The Art of Listening

responsibility, taking responsibility, blame, buddhism, happiness, behavior

A lot of people pay very little attention to what’s going on in the world around them, but most people tend to rely primarily on their vision. Over the years, when I was being followed and people were talking to me in my head, I started relying more on my sense of hearing than on what I saw in front of me. I learned to rely on other senses in addition to my hearing. The crazy people who stalked me constantly, rarely came anywhere near me, so there was never any reason to look for them.

One quiet, sunny afternoon I jumped out of the car with Savannah and walked past the Port A Pottie toward the drinking fountain. I didn’t see anyone else along the trails and I stopped to glance briefly at the trail map posted on the chain link fence. I thought about how when I take Savannah for her daily walk, we usually stop for a few minutes while Savannah checks things out. I will look around for people on the trails, but mostly I will listen.

For me over the years, listening has gone beyond just what my ears pick up. It has expanded into what my mind perceives from my 1) ears and 2) “voices” in my head. There is more to perceiving our surroundings than simply listening to the sound that enters through our ears and this has to do with our mind’s ability to perceive. I’ve also noticed that people from different cultures perceive their environment in different ways.




Buddhism teaches that one characteristic of a bodhisattva is being able to perceive the world’s sounds. The insight needed to correctly discern and grasp developments in society and the times – even to anticipate them before they happen – is indispensable.

For Today & Tomorrow “Daily Encouragement” Daisaku Ikeda February 1


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