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Thread: vow of poverty

  1. #1

    vow of poverty

    In reference to this: http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1692

    On the practical side of things, I woke up this morning without the caffeine headache that throbbed in the back of my skull most of yesterday, and truly not snacking between meals at all sucks.

    Had a cookout (vegetarian pizza on the grill) with my dad & brother Sunday, and opened up a bit to my dad about what I'm doing. He had some interesting questions about basic Buddhist stuff. I gave him the url for my blog about a month ago, so if he's read it he knows I gave up the faith he raised me with. (I'm not too worried about it because he's always had one foot in the church and one out anyway)

    Special note about pizza on the grill: make a slightly dense pizza dough; roll it out in an amorphous, organic blob-shape and grill on one side until mostly done, preferably over indirect heat; flip over on pan and decorate cooked side with your favorite herb tomato sauce and pre-grilled veggies (or pepperoni and sausage for all you heathens out there :wink: ) and cheese, and deposit back on the grill till cheese is beautifully browned on the bubble-tops. For added flavor, knead fresh herbs, garlic and onion into the dough before cooking.

    btw, I have not managed to sit 60 minutes yet. 40 on sunday, 30 yesterday. Too much stuff going on, and I fall asleep!

    gassho
    tobiishi

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: vow of poverty

    Thanks for the pizza idea. I think we've grilled just about everything else. Hang in there!

    Ron

  3. #3
    Myoshin
    Guest

    Re: vow of poverty

    That does sound like an amazing slice of pie. I might have to try that sometime.

    Caffeine withdrawal is one of the worst things, I have only had a slight experience, but it was enough for a long time memory of the headache.

    Gassho,
    Kyle

  4. #4

    Re: vow of poverty

    Remember the middle way.

    Gassho

  5. #5

    Re: vow of poverty

    ways to describe my practice and vow of poverty these last few weeks:

    pathetic, disastrous, non-existent, embarassing, defeated, failure.

    I lasted about three days. I snacked, I got really hungry and had one of those delightful angus burgers at McD's, I stopped sitting in shame. I stopped posting. I stopped visiting the sangha daily, then down to once every 5 or 6 days.

    I've managed to stop pouting internally over my failure to remain committed, mostly because I have come to know myself over the past few months by being here with you and zazen-ing.

    I'm not asking for or expecting sympathy, condolences or anything like that. I'm the one who needs to say I'm sorry for not doing what I said I would, for putting on a pair of shoes that didn't fit.

    I'm going to start sitting again and pretend I'm just back from the shitter or something... whaddaya lookin at? ops:

  6. #6

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    ways to describe my practice and vow of poverty these last few weeks:

    pathetic, disastrous, non-existent, embarassing, defeated, failure.

    I lasted about three days. I snacked, I got really hungry and had one of those delightful angus burgers at McD's, I stopped sitting in shame. I stopped posting. I stopped visiting the sangha daily, then down to once every 5 or 6 days.

    I've managed to stop pouting internally over my failure to remain committed, mostly because I have come to know myself over the past few months by being here with you and zazen-ing.

    I'm not asking for or expecting sympathy, condolences or anything like that. I'm the one who needs to say I'm sorry for not doing what I said I would, for putting on a pair of shoes that didn't fit.

    I'm going to start sitting again and pretend I'm just back from the shitter or something... whaddaya lookin at? ops:
    It sounds like excellent practice. The "Stumbling & Falling Down" Koan.

  7. #7

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by padre
    Since I've taken up the martial arts, I ran across a saying: "A black belt is a white belt who kept trying." (or something vaguely like that)
    Hi.

    This would be a good place to quote another master...

    "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
    But what's the belt for really?
    Well, for one, it's to keep your clothes in order...

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  8. #8
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: vow of poverty

    Years ago in Seattle I had friends in a so-so band called Reckless Pedestrian. They gave me a t-shirt for their "stumble and fall down" tour. Dude, your on tour :!: :!: :!:

    Seriously, though, better to start and not finish than never start at all. But you can still finish, or start again, or whatever. Better to aim high on the Path than not aim at all and be a reckless pedestrian. It is ALL the Path, even the stumble and fall down parts.

    The Path is not black and white but rather shades of gray, so give yourself some room. The Path is wider than you may be giving it credit for.

    I admire your effort. The results are delusion anyway.

  9. #9

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by padre
    Since I've taken up the martial arts, I ran across a saying: "A black belt is a white belt who kept trying." (or something vaguely like that)
    When my son was about 5 or 6 he was really into the Ninja Turtles and wanted to try martial arts (Tae Kwan Do) . I took him to the local dojo and signed him up. after awhile the instructor convinced me to try it and I eventually became a brown belt. I practiced for about 3 years but to this day I still begin each day with the basic stretching exercises I learned over 20 years ago. Also, I still keep trying.

  10. #10
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    ways to describe my practice and vow of poverty these last few weeks:

    pathetic, disastrous, non-existent, embarassing, defeated, failure.

    I lasted about three days. I snacked, I got really hungry and had one of those delightful angus burgers at McD's, I stopped sitting in shame. I stopped posting. I stopped visiting the sangha daily, then down to once every 5 or 6 days.

    I've managed to stop pouting internally over my failure to remain committed, mostly because I have come to know myself over the past few months by being here with you and zazen-ing.

    I'm not asking for or expecting sympathy, condolences or anything like that. I'm the one who needs to say I'm sorry for not doing what I said I would, for putting on a pair of shoes that didn't fit.

    I'm going to start sitting again and pretend I'm just back from the shitter or something... whaddaya lookin at? ops:
    It sounds like excellent practice. The "Stumbling & Falling Down" Koan.
    Is there any other koan? Can't all koans be condensed into this?

    Chet

  11. #11

    Re: vow of poverty

    Hi,

    Every day is a new opportunity to Practice.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  12. #12

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    ways to describe my practice and vow of poverty these last few weeks:

    pathetic, disastrous, non-existent, embarassing, defeated, failure.

    I lasted about three days. I snacked, I got really hungry and had one of those delightful angus burgers at McD's, I stopped sitting in shame. I stopped posting. I stopped visiting the sangha daily, then down to once every 5 or 6 days.

    I've managed to stop pouting internally over my failure to remain committed, mostly because I have come to know myself over the past few months by being here with you and zazen-ing.

    I'm not asking for or expecting sympathy, condolences or anything like that. I'm the one who needs to say I'm sorry for not doing what I said I would, for putting on a pair of shoes that didn't fit.

    I'm going to start sitting again and pretend I'm just back from the shitter or something... whaddaya lookin at? ops:

    Um, maybe your body needs more protein and calories than you decided it should need? Just as in the saying "mother nature bats last", your body bats last.....


    gassho,
    rowan

  13. #13

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."

  14. #14

    Re: vow of poverty

    Tobiishi,

    Sh*t happens. Take it slow. No one's perfect all the time. That's why we hear all these stories or Koans about people's practice. The best we can do is to keep practicing.

    One might look at Zen practice this way when they start:

    A story. Zen is a big Everest that I must conquer. How do I conquer it? Diligence and steadfastness. So we throw our self into it not knowing what we got our self into. Yes and no. If we haven't become accustom to being here and now with balance and what not, Zen can become quite devastating (I have blacked out a few times). It is about studying the self (ego and no ego experience). How can ego drop ego or see through ego? It's impossible. Some times we must start slowly.

    "To study the way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self and be enlightened by myriad things.

    As practice progresses you will be more aware of what kind of habits you have and how suffering (or these habits)comes about. You will wake up more. Doesn't mean we necessarily stop everything. But you need to put time in on the Zafu and experience many things (study the self). The reason this "studying the self is good" is because we might try to take an experience we had and turn it into another story. So if we continue to sit we can see that these experiences change (are not solid), and then we can just sit and wake up/open up past them. Not using them as a justification, or "This is Enlightenment" idea.

    Your attitude is a good one: "I tried it, didn't stick, no big deal. I' ll keep practicing."

    Feeling guilty or self loathing doesn't help. New day, new practice,new moment.

    Gassho

    W

  15. #15

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by will

    Your attitude is a good one: "I tried it, didn't stick, no big deal. I' ll keep practicing."

    Feeling guilty or self loathing doesn't help. New day, new practice,new moment.

    Gassho

    W
    This is one reason that I often describe our practice as just riding a bike ... not in the competitive 'Tour de France' way, but as a ride just to ride on a Sunday afternoon. The way to attain the balance of riding a bicycle is --not-- by tightening up and struggling to stay balanced ... it is by being easy, neither strained nor too relaxed, not "trying", allowing the natural balance to manifest. It is something even a child can do, but which even a scientist cannot fully capture in words. To me, it is like riding a bike on a warm Sunday afternoon.You just pick up your legs and peddle, peddle ... No thought is necessary as to what keeps you balanced and perched upon the seat (in fact, thinking about it while riding is a good way to tumble off), no thought is necessary as to whether ground & bike & rider are one thing or many, whether the scenery is interior or exterior. Just ride ride.

    Our Zen Practice is not about never losing our balance (some folks think that Buddhism is about that, about never reacting in a "human" and "negative" way, but I do not think so). It is about being able to return to our balanced, center point more easily after life knocks us for a loop. It is about getting back on the bike after we fall off.

    The Buddha was not about extreme denial nor extreme indulgence ... Our way is a way of moderation ... balance.

    Especially for householders, the Buddha preached a moderate lifestyle (more restrictive for monks, of course ... but even then, not unreasonably restrictive given the way peasants ... even nobles ... lived in centuries past. Being a monk was not a perpetually uncomfortable lifestyle.) Now, we all try to do something sometimes to see if we can master body and mind ... a vow of silence, quiting smoking, going on a diet (my current middle-aged battle). When I quit smoking 20 years ago ... it was only after 500 attempts ("quitting smoking is easy, I've done it many times" as the old joke goes). So, denying yourself for a time ... living simply for a time ... is excellent practice.

    But go easy on yourself if your stunt on your bike was a bit more than you could handle. Get back on.

    Gassho, J


    Ps- If you want to read more on this theme, we can switch from bikes to canoes. The following is based on a true story (real alligator in the Everglades in Florida ... and I did crash our canoe into it). Sometimes, we all take a spill!!

    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... r-zen.html

  16. #16

    Re: vow of poverty

    Thanks all for the comments. I knew before I started this that it was more strict than I would likely be able to do, but felt also that if I couldn't get my habits and desires under control, I wasn't really making progress. I've been following Chet's thread in that noisy room down the hall, which has helped me see the fault in the 'progress' line of thought. I appreciate having so many people here, with diversity enough in our histories and lives to be able to immediately put things in perspective.

    There are things I know in some parts of my brain that just don't readily filter to other parts, where they would be helpful.

    Patience.

    gassho
    tobiishi

  17. #17

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Our Zen Practice is not about never losing our balance (some folks think that Buddhism is about that, about never reacting in a "human" and "negative" way, but I do not think so). It is about being able to return to our balanced, center point more easily after life knocks us for a loop. It is about getting back on the bike after we fall off.
    I think the getting back on the bike after we fall off is the keep trying part. Yesterday I fell off once and was knocked off once. Getting back on the bike and keeping some sort of balance helped me deal with these situations.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tobiishi
    Thanks all for the comments. I knew before I started this that it was more strict than I would likely be able to do, but felt also that if I couldn't get my habits and desires under control, I wasn't really making progress.
    tobiishi
    The old habits don't die, they just fade away. (borrowed from MacArthur) I still see the same habits and desires in me but don't worry about them or spend as much time in them. don't worry about this stuff, just maintaining your posture while sitting is progress. Remember when it changed from trying to control the balance of the bike to just riding the bike in perfect balance without control.

  18. #18

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Our Zen Practice is not about never losing our balance (some folks think that Buddhism is about that, about never reacting in a "human" and "negative" way, but I do not think so). It is about being able to return to our balanced, center point more easily after life knocks us for a loop. It is about getting back on the bike after we fall off.
    I think the getting back on the bike after we fall off is the keep trying part.
    Hi.

    Quite right.
    But what are keeping to try, the falling off or the "being on the bike"?

    And to quote one of my favourite masters

    "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  19. #19

    Re: vow of poverty

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    Our Zen Practice is not about never losing our balance (some folks think that Buddhism is about that, about never reacting in a "human" and "negative" way, but I do not think so). It is about being able to return to our balanced, center point more easily after life knocks us for a loop. It is about getting back on the bike after we fall off.
    I think the getting back on the bike after we fall off is the keep trying part.
    Hi.

    Quite right.
    But what are keeping to try, the falling off or the "being on the bike"?

    And to quote one of my favourite masters

    "No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    That's interesting. So don't keep anything and just do or do not. Who was that favorite master?

  20. #20

    Re: vow of poverty

    Oh, I know this one!

    Yoda!

    May the Force be with you, one and all!

    gassho,
    tobiishi

  21. #21

    Re: vow of poverty

    Hi.

    The Force is strong with this one.
    -Darth Vader





    May the force be with you
    Fugen

  22. #22
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: vow of poverty

    Don't be discouraged! Like everyone else, I have to chime in with the whole " don't be hard on yourself" part.

    It's kinda like me and smoking, tried for years to quit. Failed every time. Was so down on myself and feeling like a failure I would not pick myself back up because I didn't want to have to be a failure again.

    My wife has crumbled. She is smoking again. As of today I hit two months( 8 weeks WOOHOO)..I want a cig baddddddddd.

    In the past two weeks since I had to reduce the number of nicotine lozenges I question whether I will be able to keep going for much longer. And yet I keep going day by day... no cigs. Not even singular puffs. I know cigs are hiding in the house, and yet I am not drawn to search for them even remotely.

    Pick yourself up, give it another go. Accept it's going to be hard...but WILL get easier.

    Dave

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