Dharma in the daily life, I belief is a very interesting topic. My teacher spoke on this once, and he said that Dharma in the daily life is a phenomenon more related to western buddhist practitioners. He said that western practitioners have this view of trying to cultivate, increase, and put into practice things as much as possible. This might actually be a cultural thing. That sense of curiosity, of trying to figure out things, how to be more compassionate, show more love, develop wisdom on a daily basis. He said that this is a very precious thing. I find myself doing this a lot myself, trying to figure out how I can practice as much as possible during the day.
As a contrast, he said Dharma in the daily life really isn’t a concept in the east. For instance, his parents would get up in the morning, do their morning practices and commitments. Then the rest of the day, they follow the laws of karmic cause and effect, and tried not to make things worse. I find myself doing this as well, I think both the eastern and western approach to Buddhist practice are both good.
I alternate between the western and eastern approach, because sometimes trying to cultivate something every moment for Dharma practice is quite exhausting. I think being content with not harming anyone, sometimes that’s good enough. Dharma practice for me isn’t a 50 year project, or even a lifetime project, but many lifetimes project. Sometimes I spring, but overall I try to remember its a marathon.
Here’s an interesting video I saw about Dharma in the daily life, by a lay practitioner who has been practicing for over 30 years. She is a student of Lama Zopa Rinpoche and Lama Thubten Yeshe. She talks about the challenges of integrating theory into daily life and ideas for doing it, and how to practice for the long run. Very interesting ideas, about how on an experiential level, one uses Dharma in the daily life to generate peace and happiness.