"Change of attitude involves developing a sense of sympathy toward oneself, and therefore toward the world. One's attitude changes to that of nonaggression and passionlessness. Aggression refers to a general sense of uprightness and unfriendliness — of regarding the world as an object to do battle with. And in passion, one is trying to win something over, engaging in continual one-upmanship. In either case one has a constant battle going on with the world — that is to say, with oneself.

"When you change your attitude you develop an awareness that allows you to be friendly with yourself and thus with the rest of sentient beings. There is some sense of gentleness. This is connected with commitment to the practice of meditation, which creates an openness to your own ups and downs, and a willingness to go along with them and work on them. You develop such a thorough relationship with the teachings that they become part of you. The three jewels — the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha — become part of your existence and you thrive on that, you work with that, you live on that. You do not become a religious person as such, but you become gentle, soft, and very amiable and workable. You don't create defense mechanisms all the time.

"As a Buddhist, you are less greedy. If your breakfast isn't cooked just the way you want it, you give in and eat the crummy breakfast you don't like. There is a sense that you can give an inch in your demands — just a little inch, a fraction of a second. So trying to give in, which is the change of attitude, is very important. Usually, we don't want to give in: 'I want to have my own way. I want complete, one hundred percent hospitality, and if I don't get it, I'm going to fight for my rights,' and so forth. This is problematic and anti-Buddhist in some sense.

"Another aspect of the change of attitude is that when you become a full-fledged Buddhist you feel that your life is workable in any situation. You don't feel alienated from your problems, and you don't try to put yourself in some kind of spiritual orbit. You can be very gentle and friendly to yourself and other people and relate with the world — which seems to be the basic point of the Buddhist teachings. But you don't have to conduct yourself with the superficial smile and gleaming, honey-smeared attitude of 'love and light.' This is a genuine experience: you enter the tradition of the nonaggressive state of mind, and you are capable of conducting yourself in that way without artifice.

"Nonaggression in this context also means refraining from taking life; you refrain from the personal rejection of animals. enemies, human beings, or whatever. People sometimes take pride in killing flies; in that kind of little situation they become involved in some kind of 'gotcha!' mentality. That's a very savage kind of behavior. Becoming a follower of the dharma means becoming more sophisticated in the fundamental sense. You begin to pay attention to the details of your daily life situation, which become more important, and in fact sacred.

"Such an attitude cannot be made up. It only comes from lots of meditation practice; that seems to be the only way. The sitting practice of meditation seems to produce gentleness and compassion naturally."