November 4     

Today's quotation:

There is nothing wrong with being successful in society and enjoying a degree of fame.  But ultimately, the lives of those dedicated to the welfare and happiness of others, even if they remain unrecognized, are the ones truly worthy of respect.

Daisaku Ikeda
Buddhism Day by Day

Today's Meditation:

Most of us don't have to worry about fame.  It's never going to be a part of our lives, so why think about it?  I guess that fame is a matter of degree-- a teacher might be famous in a school, and a mayor may be famous in a town, and any of us can experience very low-level fame for things that we've done, people that we've met, places that we've been.  To me, though, the most important part of Daisaku's words are in the second sentence, for the idea of being "dedicated to the welfare and happiness of others," is the most important concept here.

So many of us feel an emptiness because we don't have the approval of others for what we do.  We feel that others who are famous haven't done anything all that great, and that what we've done rivals what they've done-- it's just that they're in the public eye, so the public keeps on looking at them.  But we keep on keeping on, doing what we can for others, and that's definitely good enough-- the recognition and the adoration of others really means nothing if we're doing what we can to serve others and to merit the respect that Daisaku mentions.

If we look at fame as a synonym of recognition and we're striving to become famous or recognized, then we're doing what we're doing for the wrong reasons.  Our motivation can't be for fame when we're truly trying to help others as much as we can.  Helping others should simply be something that we do, not a tool that we use to gain recognition.  If I spend my life searching for fame rather than trying to be the best person I can be, I'm setting myself up for pure disappointment, and I don't want to do that.

Any fame for us really should come as a result of doing what comes naturally to us, what we have passion for, what we do well.  It shouldn't come as the result of attempts to gain fame itself.  The recognition that means something special is the recognition that comes as a result of the kind things that we've done for others in service, for that's the recognition that lasts and that nurtures our spirits.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people think that fame is so attractive?

What kind of recognition do you hope to gain in your life?  From whom?

What are some of the possible problems if we try to focus solely on gaining fame?

For further thought:

Fame is a pearl many dive for and only a few bring up.  Even when they do, it is not perfect, and they sigh for more, and lose better things in struggling for them.

Louisa May Alcott

more thoughts and ideas on fame



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