Respect for others
“When we respect someone, we understand our interconnectedness with them. My friends in Nepal ritualise mutual respect and interconnectedness by putting their hands together and bowing to each other while saying ‘Namaste’, which means ‘ I bow to the divine within you’. This is an expression of the interconnectedness of self and other.
“The first time I met His Holiness The Dalai Lama in the 1980’s, I noticed that he bowed very low when approaching others, as though to say ‘I respect you.’ No matter if he was meeting a Tibetan who had just crossed the frontier, or a head of state, His Holiness always offered the same deep bow of humility, not holding himself above others.
Respect for principles/ moral nerve
“Having moral nerve involves standing by our principles and precepts and recognising the truth of interdependent coarising. ‘This is, because that is’.
“Seeing someone knifing into a steak, I see the links of cause and effect, whether the suffering of animals or the cattle industry’s impact on climate change. I make a conscious choice in that moment to not contribute to more suffering, and order a lentil stew.
“As explained by the author Joan Didion – ‘Self-respect is character. The willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own life. Self-respect is a discipline, a habit of mind that can never be faked, but can be developed, trained and coaxed forth. To have a sense of one’s intrinsic worth, is potentially to have everything: the ability to discriminate, to love and to remain indifferent.’
“Put another way, when we know our basic goodness, we become unlocked from our small self, who is isolated from connections. Instead we can become the inclusive self, who is interconnected with all beings.”
From: Standing At the Edge: Finding Freedom Where Fear and Courage Meet by Joan Halifax
Roshi Joan Halifax PhD is a Buddhist teacher, Zen Monk and Anthropologist who explores the edges of human experience and writes incredibly compelling books about the intersection of spirituality, psychology and human consciousness.