Stephen Cope's The Great Work of Your Life

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It is sad that Stephen Cope's writing ability (which is excellent) so far exceeds his understanding of dharma and The Bhagavad Gita which seems to be none. I fear that his fine writing ability and lack of understanding will be the cause of needless suffering for many people.

The original meaning of dharma is right or selfless action (taken without attachment to the outcome) while karma is selfish action (taken with attachemnt to the outcome). The Bhagavad Gita is, perhaps, the best source of how to bring joy and bliss into your life through the practice of dharma.

Stephen Cope seems to be aware dharma is very difficult for Westerners (just as it is very difficult for Hindus) as being selfless is a most difficult practice. However, instead of being true to The Bhagavad Gita and describing the strategies for achieving dhamra, selfless action, Mr. Cope, instead invents a new definition of dharma which is pursuing your passion (i.e. karma, the pursuit of self-serving transient pleasures), the exact opposite. He then pays lip service to serving the greater good, but true dharma starts with selfless actions at its core not as an apology for the pursuit of selfish transient pleasure.

For example, Mr. Cope advises that a priest who is effective at helping his parishioners and who is sorely needed by his parishioners but is drawm to a pursuit of music, should abandon his parishioners and pursue his passion for music, a self serving transient pleasure. By the same logic a householder responsible for young children but with a desire to be a circus performer should abandon his family and kids to be a circus performer. According to The Bhagavad Gita and numerous other texts, this is a sure fire path to misery and suffering as transient pleasures can not provide contentment, joy or bliss. Selfless devotion to your current duties (i.e. being the best householder that you can) can provide the contentment and joy we desire if approached with wisdom and devotion. This is what the The Bhagavad Gita is all about.

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This page was last updated on September 2, 2013