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Thread: Serenity Prayer and Zen

  1. #1

    Serenity Prayer and Zen

    Hello Folks!

    The other day I was thinking about the very common misconception, that ultimately Buddhism turns people into passive vegetables, who don't really want to participate in the real world anymore, because everything is perfect as it is etc.. I personally do believe that a world crowded with people who have learned to be a bit more content with the state of things as they are would be a "better" world, but since we all have to return to "the marketplace" at some point, it would seem wrong to ignore opportunities to alleviate suffering. The challenge I guess is to know when to act and when not to act. This challenge finds a beautiful expression in the Serenity Prayer (written by the German-American theologian Reinold Niebuhr)....to me, just subtract the theist Christian stuff, it sounds very zen indeed:


    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.

    --- and here an expansion of unknown origin

    Living one day at a time;
    Enjoying one moment at a time;
    Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
    Taking, as He did, this sinful world
    as it is, not as I would have it;
    Trusting that He will make all things right
    if I surrender to His Will;
    That I may be reasonably happy in this life
    and supremely happy with Him
    Forever in the next.
    Amen.


    Gassho,

    Hans

  2. #2
    Hi Hans,

    Thank you ...

    God grant me the serenity
    to accept the things I cannot change;
    courage to change the things I can;
    and wisdom to know the difference.


    Yes, it is one of my favorite aphorisms of all time and place.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    It's not Zen, but I like this bit from Shantideva's Bodhicaryavatara:

    Why worry about something if you can change it?
    And what is the point of worrying about something if you cannot change it?

  4. #4
    um...

    Hakuna Matata
    :twisted:

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