The Next Buddha is Sangha

Your Heart’s Deepest Intention

Wise Intention is one of two limbs of Wisdom in the Eightfold Path. Every mind moment involves an intention. Each decision and every action is born of intention. Each movement, word and thought is preceded by a volitional impulse, frequently unnoticed. Yet just as drops of water will eventually fill a bucket, so the accumulation of all our choices shapes our life.

Intentions—noticed, unnoticed, gross or subtle—contribute to happiness or suffering. Long after a deed is done or a word said, the trace momentum of its intention remains, conditioning future happiness or unhappiness. If we nourish unwise intentions of greed, ill will, vengeance or harmfulness, their inherent suffering will sprout—presently, as we act on them, and in the future as reinforced habits, tensions and painful memories. If we nourish wise intentions of good will, harmlessness and generosity, they will grow in us and the inherent happiness and openness of those states will be frequent visitors in our life.

Mindfulness helps us to foresee the impact of intentions. We see that even if we act in ways of service or generosity, but based not on a spontaneous movement of the heart of basic and fundamental goodness but out of guilt or fear or to feel righteous, our actions will not have lasting benefit. Connecting to one’s deepest intentions will bear deeper results than practice connected to more superficial concerns.

Reflect carefully on your intentions before speaking or acting and their probable impact. What is your heart’s deepest intention?