s great because only through my own personal experience of our world and my life, can I develop compassion for others. And for myself. Finally, it says the thing that gave my life direction: "Be a ‘bodhisattva.’" Use my understanding of my lack of self—my awareness of my self-involved self, my compassion for my insufferable self—and then and only then go out and help others. Save the world. Change the world. Be an example. Be a good person. Live a good life, yes—but live a life that’s not only good for myself and my loved ones, but for everyone, and the world.

‘Cause lots of Americans live the conventional idea of a good life: go to school, join a frat, get a job, work hard, make money, buy a big home with a big garage to put my big car in, and retire rich but dissatisfied. And lots of others live a life that’s good for others: go to school, join the co-op, become a teacher, change children's’ lives and work day and night every day of the week for a few decades, and retire poor. But not enough people do both: live a good life that also happens to be good for others. Get rich doing something you love that the world actually needs. Make your mission in life about service.

And that’s not merely a Buddhist idea. You’ll find that in just about any religion and culture worth its salt.

And that’s what "the mindful life" is meant to be all about. And that’s what I aim to do with my life. I want to get rich doing whatever I happen to be good at, so long as what I do is good for others and the world. I want to get famous and spread the word. May my every action be of benefit to all sentient beings, as the twice-daily Buddhist aspiration goes. In Buddhism, someone who’s enlightened is called a Tathagata—literally, one who’s crossed the river. But it’s better to be a Sugata—one who’s crossed the river and enjoyed doing so. No kidding. So enjoy your life. And the best way to do so is to help a world in need. Be eco in your everyday habits. Practice meditation, just a little bit. Align your career, your passion and your skills.

Speaking personally, it’s a fulfilled life, if not always an easy one. I work all the time. Just a few years back, I had a reputation for being a wild n’crazy guy. Now, I spend quality time with my laptop. My idea of a good time is to quit work at 11, watch a West Wing, and sleep. But I’m not playing a teeny-weensy violin. I’m fortunate. I know what I want to do with my life. I want to be of benefit.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: