Thank you Dhamma Wheel for providing a virtual place to discuss the Dhamma.
My question: how can I go about showing my parents' the Dhamma? I love them very much and I don't want to speak ill of them, but as my motivation is to help them discriminate the essential from the inessential, I must give some background about myself and my parents so as to receive more pointed advice.
I am going to community college in California and living with them. I used to lead a depraved life: using drugs, holding ill will towards everyone including myself and my parents, holding nihilistic views, etc. Only recently have I truly realized the extent of my folly and taken refuge in the Triple Gem and the five precepts. Already, with only a month or so of practice, have I begun to see the benefits visible in this very life of practicing the Dhamma.
In terms of wealth, my parents are in the top 1% of Americans. My father was an accountant then a top business executive and my mother worked as an accountant until she had kids. Neither of them work and they live lives of leisure though my father still trades stocks and does other financial things at his office at home. Their minds often attend to money and saving money: coupons, deals, etc., even with paltry amounts of less than a dollar. They love food, going out to many different kinds of restaurants and cooking at home. They are irreligious; my father has himself said that he thinks that death is annihilation
The Buddha said that carrying your mother and father on your back for 100 years wouldn't repay them for what they've done for you. But by giving the gift of the Dhamma, one can repay them. I gave each of them a book last Christmas: In The Buddha's Words
by Bhikku Bodhi. I try to set a good example and attend to a mind of loving-kindness and speak of the Dhamma when the opportunity arises. Perhaps I am being impatient, but soon I will be going off to college and will see my parents less.
What else can I do to repay them for all they have done for my own well-being?
Then the Lord said to the monks: 'Now, monks, I declare to you: all conditioned things are of a nature to decay - strive on untiringly.' These were the Tathagata's last words.
-DN 16, trans. Maurice Walshe
'Whatever should be done, bhikkhus, by a compassionate teacher out of compassion for his disciples, desiring their welfare, that I have done for you. These are the feet of trees, bhikkhus, these are empty huts. Meditate, bhikkhus, do not be negligent, lest you regret it later. This is our instruction to you.'
-SN 43.1, trans. Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi