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Thread: What keeps you going?

  1. #1

    What keeps you going?

    This is meant for introspection rather than advice, just to put a frame around it

    From where do you draw your motivation for ongoing practice? I know as a Mahayana we'll say bodhicitta and as a Vajrayana practitioner we'll say the guru. But I mean aside from that, what keeps you going with your practice and what keeps you interested in Buddhism as a whole? Habit? Devotion? Love? Academic interest? Healthy attachment?

    Please share your thoughts.


    *Deep Bow*


    Seiryu

  2. #2

    Re: What keeps you going?

    For me, it's simply devotion. I'm a Buddhist. This is what I do. I was drawn to the faith by the practice, and I genuinely enjoy the way we express our faith. There are days I don't feel like sitting. But there hasn't ever been a time I wished I hadn't sat after the fact. That, to me, says I'm on the right path for me, and following the right practice.

  3. #3

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Simply wanting to be a positive presence during the short time I have in this world. And a bit of academic interest doesn't hurt :wink:

  4. #4

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Sometimes nothing keeps me going
    Sometimes, car battery dead, at a standstill I keep going
    Sometimes night stars from my bedroom window: their movement: beautiful eloquent 'proof' that 'going' is going on even while snuggled in my comforter.

  5. #5

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    Sometimes nothing keeps me going
    Sometimes, car battery dead, at a standstill I keep going
    Sometimes night stars from my bedroom window: their movement: beautiful eloquent 'proof' that 'going' is going on even while snuggled in my comforter.
    Deep gassho.

    For me, something like this:

    Sometimes nothing, sometimes everything. Sometimes the sound of the train cutting through the morning saying "Are you here or aren't you?" Sometimes a poem, sometimes a passage, sometimes a phrase.

    But always Life.

    Taylor (Myoken)

  6. #6

    Re: What keeps you going?

    The four noble truths... every day I experience their truth, which drives my practice. There are also academic reasons; I really enjoy the reading aspect of practice. This Sangha is a big support for my practice as well; it helps keep me sane. I'm the only zen buddhist I know in my personal day to day life, so to have a group of fellow practitioners is very rewarding. Being a part of the sangha, and taking the precepts also keeps me going. To actually be born sentient, and to have experienced the dharma (which I forgot who said this) is a very, very fortunate thing. It's a gift, and being part of this sangha helps me to not forsake that gift.

    Also just experience in general... and sort of letting the teachings soak in, even if they don't make sense at first. I mean there came a point where it started making sense, and now I want to see it through. There is no end, so gotta keep going.

    Finally, compassion. I guess that sort of wraps it all up.. true compassion.. getting out of my own way, non-doing. I have a big ego (which is painfully apparent to me, especially in light of the four noble truths and other buddhist teachings). I feel the heat of anger or the ice cold fear of failure. And my gut reaction is to fix myself. But the self can't fix the self... and on and on it goes It's like a perpetual discovery of life.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  7. #7
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quite simply the fact that it Buddhism is life. It's not something special or separate. Not something I must obtain or lose. It doesn't rely upon my action nor my non-action. It may mean something completely different for others, but this is what it is, at this moment, to me, and why I continue my practice.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  8. #8

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Sometimes nothing keeps me going
    Sometimes, car battery dead, at a standstill I keep going
    Sometimes night stars from my bedroom window: their movement: beautiful eloquent 'proof' that 'going' is going on even while snuggled in my comforter.


    you are an amazing poet, Keishin. Thank you. With your permission, I'd like to save this one.

  9. #9

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Gripped by fear men go to sacred mountains...

    With a past chocked full of what one would describe as dysfunctional and painful (and perhaps unbelievable), and a mind that tends toward dreams of the future, fears of the past and wishes of changes and an assortment of delusions in between including strong dualities.. the practice is one of necessity. Having a family with a tendency for suicide (5 people within one degree of relation in 8 years), it becomes a necessity.. being grounded, mindful.. and having a mind that runs wild, like a doped-up thoroughbred, I get easily lost in my mind, thoughts and concepts of what should be, could've been and will be.. and in so doing become miserable.. So again I need being grounded, mindful and to see clearly.. whether that is a 'right' motivation or a 'wrong' motivation.. it is a motivation. I love the idea of bodhicitta and I would love and do love to help others but when I look deep down, many times.. my kindness and my desire to help is often borne of self-interest and preservation of a desire to be seen as 'good' or to feel that I am 'good'.. so if we are to cut through dishonesty or deception, it is fear and self-interest that are motivations and the motivation to get beyond being motivated by fear and self-interest. Perhaps, with a true heart of altruism, I will be able to say otherwise one day.. and that too is my motivation.

    _/_ Nate

    We believe our thoughts and don't look to the thinker.. he's looking at the thinker

  10. #10

    Re: What keeps you going?

    What keeps me going is life. Life and coffee. But seriously, for the longest I felt life was missing something important, and when I began to study and practice, I found that it was only my understanding that was incomplete. That kind of closed the circle for me. I cannot imagine how I could be anything other than completely devoted to this Path, because this Path is reality, Truth, Life Itself.

  11. #11

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by natezenmaster
    so if we are to cut through dishonesty or deception, it is fear and self-interest that are motivations and the motivation to get beyond being motivated by fear and self-interest. Perhaps, with a true heart of altruism, I will be able to say otherwise one day.. and that too is my motivation.
    Beautifully said... I think there is definitely some element of that in my own practice that maybe I don't want to admit. I've noticed your comments and thoughts are always very forthright, pragmatic, and ego-challenging; that's a perspective I really appreciate as a contrast to so much idealism and ego-stroking that I often encounter on Buddhist forums. So...thanks

  12. #12

    Re: What keeps you going?

    What keeps me going?...because I have no reason to stop, and making someone laugh or smile along the way. that's the short, and in my mind most honest answer.

    practicing is in all things, and really I don't think you can " not" practice once you become aware of what practicing IS, so therefore...

    my family, my strive for never ending learning in anything that I can find, my love of drinking in everything about who, and what we are as a culture, society, and more over a species, what drives us, what defines us, etc etc... these are all what fills up much of the above said things that make up my drive, because these are the facets of my day to day life, and in there is my practice ^_^

    okay and alittle bit of family influence and Jedi fan-boyism too that played a part in sparking it

  13. #13

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Hunger- food satisfies one, practice the other but as jundo says one not two. I don't know something like that. Its some kind of wonderful- sometimes and when not - trying is the best you can do.

  14. #14

    Re: What keeps you going?

    I just do! :wink:

  15. #15

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Air in lungs, blood in veins. Practice is just life. Better some days, worse others, but never good or bad. What motivation do you need to open your eyes in the morning? It's the same.

    If an extra kick in the pants is needed, to remind or re-invigorate... I think of the confused, self-absorbed, miserable, angry person I once was. Or more importantly, what effect that confused, self-absorbed, miserable, angry person had on everyone around him, from loved ones to complete strangers.

    Then I remember that person is long gone, a distant memory from the past. Then I remember that person is right here, typing these words.

    Then, back to it.

    *gassho*

  16. #16
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Thank you Seiryu for getting the ball rolling on this subject.
    Everyone has such great personal answers.
    For me I vibe most with Risho and Shawn. Zen is life, and one of the best ways of living it is through understanding of Four Noble truths and following the Eightfold Path.
    I'm also drawn to Soto Zen over other sects because of it's emphasis on Shinkantaza. When I sit and thoughts pop up, I acknowledge them but then think "let it go". Over and over hundreds If not thousands of times. How that helps me when I'm not on the Zafu is like this.... When I get angry I acknowledge that I am angry and then think "let it go"
    When I think I'm not good enough(or the best) or have thoughts or emotions of fear I acknowledge them and then tell myself "let it go"
    On and on etc.
    Keeping up a practic is a must. As with anything if you don't constantly maintain it goes away, gets harder, etc.

    Gassho,
    John

  17. #17

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Wow, it was great to hear so many responses!
    Here is mine:

    I think what keeps me going is: returning back to the everyday. I think a lot of people think that Buddhist practice is something special that will take you away to some other perfect existence. But instead Buddhist practice is returning to everyday life, which is where life actually happens. It is making the ordinary divine and the divine ordinary. (Which is special)

    What keeps me going is learning how to see the world exactly as it is and being able to smile back at it.


    *Endless Bow*

    Seiryu

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Hm, what keeps my practice going? I don't know, if I ignore it for a couple days, I miss it. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the books and magazines and talks and sittings so I let it go for a while. But I really enjoy coming back!

  19. #19

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Hello friends,

    The practice is, in my experience, self-sustaining. One practices because one practices. I don't know any better way to explain my motivation.

    Metta,

    Saijun

  20. #20

    Re: What keeps you going?

    One thing that keeps me going...is that it (whatever that it may be...the Dharma...meditation....vowing .....) works. Works in that each day, each moment it works for me. :wink:

  21. #21

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Sraddha (Sanskrit); saddha (Pali). Often translated as "faith" but more like "confidence" than, say, "belief". Maybe "trust" is another translation.
    It is one of the five (spiritual) faculties, often described as a blind giant who carries and is led by the other four; energy (or effort), mindfulness, concentration and wisdom.
    It's like confidence or trust in the efficacy of the teachings and practice. I don't get them right all that often, but I am confident they (at least) do and feel strongly that "practice" is the key.
    Gassho,
    Engyo

  22. #22
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    What choice do I have but to keep going? It's so much better than standing still and going backward, which are impossible anyway, yet people do try, and they suffer because of it. Then again, if the present moment is all there is, then am I really going anywhere at all?

    Seriously, life is better on the Path than off it, so I stay on it.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    What choice do I have but to keep going? It's so much better than standing still and going backward, which are impossible anyway, yet people do try, and they suffer because of it. Then again, if the present moment is all there is, then am I really going anywhere at all?

    Seriously, life is better on the Path than off it, so I stay on it.
    ......That sounds about right.
    Gassho.

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    What keeps me going is realizing what a lazy ass I am and the promise I made to simply do this no matter what! Just do it...in the sunshine, in the rain, in the snow and cold, in the summer's heat, with a cold, with a stroke, headache, itch or tickle. I know I can be a lazy ass, but I also know I am better than that...and the struggle goes on.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  25. #25
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Faith that keeps getting stronger the less important it is for me to identify as 'Buddhist' ... curiosity (as in: wow, I never knew this about myself, I wonder what I'll see next) ... still wanting to get IT, albeit knowing there is nothing to get ...

  26. #26
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    What keeps me going is the progress I've made so far.

  27. #27
    disastermouse
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu
    This is meant for introspection rather than advice, just to put a frame around it

    From where do you draw your motivation for ongoing practice? I know as a Mahayana we'll say bodhicitta and as a Vajrayana practitioner we'll say the guru. But I mean aside from that, what keeps you going with your practice and what keeps you interested in Buddhism as a whole? Habit? Devotion? Love? Academic interest? Healthy attachment?

    Please share your thoughts.


    *Deep Bow*


    Seiryu
    I have no love of Zen, the habit of it seems to be more recently avoiding it, and the academic interest aspect of Zen wears thin pretty quickly. This isn't me being difficult or 'zenny'; this is the actual reality of my experience lately.

    And yet, every painful barb of life has hidden in it message that you are responsible for your own suffering to a staggering extent. If you have seen it even once - well, you can't 'unsee' it.

  28. #28

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Chet
    Your response is like a lightning bolt--revealing to me more than I can consciously absorb.
    You'd think I'd know better than to stand under a tree for shelter--even a Bodhi tree!

    I thank you for this succinct and formidable clarity.

  29. #29
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    And yet, every painful barb of life has hidden in it message that you are responsible for your own suffering to a staggering extent. If you have seen it even once - well, you can't 'unsee' it.
    Aye.

    Gassho,

    Jennifer

  30. #30

    Re: What keeps you going?

    to be honest i dont even know anymore.
    i started out to better myself and find peace. but when i found it i was so attached to it and to the intellectual understanding of it that i couldnt stop talking about it. it became another thing to hold on to. in the end i lost my peace and found nothing but life.
    to tell the truth i hardly notice it anymore, i just sit. and if you asked me how the practice of zen influences my life now days i couldnt tell since it is so intertwined with who i am that i can not see myself living any differently. it is in every little choice and action i do.
    i dont practice, i just live.

    Gassho, Dojin.

  31. #31

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Probably by now you are no longer asking.

    But I keep myself motivated.

    When I am good, I want to be better.

    When I am bad, I want to be better.

    I want to have the most brilliant post on Treeleaf.

    I want a promotion.

    I want people to recognize me in the Mall.

    I want to have the perfect answer for whoever is asking.

    I want to be the most famous man in America.

    I want to be Buddha.

    I want Jundo to turn Treeleaf over to me...ghop aka dumbass...

    I want to put a stop to wrinkless...

    And war...

    I want to be the one everybody comes to with their problems...

    I want...I want...I want...

    I keep myself motivated by listening to my thoughts...

    Jeez dude. I'm an idiot.

    If I didn't sit, and often at that, and let go of every passing thought and moment, I just might rule the world.

    But not myself.

    I keep myself motivated. Because I am no different from you.

    gassho
    dumbass

  32. #32

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Gassho to Ghop

    Though I wouldn't call you a dumbass but hey, either way it is just a word with no real meaning on its own right. :wink:

    And I found your post to be a good example of what happens when we sit...thoughts just come and come....brilliant!

    But I like what you said about wanting wanting and wanting...and wanting to be a Buddha....I think despite the fact that we are already Buddha, wanting to experience that fact first hand is also a great motivator dont ya think?

    *Bowing till my legs fall off*

    Seiryu

  33. #33

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Thanks Seiryu.

    Glad you found something helpful.

    Yet I reiterate...I'm an idiot.

    Your praise keeps me motivated.

    gassho
    Greg

  34. #34

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Your illusory individual self is a very good person Greg. We're all idiots.

    (In Latin the word idiota "ordinary person, layman" preceded the Late Latin meaning "uneducated or ignorant person")

    /Pontus

  35. #35

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    (In Latin the word idiota "ordinary person, layman" preceded the Late Latin meaning "uneducated or ignorant person")
    Thanks Pontus.

    But I was being sarcastic. I have pretty healthy self-image, I think.

    I am an idiot in the sense that we all are idiots because we believe we are a seperate self.

    Hence we punish ourselves and others. :cry:

    Praise keeps me motivated because I know what a clown I am (easy to speak, difficult to act) and it shows me that I need to keep moving toward that place where I am not touched by neither praise nor blame.

    That's all.

    I get embarassed when someone reads something useful in my posts because I know how good it makes my ego feel. I really do want to be famous. We all do. And first. And beautiful. And rich. And...And...And...I'm finding that the more I expose my self in public (NOT LIKE THAT! ops: ) even if it's just on this forum, the more I feel like I'm making progress toward finding the real Greg. To me, that's what Zen is all about. When Greg becomes Greg Zen becomes Zen.

    gassho
    idiota

  36. #36

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Don't worry, sooner or later you'll write something completely moronic. Good practice for your ego!
    As long as you are aware of the effect on your ego, I don't think much harm is done though. No need to atone for writing something useful IMHO! :wink:

    Clearly, in truth, when polishing a tile becomes a mirror, Greg becomes buddha. When Greg becomes buddha, Greg immediately becomes Greg. When Greg becomes Greg, zazen immediately becomes zazen.

    Take care,
    Pontus

  37. #37

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by ghop
    I get embarassed when someone reads something useful in my posts because I know how good it makes my ego feel. I really do want to be famous. We all do. And first. And beautiful. And rich. And...And...And...I'm finding that the more I expose my self in public (NOT LIKE THAT! ops: ) even if it's just on this forum, the more I feel like I'm making progress toward finding the real Greg. To me, that's what Zen is all about. When Greg becomes Greg Zen becomes Zen.

    gassho
    idiota
    When Greg becomes Greg, Greg becomes Zen, Zen becomes Greg, and Greg becomes us all. Chuan' tzu's teaching someone is Chuan' tzu meeting himself.

    This "exposing yourself" (hehe) is perhaps not so much exposing yourself as it is exposing the self to itself. Once that doppleganger of the self is let go, Greg is all that remains, unchained, unhidden, unobscured.

  38. #38
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: What keeps you going?

    Well said Heitetsu!

    Gassho,
    John

  39. #39

    Re: What keeps you going?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnsonCM
    When Greg becomes Greg, Greg becomes Zen, Zen becomes Greg, and Greg becomes us all. Chuan' tzu's teaching someone is Chuan' tzu meeting himself.

    This "exposing yourself" (hehe) is perhaps not so much exposing yourself as it is exposing the self to itself. Once that doppleganger of the self is let go, Greg is all that remains, unchained, unhidden, unobscured.
    Brilliant!

    Thank you for expressing perfectly what I wish I had said. :wink:

    So...This Greg guy is becoming my MU!

    gassho
    MU

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