Doing good seeking rewards
Is contaminated virtue.
Doing good without thought of reward,
Dedicating it to enlightenment,
Is uncontaminated virtue.
Contamination and non-contamination
Refer to the state of mind of the doer,
Not to the good deed itself.
- Muso Kokushi (1275-1351)
Suppose I give up on the lesser reward of praise or goodwill from others because I'm after the greater reward of enlightenment? Is that just as bad, or is it actually worse?
Suppose I offer you kindness and acceptance because behaving magnanimously supports my secret belief that I am a better person than you. Suppose you sense my patronizing attidude, and you're mad as hell. Suppose I continue to smile and offer a gentle acceptance in the face of your angry tirade, because it confirms belief in my innate superiority.
Maybe it would be better for me to scream back at you. Or maybe it doesn't make a whit of difference whether I scream or I hide behind Mona Lisa's smile....We will only find our way to one another once you get over trying to change my behavior with your disapproval and I outgrow my preference for lonely self-esteem over vulnerable relationship.