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Thread: How do you make decisions?

  1. #1

    How do you make decisions?

    This link may be of interest in the study of the preson we tend to think makes decisions

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1214...html?mod=blogs

  2. #2

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Quote Originally Posted by HezB

    Master Dogen and Nishijima Roshi were/are quite big on 'intuitive right action', the idea that we eventually harmonize with universal 'rightness' through our practice (we become somebody 'who cannot break the precepts' as Nishijam Roshi puts it).
    Hi,

    I don't think that anyone is saying that Zazen Practice will always let one know "the right decision" (e.g., which number to choose on the roulette wheel of life). I think that if you ask Nishijima Roshi's family members, students or the other folks that know and love him, they will tell you that he is not always "right" (even when he thinks he is). Same for anyone, long time Zen Practitioner or not.

    But what Buddhist teachings and Zazen Practice will allow to happen is a new way to look at "right" and "wrong", and also a new way to open to ourselves in making choices.

    So, for example, when practicing Zazen together with the Precepts, we tend to be gentler, more generous, patient, tolerant and forgiving (yes, the "6 Paramita Virtues" I am discussing on the netcast). We will also more easily seek to choose the way that avoids harm, and that is giving, harmless or helpful to ourselves and others (not two). Yes, I think our personality can change in that way. There will be less resistance to life, more a feeling of harmony and going with "the flow" (the 'Tao' perhaps).

    But that does not mean that the effects of our actions will always be as we anticipate, or that the available data will be complete, or that we won't make dumb decisions or screw things up royally and make a mess of it all.

    However, that is when our Zazen Practice allows us to know that, at the crossroads of life, the road we choose is just the road we choose, beyond "right" or "wrong". For that reason, being just our life, it is always "Right". If you seek to choose the straight and smooth road, but you accidently choose the winding, dead-end and bumpy road ... then just "bump bump bump!". That is life.

    So, yes, in that way, our choices are always "Right"!

    Gassho, Jundo (don't doubt what I say, for I am never wrong) 8)

  3. #3

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Yes i totally agree with Jundo.
    there is no right or wrong... only the idea of right or wrong.

    whenever someone asks me what do i think is right and what he should do...
    i always tell them to do what feels right. and what they actually want to do... if they tell me that they do no know what they want or should do. i always remind them it is their life and they know better than anyone about it, they usually agree and admit it to themselves that they wish to do something more than the other.

    but if you think of it, the right action one chooses is usually right for him, and even if it is wrong than it is wrong for him... one mans hell is another mans paradise.

    i guess dropping all judgment of right and wrong good or bad. and anything else in zazen really transcends the sitting and accompanies you to all areas of life.

    Gassho, Daniel ( making the "right" choice by keeping it short )

  4. #4
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen
    there is no right or wrong... only the idea of right or wrong.
    Of course there's right and wrong, it's just we don't see it, because very few of our decisions are that crucial. Should I drive of that cliff, or make a left. There's certainly a right or wrong there. Should I put my hand into that animal's mouth? But since we came out of the caves, we don't often have decisions to make.

    (Actually, if you watch yourself some day, you'd probably be surprised how many "right" decisions you make that keep you alive...)

    Kirk

  5. #5

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by Zen
    there is no right or wrong... only the idea of right or wrong.
    Of course there's right and wrong, it's just we don't see it, because very few of our decisions are that crucial. Should I drive of that cliff, or make a left. There's certainly a right or wrong there. Should I put my hand into that animal's mouth? But since we came out of the caves, we don't often have decisions to make.

    (Actually, if you watch yourself some day, you'd probably be surprised how many "right" decisions you make that keep you alive...)

    Kirk
    Hi.
    I do believe if you say one thing is right then the other is wrong.
    But that is only if you look in a small perspective, for example what may be right for you (eating a whole cheese because you like cheese) might be wrong for another (who is allergic to cheese).
    To quote another old zenguy, you think to small!
    There is no "universal right or wrong" there just is.

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  6. #6
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Again I disagree. It's very zen to say there's no right or wrong, but, seriously, look at everything you do during a given day, look at how many decisions, if made incorrectly, could cost you your life. Crossing a street? Driving a car? Choosing fruit or food that may look like it's past its date?

    There's right, there's wrong, and there's maybe. We make many more right/wrong decisions in a day, it's just we don't reflect on them because the right way (crossing the street on a green light) is so obvious.

    Kirk

  7. #7

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    When we do what we do, whether look both ways when we cross the street, or don't drive off a cliff, they are actions that are done, but they are just done. No right, no wrong only present action. If we were to stand around thinking about right and wrong, then it would take a long time to cross the street.

    So which part of us labels what's right and what's wrong?

    Gassho Will

  8. #8
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Sigh... You're telling me you don't look and decide whether you should cross or not?

    Kirk

  9. #9

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Of course I do, but do I say to myself it's wrong or right? Ha.

    I live here in China, and crossing the street is quite the affair in some places. If you hesitate and think about it, you could very well get hit by a car. Or, you could be waiting for a quite a while until there are no cars, which is ok if you got no where particular to get to

    Gassho

  10. #10

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Let me put it this way Kirk. There is the one side that likes to label what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes this particular side of us forces those rights and wrongs on others. Then there is the other side of us which realizes that things are inherently empty. Being so, there is no right and wrong. Although this is the case, right and wrong or "pure conduct" naturally arises. So, we save the drowning child in the lake. Actually, we don't need to save the drowning child in the lake because that is inherently empty; however, it is a sad practice or person that ignores such a thing.

    So pure conduct or right and wrong go hand in hand with emptiness. Without gratitude and doing good, I feel this practice isn't really worth anything and we might as well just not practice.

    Practice can come from many angles. The way I see it, there is a reason why we call it Zen "Buddhism". The Buddha didn't only teach emptiness.

    So in this society, although we know there are no rules or right and wrong, we follow the rules and try to do good

    Gassho Will

  11. #11

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zen
    Yes i totally agree with Jundo.
    there is no right or wrong... only the idea of right or wrong.
    Hi,

    I have read the above debate among Will, Kirk and Daniel, and I want to say that you are all "right" and all "wrong" :wink:

    Okay, I think we do have "rights" and "wrongs" in Zen Practice, and in life in general (not really two things, by the way ... life and Zen Practice).

    It is true that we drop all thought of "Right" and "Wrong". This is true on Channel One.

    But, on Channel Two, we must do what Kirk said ... choose the road less likely to lead off a cliff.

    Remember, please, "Jundo's Law", that we are always functioning on these multi-layered, seemingly conflicting perspectives in our Zen Practice, in total harmony ... so "drop all right and wrong" and "there are rights and wrongs", no problem!

    So, what is "wrong" in Zen Practice? Well, the Precepts set out many gray areas, but there are clearly areas that are "wrong" according to the precepts because they clearly cause harm. For example, driving your car intentionally to hit somebody ... pretty clearly wrong. Becoming a prisoner of greed, anger and ignorance ... clear wrong.

    Also, there is a "right" way and a "wrong" way to do Shikantaza. I wrote about this the other day:

    Allowing things to just be the way they are, no judging, not resisting, being with the flow, allowing 'happy' days to be happy and 'sad' days to be sad, all while dropping all idea of 'happy' and 'sad', whether really enjoying or really not enjoying ... fully dropping away any and all thought of doing Zazen 'right' or doing it 'wrong' ... THIS IS DOING IT RIGHT. And when you are doing it right, it will usually feel like you are doing it right, for there is no resistance, and a great sense of balance.

    Fighting things, wishing things were some other way that how they are, judging, resisting, going against the grain and the flow, wishing 'sad' days were happy or 'happy' days were happier ... filled with a sense of self bumping up against all the other 'selfs', with a mind held by thoughts of doing Zazen 'right' or doing it 'wrong' ... THIS IS DOING ZAZEN WRONG. And when you are doing it wrong, it will usually feel like you are doing it wrong, for there is resistance, and a sense of imbalance.

    But as well, even at those times when Zazen feels 'wrong', when there is resistance or imbalance ... it is still 'right', still 'Zazen', still just what it is. It cannot be wrong.

    Yes, that is a Koan. Is it clear? Please really really penetrate in your body and mind what I just wrote.
    So, don't get too caught up in the idea that "there is no 'right' or 'wrong'. Also, do not get too caught up in the idea "there is 'right' and 'wrong'"

    Gassho, Jundo

  12. #12

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    i didnt mean literally there is no right and no wrong....
    i only say that they are perspectives.
    of course there is right things and wrong things.... but at the same time it is not right or wrong things.... it is just things.

    like killing an endangered tiger... very wrong.... but killing that tiger to save the life of some one the tiger is trying to eat is right.

    all things are right or wrong only in their time and place. so if nothing is always right or wrong.... there is not really a right or wrong. but they still exist at a certain point of time.
    and then they are not right or wrong after that.

  13. #13

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    There was no intentional debating in my post. Rather practice viewed from many angles (including those mentioned by others)

    Gassho Will

  14. #14

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Remember, please, "Jundo's Law", that we are always functioning on these multi-layered, seemingly conflicting perspectives in our Zen Practice, in total harmony ... so "drop all right and wrong" and "there are rights and wrongs", no problem!
    That is one of the most awesome aspects of our practice: the dismantling of our fundamentalist persona. I can remember a little concern I used to have: "If I begin to see things like these zen dudes, that may not be a really good thing, because in the real world consistency and a strong position is better appreciated by others". Just how dumb is that? Unless you're running for president, sticking firmly to this or that point of view usually doesn't help. Magnanimous mind is the strong, unwavering position most suited for a life full of inconsistency and paradoxical situations.

  15. #15

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    but killing that tiger to save the life of some one the tiger is trying to eat is right.

    I don't know about that one. Hmmm... maybe we should just let the tiger eat us

    And the baby tigers

    Gassho

  16. #16

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    George Carlin (not exact words): Animals go extinct that's what happens. When we try to prevent it we mess with nature.
    --------------

    We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these ______ people kidding me? Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the _______planet?
    ---------------------

    Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years.

    That being said, I don't think we should be running around killing any animals or polluting myself

    G,W

  17. #17

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    but killing that tiger to save the life of some one the tiger is trying to eat is right.

    I don't know about that one. Hmmm... maybe we should just let the tiger eat us

    And the baby tigers

    Gassho
    A variation of this story appears from time to time in traditional Buddhism, usually said to have happened in a previous incarnation of the Buddha during which he sacrificed himself ... bringing about his next incarnation, of course.

    Khenpo Karthar, in Dharma Paths (Snow Lion, 1992/2006):

    It was not possible to hear the teaching of the Buddha without having a past karmic connection with him. Accordingly, when the Buddha gave the teaching on the four noble truths, in the assembly receiving the teachings were five human beings and 80,000 beings of the god realm. If we go back to the previous lives of the Buddha, we can explain the karmic connections these beings had with him. In one of his previous lives, the Buddha was born as the youngest of three princes. When he was only five years old, the three princes were in a forest playing together at hide-and-seek and other games. As they were walking in the forest, they came to a cave where they saw a wounded female tiger with five cubs. The mother tiger was very weak and was unable to provide food for the baby tigers. The Buddha's older brothers went to search for some food, and they asked the young prince to stay near the cave to take care of the mother tiger and the five cubs.

    While the Buddha was taking care of the wounded tiger and her five cubs, he began to think that it was not proper to kill other beings and give their flesh to the tiger. He found some large thorns and pressed them into neck, and as the blood came out, he let the cubs and their mother suck the blood. In fact, he gave his whole body to the five cubs and their mother as an act of generosity. As he did this, the Buddha prayed, "Right now I am only able to give temporary help to these starving beings, just removing their hunger. May these tigers who are enjoying my flesh, blood, and bones be reborn to a higher realm, and may I be able to teach them and lead them out of cyclic existence."

    As a result of this karmic connection, the five cubs were reborn in the human realm where they attended that first teaching of the Buddha in the form of his first and only human students. They attained the level of arhat. (The others were 80,000 inhabitants of the god realm and they became first-level bodhisattvas.)
    Also, I stumbled on this interesting film ...

    Deep in the heart of the Kanchanaburi province in Western Thailand there lies a Buddhist temple with a difference. For not only is this temple home to monks who spend their time in prayer and meditation, over the last 7 years it has become a sanctuary for tigers.
    http://www.revver.com/video/495352/budd ... -thailand/

    GRRRRRRRRR Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    had no idea the tiger analogy will be so popular :shock:

    maybe i should use it more often... :wink:

  19. #19

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Hello Folks!


    Just a very quick comment regarding the Thai-Tigers. Funnily enough I read a rather well researched article in a German weekly magazine (kinda the German equivalent of Newsweek) only yesterday that quoted a three year study that had been undertaken by a group of animal-activists or the like. Bottom line is that the monks at this now very famous Thai temple are constantly abusing the tigers in many different ways in order to attract more and more tourists....if only half of what the study claims turns out to be true, then our fellow buddhist brothers in that temple are not really doing the Dharma a great favour.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  20. #20

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Actually Hans. The money accumulated is being used to build a Tiger Sanctuary, and training facility to release them back into the wild. The facility costs about 600,000-800,000 dollars.

    This is their website:

    http://www.tigertemple.org/Eng/

    And another website from two people who worked there for a week:

    http://www.tigertemple.co.uk/story.htm
    Research on the internet showed that the temple not only takes in orphaned cubs found by villagers or rescued from poachers at border control, it has now become a conservation project with a breeding programme. Several cubs have been born at the temple and there are plans for future generations to be returned to the wild - although donations are needed to fund this project.

    However, the research also revealed allegations that the tigers are drugged, have teeth and claws removed, are vegetarian and spend all of their time in cages that are too small. (Before you continue reading, you should know that all of these allegations proved to be completely unfounded and are obviously uninformed. Teeth and claws not removed and firmly in evidence, not vegetarian, caged some of the time in large spotless cages and absolutely NOT drugged.)

    Not one for believing everything she reads, Karen decided to find out for herself. She emailed the temple to see if she and husband Alan could stay there for a week as volunteers. The answer was yes it really was that easy!

    And so begins the story of one amazing week.
    They mentioned their might be pressure of the staff because the temple has many tourists.

    Gassho Will

  21. #21

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Hi Will!

    I just reread the article online and found a link to the animal welfare charity that makes these claims.
    Here's the link:

    http://www.careforthewild.org/news.asp? ... atest+News

    btw, I did write that I don't know for sure whether the scenario above applies....I only stated that the magazine that published the allegations is certainly not the national enquirer .... "if" these claims should turn out to be true however, than maybe the temple's motivation for "taking care" of those tigers is not necessarily 100% selfless (or they use rather unskillful means to reach their goals). For all I know there could be more than one tiger-temple.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  22. #22

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    btw, I did write that I don't know for sure whether the scenario above applies....I only stated that the magazine that published the allegations is certainly not the national enquirer
    Sure, sure, of course

    If you check the website you can see the progress of Tiger Island sanctuary, and what not.

    I'll take a look at that link.

    Gassho Will

  23. #23

    Re: How do you make decisions?

    Lot's of videos on Youtube I checked the other day if interested. Type Tiger Temple.

    Can't post the link (using a proxy server)

    There's also: http://www.openworldthailand.com

    With 2008 updates
    Zen and the Art of making friends with...Tigers

    After I've completed the tiger-touching circuit, I sit on a stone bench with the temple's vet and spokesperson, Dr. Somchai Visasmongkolchai, watching the action.

    Sitting slightly apart, at a seat by the canyon wall is the Abbot, who, despite ill health, still oversees these daily afternoon encounters.

    With his shaved head, ochre-coloured robe and spectacles, he looks more like a scholar than a tiger tamer.

    But his unique attitude towards tiger rearing (he believes the tigers are reincarnated monks or family members returning home) has worked thus far the tigers have never attacked.

    It seems unbelievable. So unbelievable that there are rampant rumours that the tigers are drugged an accusation that Visasmongkolchai hotly denies.

    "The only pills they take are calcium tablets from the King's Agricultural Project. The tigers like them because they are sweet."

    He bids one of the staff to fetch an unopened package and hands it to me.

    "Here try one."

    "Oh, er, thanks."

    While I don't normally take pills from strangers, I figure the King wouldn't lead me astray, so I pop one in my mouth, feeling only slightly disappointed when I don't get high.

    A snarl draws my attention. One of the tigers is acting up, growling and pacing on his chain. The Abbot strolls over and points a shame-on-you finger. The tiger slinks away and lies down.

    The Abbot may be a modern-day Dr. Doolittle, but does that mean it's 100 per cent safe?

    "Of course not," says Visasmongkolchai. "Animals are unpredictable, and that means danger. But the staff can read the tigers' moods. What is important is to follow the regulations."

    Such as don't wear bright colours or make loud noises.

    Visitors to the temple must sign a waiver, yet they're still willing to pay a $10 entrance fee to experience this ultimate primal connection.

    But what about the tigers? Is this an ideal life?

    "It's not perfect," Visasmongkolchai says.

    "But what is the alternative? The money for the animals' food has to come from somewhere. When the tigers first came here, they ate vegetable soup."

    Ideally, of course, the tigers would be free in the wild, but until Kanchanaburi Province, sharing a long border with Burma (Myanmar), is rid of poachers, this won't happen.

    According to the World Wildlife Fund there are as few as 5,000-7,000 wild tigers left worldwide. With pelts going for more than $6,000 and tiger parts prized ingredients in traditional Asian medicine (a penis alone can fetch $800), the population is dwindling.

    At the temple, improvements are in the works.

    While the existing resident tigers are too tame to be released into the wild, there are plans to create a Tiger Island on the monastery grounds, a five-hectare moated area where they will be able to roam more freely.

    The Abbot's ultimate dream is to eventually release the tigers into a wildlife preserve, which well may happen given the government's recent agreement to provide 1,344 hectares of land surrounding the monastery.

    Gassho

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