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Thread: Effect of Zen on Personal Ethics

  1. #1

    Effect of Zen on Personal Ethics

    Howdy all,

    A question that comes to mind is how zen has affected others' personal ethics in the world. I recall sitting many years ago and having the sudden sense of all the suffering going on in the world. Of course I was sitting on a beautiful summer afternoon, in complete comfort, and listening to the happy sounds of life in the 'burbs at the time - lawnmowers, kids playing outdoors, etc. Still, the sudden sense of a world in agony came sharply into mind despite the tranquility of all going on around me. And I was suddenly a crying wreck. Wow. Zen also led to my becoming vegetarian and eventually vegan. I don't suspect my experience is in any way unique, and I suspect it came as a result of the meditation itself and not as a result of attempting to follow any specific ethical ideals.

    It would be interesting to learn of how zen has specifically changed others actions in the world. I suspect there's an interesting connection between meditative awareness on the cushion and actions in the world.

    Gassho,
    T.

  2. #2
    I certainly feel like I see the world more clearly than I once did and that that clarity helps me make wiser decisions about most everything. I will admit that there have been times where the extreme interconnectedness of everything can seem overwhelming; when that happens, it is nice to have the precepts and other "guidelines" to assist me on the days where little seems clear.

    Eika


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    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

  3. #3
    Interesting question.

    Since I've begun sitting, the single most major thing is that I can (more frequently than previously) catch impulses motivated by greed, or anger, or a sense of separation, and observe themas I work through them. This is not to say that I've got it down, but it's something that I've noticed. As a result, I'm angry less frequently, and when it does happen the intensity of the experience is dramatically lessened. I'd say that this closely echos the clarity that Eika talks about.

    There are those times, too, when all of the pain and suffering in the world leaps up and makes itself known dramatically--I think that this is the budding seed of compassion. The important thing to remember is to be compassionate with yourself when that happens. It can be powerful and transformative, or it can bring you to your knees and cripple you--both have happened to me at various points with varying intensities. The main thing for me is to dive right into the middle with as much awareness as I can.

    In Gassho,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Over the past year Zazen has revealed many filters I've viewed life through and has stripped many of them away, different filters from moment to moment. It's made every day a bit more visceral, but lived.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  5. #5
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I relate to what you posted, Chris.
    迎 Geika

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    For the most part I'd say I have the same ethics that I did before starting practice, but those ethics are likely part of the reason I took up practice! The process has definitely challenged my thoughts on eating meat somewhat and I have a goal to reduce it when I can. The middle way: not too tight, not too loose. And I was pretty tight!

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Ordained Priest -In-Training & Shuso (Head Seat) for November - Ango 2014
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Please take what I say with a grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma!

  7. #7
    The ethics have not changed that much. The reason for living ethically has changed. It used to be out of worry for being judged, and wanting to be loved. Now it is different. More "just do" and independent.


    Gassho. kojip.
    大山

  8. #8
    I too can say that my ethics have not changed, but the one thing that has is, I have more compassion and patience for the folks who do the things that go against my morals/ethics. Zen has taught me that sometimes things are ok just the way they are, even when they are not ... that acceptance is the right path at that moment.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by ecoist View Post
    I too can say that my ethics have not changed, but the one thing that has is, I have more compassion and patience for the folks who do the things that go against my morals/ethics. Zen has taught me that sometimes things are ok just the way they are, even when they are not ... that acceptance is the right path at that moment.

    Gassho
    Michael
    That's true for me too, but when it is time to drop "nice".. it's dropped. Mostly pleasant is good... mostly.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

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