Doing What Needs to be Done
“Kata karaṇīya: a person who has done what had to be done.”
Attributes of an Arahant, At Buddhistteachings.org
This definition is in the past tense. I haven’t been able to find a present-tense equivalent. I haven’t learned the difference between an arahant and a bodhisattva. The bodhisattva lives for the benefit of everyone else and sticks around for the enlightenment of all. That much I know.
With that said, if you are living for the ultimate benefit of others, wouldn’t a bodhisattva simply be doing “what had to be done”?
I love the idea of simply “doing what has to be done.” It is a drama-free expression of universal responsibility. In the business world, the term for it is “initiative.” My bosses love me because I simply do what needs to be done. When I understand management’s priorities, I can carry them out with no fanfare. I do one thing, then the next, etc. Omigosh, it’s lunchtime. Come back from lunch and continue until I run out of a resource: computer crashes, out of paper, no staples, time is gone, that kind of thing. I get a lot done because I keep busy with something productive. I am old enough to not be addicted to (or even truly care about) facebook.
Another aspect of what I like about “doing what needs to be done” is simply the independence of it. The person looks, sees what is to do, and does it. Period. No checking with authorities first, just taking responsibility. Only control-freak managers want to be consulted first. Most managers are more than happy to have an employee that does things without a direct order first. Most managers long for workers that don’t require constant supervision.
It’s like Nike says, “Just do it.”