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Thread: Meditation/advice for a big life decision

  1. #1

    Meditation/advice for a big life decision

    Friends,

    I don't post much yet, but I have found great wisdom and support here, and I'd like to ask the sangha for help.

    I have a major life decision before me. One choice would lead me close to my family, but would be riskier career-wise (and I have a slight question about right livelihood). The other choice is far from home, but a much more stable career path.

    Is there any sort of zen meditation I can do that might help me arrive at the right decision? Is there anyone who might give me some Buddhist advice about all this?

    Thank you everyone for your support.
    Duane

  2. #2
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Hi Duane,

    There is unfortunately ( or fortunately) not a single special meditation or practice to help you taking an important decision. Zen is USELESS. IT IS A WASTE OF TIME ( from the end-gaining agenda and viewpoint).
    What is more important to you, Money, safety or family? cash or love? Follow your bliss and leave Zen out of the equation.
    Something like that. Maybe neither nor is also to be considered.

    Whatever decision you take,it is yours and it is the good one, even if it appears to be the bad one after a while.

    Take care and chill out

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 12-18-2012 at 04:59 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  3. #3
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Taigu is right. Ain't no such thing. Maybe sitting in zazen may still your mind enough so as to make it easier for you to arrive at a clearheaded decision - but still you can only arrive at that point when you get off the cushion and make a decision. In other words, you can only decide by deciding - not by doing some "special thing".

    If you haven't done so, I suggest listing down the pros and cons of each option. It will help you weigh things clearly. But even this is ultimately no help - you will still need to decide for yourself.

    Gassho,

    Rafael

  4. #4
    You can consider and think about things but at some point you must put it all down and just sit. Correct action just appears. Then you have to sit even more because every time something negative happens related to that action you are going to question yourself. Just this is enough, where reality appears, a place of 100% confidence and ease in the middle of uncertainty and not knowing anything.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Rich,

    In the dokusan room, you are a winner.

    In real life, forget about it...


    And once more, why do you answer the question and not the question behind the question?


    Gassho


    T.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    And On top of all this you are feeding spiritual materialism.

    Zen practice is not an answer!!!

    It is a question!


    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 12-18-2012 at 12:35 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  7. #7
    Duane,

    For me, the question answers itself. Family is more important then material or financial gain. Family will always be there for you, but that car or nice pair of shoes will not.

    Hope this helps.

    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.

  8. #8
    Thank you everyone.

    Michael, I totally agree with you, and in this case, I'd be bringing my wife and son back to Alaska where my parents live (and I have a nice house). Problem is I'd be working on a particularly violent video game about school kids shooting each other. Not sure I want to be a part of that, no matter how much money it makes.

    I've got a great offer from Intel, but we would have to stay in Arizona. Stability, insurance, etc, but distant family.

    It's a toughie.

  9. #9
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Why should we bother answer this???

    a suffering man trapped in what?

    Give me a rest.


    T.


    PS: ...
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    I feel with you Duane. I moved around a lot, and every time was a huge decision, of course involving loved ones as well.
    I wasted a lot of one sesshin over the question whether to move to Canada. There was no answer. There was, however, an overwhelming feeling of compassion for my husband and wanting to support him whatever it would take. So we went and started from scratch. It was hard. Four years later the city we left was destroyed by an earthquake. Does that tell me it was the right decision? No.
    Are you looking for the universe to nod and say "you chose well"? Forget about it.

    So, it will all be in your heart and your core values. Michael said "family". I say "right livelihood" and "sunshine". How does that help? I bet it doesn't.
    I remember my Dad said, when I was agonizing for an hour on the phone, "look at where you want [your career? your life?] to go; and then take a leap".
    Good luck, and take care.

    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Hi Duane,

    There is unfortunately ( or fortunately) not a single special meditation or practice to help you taking an important decision. Zen is USELESS. IT IS A WASTE OF TIME ( from the end-gaining agenda and viewpoint).
    What is more important to you, Money, safety or family? cash or love? Follow your bliss and leave Zen out of the equation.
    Something like that. Maybe neither nor is also to be considered.

    Whatever decision you take,it is yours and it is the good one, even if it appears to be the bad one after a while.

    Take care and chill out

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Thank you for this reminder... I catch myself trying to glean something from my practice.


    I agree with Nindo.. It's actually something I did about 7 years ago moving to Florida. Sometimes you just gotta do something, but you have to take the chance. Unfortunately I've never found a magic bullet.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  12. #12
    Hi Duane,

    Perhaps this is a bit oversimplified, but money can't bring back the time you missed with your family...

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Rich,

    In the dokusan room, you are a winner.

    In real life, forget about it...


    And once more, why do you answer the question and not the question behind the question?


    Gassho


    T.
    You got that right. What is the question behind the question?
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  14. #14
    Thank you everyone. Your words have helped me overcome the deep stress I felt at making such a big decision like this which would have a huge effect on not only myself but my wife and baby.

    Taigu, your words did help me realize for a moment the emptiness of my own suffering about this issue, but I don't know how not to worry when my actions will affect the lives of others. Any advice on reconciling compassion with concern when it comes to other people?

    In any case, I did make a decision, and you guys were a part of it. Thank you so much everyone for your support.

  15. #15
    At your deathbed, what will you think?

    The answer.

    Gassho,

    JC
    Last edited by Jishin; 12-24-2012 at 02:55 AM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  16. #16
    Senior Member pinoybuddhist's Avatar
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    Well try not to worry too much BUT when worried understand that that's worried buddha right there... not separate from not worried buddha. It's like when thoughts come in zazen and you let them come and go. Same w/ big decisions. You think it through and worry, but at some point...

    Gassho,
    Rafael

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by John C. View Post
    At your deathbed, what will you think?

    The answer.

    Gassho,

    JC
    Holy Shit, my whole life was nothing but my deathbed.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  18. #18
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    In every decision there is a 50/50 chance of being right!

    gassho
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  19. #19
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I have come to this crossroad many times before.

    And whenever I struggle to desperately find an answer, the worst decisions I took.

    Just sit and drop everything.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  20. #20
    At my deathbed I would think:

    What a waste. Spending all that time with family. Could have made more money. Been more important. Been a CEO. 3 houses. Etc.

    Or not.

    Gassho, JC ;-).
    Last edited by Jishin; 12-24-2012 at 04:23 PM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

  21. #21
    Hi
    Chiming in late on this but as said there is nothing to use here to help you. Just have to weigh it out.
    This stuff comes along and its tough but some times tough decisions are made with your input (lose your job/ lose a loved one!)
    Scarry stuff. So baring that the only thing i can share is my useless opinion from where I stand

    Its about balance in this case, (balance is not perfect by the way )
    and what degree fits your needs.

    Note, Needs. Family is my practice and why I go to work. So I have had it put to me by others, do not jump ship its a good job and it would be hard to provide for you family. True!
    That said if it costs me my family... its not a good job. What do we need vs what do we want.

    Sorry I have no solutions for you! It will work itself out I know.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  22. #22
    Oh, gee. What if I get hit by a bus and don't have time to think about it? Wouldn't that be a waste of all that deathbed preparation!

    Anyway, deathbed or no does not matter. Living this moment and between now and the deathbed is what matters.

    It would be lovely if ya could thread the needle ... head to Alaska, be with mom and dad, and find a video game project that does not involve killing people! I am not saying that working on a violent video game is the same as actually killing real people to be with mom and dad (even mafia hit men have parents), but it would be better all ways round if possible.

    My steps to making a decision ... some of it Zen Practice, some just common sense ...

    People sometimes ask me if it is always wise to follow one's heart and intuition, whether Zazen will help one listen to one's heart better, and whether doing so will always lead us to the "right way to go".

    Well, certainly. in sitting quietly ... the storm of thoughts and emotions settled and still ... we may hear our heart better, come to resolution on a choice.

    However, personally, when possible for a 'big decision' (an example of such a time was when my family and I were considering whether to live in Japan or in the US, but it could be any big life decision), I first like to gather as much information and options as possible, ask some expert or experienced folks for opinions, list up the "pros" and "cons" ... then sit with it on the Zafu dropping all thoughts and emotions in Shikantaza ... then think about it some more later in the day ...

    In the end, however, there comes a time when one can start to over-think the situation, think up endless variables and "what if's", and the mind cannot make a choice. At that time, the best course after doing the above is ... stick one's finger in the wind to see which way the wind blows, drop the thinking and further analyzing in a "Shikantaza" way, find a bit of quiet and spaciousness within ... (then maybe rise from the cushion and think about it a little more!) ... but then finally once and for all, throw a finger in the air and make a choice ... follow one's heart and JUMP! (Or, follow one's heart and stay where one is, also an option ).

    And in doing so ... more times than not ... it turns out okay or much better than okay. Not always. :shock:

    So, will following intuition ... and sitting all the Zazen in the world ... always lead you to the "Right Choice"? YES! .... EXCEPT WHEN IT DOES NOT!

    But, that is when Zen Practice also offers a good bit of Wisdom:

    When coming to a crossroads, TAKE IT! Go right or left (unless staying put ). Then, just be there and move on. If one ended up taking a bumpy road instead of the smooth road intended ... just be there and move on. At the next crossroads, which is ever right underfoot ... repeat above process! One may discover that one made the right choice or the wrong, got to one's objective or got lost. You will probably find you end up where never expected. However, it is always the RIGHT CHOICE ... for it is the RIGHT WHERE ONE NOW IS CHOICE. Move on from here.
    Also, this on Right Livelihood, from our Buddha-Basics series ...
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-Working-Right

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-25-2012 at 12:22 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    There are no answers found in Zazen and I suspect you know your answer already. In the words of another Zen practitioner "Everybody knows".
    Gassho, Shawn.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  24. #24
    Thank you everyone. I decided (for the first time in my life) to say no. While at first it was a business issue, the question of right livelihood became a big one for me, and ultimately, I decided I don't want to be associated with that kind of violence. I'll find another way home.

    Interestingly, I feel 100% better now that I've made this decision. Perhaps it was weighing on my subconscious more than I realized.

    Many thanks again everyone, and happy holidays, whatever you're celebrating.
    Last edited by sandworm; 12-25-2012 at 11:41 PM.

  25. #25
    Glad to see you made the right decision right. Or wrong decision right. Or wrong decision wrong. Or right and wrong decisions, at once.

    Gassho, JC :-).
    Last edited by Jishin; 12-25-2012 at 10:32 PM.
    治 Ji (Healing)
    心​ Shin (Heart-Mind)

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