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Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Aim of Buddhism

For some years now, students have not been getting to the root of the aim of Zen, instead taking the verbal teachings of Buddhas and Zen masters to be the ultimate rule. That is like ignoring a hundred thousand pure clear oceans and only focusing attention on a single bubble.


James's comment: Being a backpacker I think of the example of packing ones backpack full of the needed things. However, instead of setting out and using them along the way one just sits at the trailhead with a packful of what is needed to survive in the wilderness. Then one pulls out the needed tools (backpackering stove, water purifying pump, etc) holds them in one's hands, cherishes them and puts them back into the pack expecting those tools to somehow transport them along the path. Then one wonders why (and becomes frustrated) that no progress is being made. If one does this long enough then the tools are not being used properly, begin to rust and turn to ashes becoming worthless.

We can pack out spiritual backpack with all the teachings needed to survive and thrive on the path. Nevertheless, if we do not actually set out on the path then we are simply spinning our wheels. We are chasing the wind, wasting our time and letting the precious tools that are given to us from our teachers to rot.

-Peace to all beings-

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theycallmemac said...

I agree, James. Sometimes I feel like I spend so much time preparing for something or thinking about doing something and in the end taking forever doing it or not doing it at all. I think doing that something is more important than the preparation even though it usually takes a bit of courage and energy and a little motivation but once you get going the momentum is in your favor.

tatiana said...

This was me a year ago when I first decided I needed to leave my job & pursue something different in the legal realm. Once I finally decided to stop spinning my wheels, I felt better... albeit very frustrated w/ the whole job hunt. It is a full time job in & of itself. Funny, now that I have stopped spinning my wheels, I cannot help but wonder: was it better to talk about doing this & spinning my wheels into frustration or to actually navigate through the frustration of trying to achieve that means to my end: a new job.

Ahhhh, the things that make you go Hmmmm.............

tinythinker said...

Reminds me of something that was said at a Ch'an ordination ceremony that I attended:

(closely paraphrasing)

"The precepts are like a tool kit we can use to cut through the overgrowth in the jungle of delusion. People sometimes speak of 'breaking the precepts', but they cannot *be* broken. We may falter and drop them or cast them aside, but we can always pick them up again."


"James" said...


Yeah, and it reminds me of the saying, "bend but do not break."

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