しあわせになる英語 English for Happiness


「グローバル時代の幸福と社会的責任: その2 ”慈愛”」 “Happiness and Virtue : No.2_ Benevolence”


This book is originally written in English, beyond West and East, in order to search for the way to allow happiness to be realized in a globally and socially responsible manner. No.2, about “Benevolence”――more to come both in English and in Japanese.



Somebody might, for example, visit the elderly in the community with a gift of seasonal fruit or some other delicacy. The local community could well applaud such behavior as an example of benevolence, since this is a virtue that people ascribe to an individual who behave generously and compassionately towards others, especially to those who are suffering or in need.



More considered analysis of such a case, however, reveals that seemingly benevolent deeds in certain situations do not necessarily signify that a benevolent mind is at work prompting such conduct. Acts that appear benevolent can be performed in order to enhance one’s own reputation in society or to get something in return from the other party.



Moreover, even if individuals do act with a benevolent mind in one particular instance, this does not necessarily mean that they can be relied on to behave benevolently at all times and under all circumstances. Therefore, when discussing benevolence the key consideration is not necessarily whether people act in a seemingly benevolent way on occasion, but rather whether they have a benevolent mind and what role this plays relative to their whole mental functioning. If benevolence really has a permanent presence in the mind and heart, it will in due course find expression in one way or another according to circumstances.



If we accept benevolence as a mental state that involves caring for others and behavior that promotes their happiness, it clearly cannot be limited to our children, family members, close friends or other important people close to us. It must include all humankind and beyond even that, all that exists on earth and is connected with our lives, since caring for and respecting all human beings is simply not possible if we exclude the animals and plants that grow alongside us. This is because not only do we co-exist with them, we also depend on their existence to support our own. Beyond that, of course, we are also sustained by our natural, inanimate environment, relying as we do on the sun, air, water, soil, and oceans that provide us with so much of what we need.



In respect of human society, too, we receive great benefits in the form of electric power, water and waste facilities, transportation, communication facilities and so on. Rather than exploiting all these benefits provided by nature and human society selfishly and thoughtlessly, we need to accept all we are given with a sense of gratitude. That will then form the basis of a caring attitude that should inform our relationships with everything, animate and inanimate, that helps to sustain our lives.



Thought of in this way, benevolence in its broadest sense means caring for and respecting all that exists in our surroundings and thereby enhancing the quality of our relationships with all our surroundings. By taking an active interest in all that surrounds us, by expanding the sphere of our interactions with it, and by developing a sense of gratitude towards it we will enhance the quality of our relationships with our surroundings in the spirit of care and respect.



Of course, we need to be aware that these relationships extend across time as well as space, for we are connected with all that has existed in the past as well as with that will exist in the future. In sum, benevolence of mind can only be acquired by examining all our relationships in a serious and radical manner.




My THIRD anthology has been published.

Please  order it from Amazon if you are interested in.















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