Sunday, 12 June 2011

The Path is Personal and Intimate

It is essential at the beginning of practice to acknowledge that the path is personal and intimate. It is no good to examine it from a distance as if it were someone else’s. You must walk it for yourself. In this spirit, you invest yourself in your practice, confident of your heritage, and train earnestly side by side with your sisters and brothers. It is this engagement that brings peace and realization.

Received as Daily Dharma from on the 12th of June 2011


I think Robert Aitken Roshi makes an important point here: "It is this engagement that brings peace and realization." Not some amazing 'spiritual experience', not meditating for hours on end, not cracking a particular Koan, not receiving a nice pat on the head from the teacher, not taking vows, not becoming a monastic... although of course all these things will bring about their own results.

It is the genuine hard work and engagement with something that has deep personal meaning that brings peace and realization.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Buddhism is not about "being in the present"

Let go of the past.
Let go of the future.
Let go of the present.
With a heart that is free
cross over to that shore
which is beyond suffering.

- Dhammapada Verse 348

People often have an idea that Buddhism is about "Being In The Present" or a variation on this. This verse reminds us that the present only exists in relation to the future and/or the past and cannot be separated from either.

Buddhism is not about "being in the present", it is the path that leads beyond these distinctions, to  that which is beyond suffering.