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Jundo
03-15-2015, 03:58 PM
Hi,

I am going to leave last week's chapter open, because it is still quite lively. However, I will move on to this week's portion too ...

I am reminded of the 3 Little Pigs for some reason, and the house of straw ... :)

http://luskd.carpentersquare.com/images/3_pigs_600.jpg

We had a lovely discussion this week on how homey one might feel living in the woods, the city or the suburbs ... Home truly is where the heart is, and one can live in a grass hut as a hermit or in a mansion in Beverly Hills and not be at peace and at home.

http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?13278-The-Houses-We-Live-In

I would say the main theme of this week's section is living simply, and simplifying. Here are a few questions that folks may want to take up:

- How much in your life do you really "need" and how much is just a luxury? Do we have an unfortunate tendency these days to describe unnecessary items as "needs", e.g., a fellow who says "I would just die without my Ipod and smartphone"?

- I happen to have listened to a group of talks and films this week by experts on "happiness". They all had a common message pointing out that our priorities are all wrong. Once one has a certain income to allow shelter, food and a safe environment, money really does not lead to increased happiness over the long term (thus all the unhappy millionaires). A simple life, surrounded by friends and loved ones who care, and engaging in some activities which have personal meaning and are helping the world ... all that is much more the road to "happiness" than money in the bank ... So why do we have our priorities all mixed up??

Gassho, J

Josan
03-15-2015, 05:21 PM
Some years ago, I walked the Camino de Santiago with just a backpack containing very little in it. The first day or so I was still wrapped up in my work mind and was in a panic until I found an ATM machine gassho2 I soon came to realise that I needed very little for that journey and indeed realized that I needed very little for the bigger journey in this "bag of skin". Ten years later I still try to keep things simple but it does seem as if our consumerist/materialist society wants the opposite, and would like us to keep striving for more and more.

Gassho,
David

sattoday

Shinzan
03-15-2015, 06:47 PM
Thanks, David. Speaking of the Camino, I'm leaving May 1 to hike that trail for 6 weeks. My love of long distance hiking is much about that simplicity, dropping off all but the essential of material goods, dropping off identity and past, and hitting the road to give and receive among strangers. To depend on the kindness of strangers. And to relinquish each passing moment. Pilgrimage has many qualities similar to hermitage: simplicity, directness, alterity, interdependence. The grass hut is something I carry in my heart, a sense of shelter within presence in a single moment. Encountering beauty and kindness in unexpected ways. Hotei with his satchel, staff, and gourd.
_/st\_ Shinzan

Jishin
03-15-2015, 10:48 PM
Hi,

There is sadness in joy when needs are met.
There is joy in sadness when needs are met.
There is sadness in joy when needs are not met.
There is joy in sadness when needs are not met.
There are needs in a life of luxury and luxuries in a life of needs.
Whats a need? Whats a luxury?
There is joy in joy and sadness in sadness and needs in needs and luxuries in luxuries.
What does a monk need in order to be a king? A hut or a palace?
What does a king need in order to be a king? A hut or a palace?

If you open your mouth you are a dead on the spot. How do you answer?

:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Myosha
03-16-2015, 01:11 AM
Hi,


What does a monk need in order to be a king? A hut or a palace?
What does a king need in order to be a king? A hut or a palace?

If you open your mouth you are a dead on the spot. How do you answer?

:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_


* frames crotch and smiles *


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Jishin
03-16-2015, 02:41 AM
* frames crotch and smiles *


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Ears can see and eyes can hear.

Bang bang. Dead on the spot.

:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Tb
03-16-2015, 05:00 PM
Hi.

First, if you recall, me and Jannica went on the caminotrail and stayed at the monastery at sobrado last year, and i ca really recommend it.

Second, walking is a very good practice as it lets you realize how much you really carry around and how much you actually need...




- How much in your life do you really "need" and how much is just a luxury? Do we have an unfortunate tendency these days to describe unnecessary items as "needs", e.g., a fellow who says "I would just die without my Ipod and smartphone"?



Yes. I have in my life so far moved 17 times, and just like walking you realize how much you are carrying.
The last couple of times i have limited myself, and Filur, to 4 boxes of stuff, clothes etc each, and i myself had space to spare the last time.
We create the need of things, the cravings of things.
And the appearence of the iphone, internat, facebook asf haven't made it any easier.
There are more traps to fall into today, and they are different than they were before.
But that doesnt mean we can't practice, rather the contrary, the more traps the more opportunity for practice, as all of life is our temple and its all good practice.




- I happen to have listened to a group of talks and films this week by experts on "happiness". They all had a common message pointing out that our priorities are all wrong. Once one has a certain income to allow shelter, food and a safe environment, money really does not lead to increased happiness over the long term (thus all the unhappy millionaires). A simple life, surrounded by friends and loved ones who care, and engaging in some activities which have personal meaning and are helping the world ... all that is much more the road to "happiness" than money in the bank ... So why do we have our priorities all mixed up??


Because, like the dead fish, we follow the stream rather than swim our own concious way.

Thank you for your practice.

Mtfbwy
Fugen

#Sat2day

Daiyo
03-16-2015, 05:24 PM
- How much in your life do you really "need" and how much is just a luxury? Do we have an unfortunate tendency these days to describe unnecessary items as "needs", e.g., a fellow who says "I would just die without my Ipod and smartphone"?


Honestly I could not say it right now. But zen practice has made me reconsider this many times. I have tons of unused papers, magazines, old CDs and DVDs. A lot of unused clothes and some old electrical appliances I do not want to litter. I don't seem to be capable of letting go, and am very lazy to start cleaning up, even when I live in a very small 3-room apartment.
I don't know where to start from and how to do it. I've started to cut down on a lot of things like brand clothes, and after some months of zen practice I no longer feel the need for that. But on the other hand, that creates a separation between me and others who do, like if secretly I felt I am better than them. It's dangerous, I know.

Regarding not-so-needed needs I would say that I feel a strong attachment to being somehow connected to the internet. Computer, smartphone, you name it.


- I happen to have listened to a group of talks and films this week by experts on "happiness". They all had a common message pointing out that our priorities are all wrong. Once one has a certain income to allow shelter, food and a safe environment, money really does not lead to increased happiness over the long term (thus all the unhappy millionaires). A simple life, surrounded by friends and loved ones who care, and engaging in some activities which have personal meaning and are helping the world ... all that is much more the road to "happiness" than money in the bank ... So why do we have our priorities all mixed up??


I agree with Fugen about this. We have the tendency to follow the stream, and have been profusely bombed all of our life with advertising and the like creating needs where they doesn't exist. That's what many aspects of marketing are about. Don't you think?


Gassho, Daiyo

#SatToday

Tb
03-16-2015, 05:57 PM
Hi.

I was reminded of this old article of mine today, maybe it can be helpful.


"throw away one thing every month"
Hi.

They are happy indeed who own nothing at all; Those with highest knowledge own nothing at all. See how people who own things are afflicted, Bound to others by their obligations.

- Udana 2.6

Some People have an interesting view of things.

They almost "accuse me" of not being interested in them, in that i have a saying "throw away one thing every month".
And funnily enough i met an old friend, who, the first thing she commented on was me saying this to her a long time ago.
Well, i did say that, but she completely missed the point, instead of liberating herself from things, she clinged even more to hem, even my saying so.

In my perspective, things are just as they are.
Nothing more, nothing less. Just as they are.

From my perspective i am not interested in them and in the same time i am.
They are there and i am conscious of them, but nothing more.
I do not cling to them and go hunting for more.
Sure, i use my computer to write this down, but what would i be with my computer?

Just as i am.

People of this day and age are more and more conscious of things.
Whether it is in the collecting or the abstinence of things, they are more conscious of them.
But my view is somewhat different, instead of clinging to them, just see them as they are.
Now, you might think that i, in view of my saying "throw away one thing every month", is also clinging to things.
And in a matter i am, but only so that you can experience for yourself, the thing about not clinging to things. So i say "throw away one thing every month", but what does it mean?

Mtfbwy

Fugen

http://fugenblog.blogspot.se/2009/09/throw-away-one-thing-every-month.html

Mtfbwy
Fugen

#sat2day

orangedice
03-17-2015, 01:50 AM
- How much in your life do you really "need" and how much is just a luxury? Do we have an unfortunate tendency these days to describe unnecessary items as "needs", e.g., a fellow who says "I would just die without my Ipod and smartphone"?

This is something I struggle with almost daily. I mentioned before on the forums... I think... that I've been interested in living a more minimalist lifestyle, but then I look at my 3 bookshelves and say to myself, "oh no, I could never get rid of these!" I know, logically, that yes, they are just material things, but I'm attached to them emotionally and mentally. Many of them got me through rough times. But out of all of the bookshelves, I would probably grab 3 books if I had to live on a deserted island. Okay, maybe 5. Wellll if I could, I'd take a few more... SEE MY ATTACHMENT??

As long as I have shelter, food, and water, that's really all I need. (And the money to pay for it.) But even those 3 necessary things can be stripped down. I live in a house with 3 roommates, but I could move to a smaller place with less amenities, but do I want to give up my side yard with my small but growing food garden? Do I want to give up the music room where we practice?

And I need a computer and Internet connection for my freelancing business... though I guess I don't even really need that, if I wanted to use the library, maybe, or choose another field.



- I happen to have listened to a group of talks and films this week by experts on "happiness". They all had a common message pointing out that our priorities are all wrong. Once one has a certain income to allow shelter, food and a safe environment, money really does not lead to increased happiness over the long term (thus all the unhappy millionaires). A simple life, surrounded by friends and loved ones who care, and engaging in some activities which have personal meaning and are helping the world ... all that is much more the road to "happiness" than money in the bank ... So why do we have our priorities all mixed up??

Right now, I don't even have the luxury of not worrying about money. My freelance writing career still doesn't make quite enough to support myself, which is why I have a part-time job as well. And right now, the worry makes me stressed and I'm not that happy.

But if I could be comfortable, live within my means... I'd love that. I'd love to not be stressed about if I could afford groceries, not be stressed about making my boyfriend/roommate pay for my food, help me with credit card payments, etc.

I wish I knew where to find this article. There was a survey that asked people who were dying or close to dying what their #1 regret was. It was working too much. And ever since I read that, it niggled at my mind, enough so that I finally quit my comfortable full-time job to become a freelancer. If I'm going to have to work hard, may as well work hard at something I like.

--

I feel a bit all over the place with this section. Mixed up, even. So I hope at least some part of what I wrote made sense. Time for another zazen session, maybe?

Gassho,

June
#SatToday

Myosha
03-17-2015, 03:37 AM
Hello,

After moving to NYC always followed Dan Lauria (the dad from 'Wonder Years') dictum: live in one suitcase; that way you are everywhere.

Happiness is a pursuit (was it the Declaration of Independence?) Anyways, choosing to live in an "interesting" Manhattan neighborhood in the late 70's we were aware of the 'situation' (or paid).

Hired as Stage Manager for an Off-Broadway play written and produced by Dan Lauria that was due to open in the fall and waiting on the steps of the theatre Dan showed up with bleeding knuckles.

Edward: "What happened?"

Dan: "My roommate (who worked as a bartender on Amtrak) and I were buying pasta and sauce at the bodega on Broadway and 92nd; walking back to the Windemere (hotel the gang lived in) when these "porch-dicks" sitting in front of their SRO (single room occupancy apartment) made fun of (name withheld) and made her cry. I gave her the groceries and wine and said we'd meet at the apartment.

Returning to the SRO I asked the individuals (note: Dan talks like that; being a Marine Corps captain) to turn down their "boom-box" to talk. They said, "Why don't you go f¿€k your ugly sister?" So I grabbed the boom- box (for the kids: a boom -box is a self contained battery operated stereo system which weighed approximately fifteen pounds) and beat the loud-mouth until the boom-box was in pieces. Guess I scraped my hands. But, Edward, defending the reputation of my friend . . .

made me Happy."

Life as it is.


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Kyotai
03-17-2015, 03:42 AM
Most things in my life that I use (the car, phone, running watch) are not things I require to be alive and managing. I think many people, myself included to a slightly lesser extent, get accustomed to the luxuries in life, and before long those things have become a starting point to happiness. We wouldn't dare simplify things, but getting a few new gadgets or trinkets would certainly make us so much happier, although in reality more stressed and cash strapped.

I don't know why we all have our priorities mixed up. I'm still trying to figure out why my own priorities are still mixed up at times.

Gassho, Kyotai
Sat today

bcaruthers
03-17-2015, 03:59 AM
Back in February, I went on a canoe trip in the Everglades with a group called Outward Bound. Everything that we needed for 5 days was in our canoes. They taught us how to leave no trace behind while camping. It taught me a lot about how much we impact the environment. We took everything back out with us (including our poop). It was also very freeing to be away from all the electronic devices that we feel we must have to survive in this modern world. I think what I enjoyed the most was just being present in the here and now and looking up at the stars at night. I think that we have mixed up our needs with our wants. Many people think that the things we want are needed to live or to provide happiness. I admit that I am one of these people. I know that the only things I need to survive are food, water, shelter, and clothing, but I also feel that I need other material things to live as well.

Gassho,

Bryan
#SatToday

Jishin
03-17-2015, 11:19 AM
Hi,

I think that some Zen folks are full of shit when attaching to the idea that simplifying life via reducing material possessions is the way to go. Take a doctor as an example.

A prospective medical school student arrives medical school with $100 in his pocket and student loans from his bachelors degree anywhere from $20,000 to $40,000 (essentially homeless). The bachelors degree is in biology and is completely worthless in the sense that if the prospective medical student stops his/her education at this level, he/she would have a very difficult time obtaining a job using this degree and will be saddled with substantial debt.

If lucky, the prospective medical student is accepted to medical school and the moment he/she sets foot into medical school, bang! Another $30-40K student loan is attached to their tab. Multiply that x 4 years of studies and you get $120K to $160K in student loans.

Upon graduation, the young doctor has to pick a specialty and will be a resident in training for several years where there is no possibly of paying the student loans at this time and interest countinues accumulating on the loans.

Hopefully, somewhere along the way the young doctor starts a family and upon finishing the training gets a job to start his professional career.

Now then, what is NEEDED and what is a LUXURY?

A doctor now NEEDS to live in a nice neighborhood, in a nice hose, drive a nice car, etc. etc.

Why?

You or your loved one has cancer or some other awful illness and you are looking for the best possible care that a doctor can provide. Who are you going to pick? Two doctors are equally competent except one arrives to work in a BMW and the other one arrives to work in a beat up car falling apart? Which one are you going to pick to take care of you or your loved one?

How about this twist: the doctor that arrives to work in a beat up car is a much better doctor than the one that arrives in a BMW but he/she can't get any patients because the items that he NEEDS to display to YOU showing that he is a good doctor he does not have and so this doctor is prevented from doing the most good to society with his trade.

Or this twist: although a doctor has a lot of wealth and would like to simplify his life, he really can't. The wife says that his shit is not really his shit. Its hers too. The kids say its not his shit. If he gives the stuff away, he will rot in a nursing home later on. The government says that if he does not pay his student loans back, they will take his license to practice medicine.

So, when some Zen folks tout the merits of simplifying life and living on water, bread and a hut, I say that's a bunch bull shit. There ain't no living lightly on the land for some. WAKE UP!

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Kokuu
03-17-2015, 12:02 PM
Jishin

I was thinking along similar lines. It is fine for us to say that simplifying makes us happier and more free. Extending that to dictate to other people is something I find to be problematic. Sure, there are finite resources in the world and we should not use more than we need but I know that my lifestyle is ridiculously affluent compared to most other people on the planet, even if it might be marginally less luxurious than other westerners. Seriously, who among us doesn't have a laptop, smartphone, washing machine, electric heating and lighting? Most of us probably also have more dharma books than many medieval monasteries. How many have travelled by plane to go on holiday or to visit relatives?

So, yes, let's live simply if we want but occupying some kind of moral high ground and talking about the priorities of others seems a bit off the mark.

Gassho
Kokuu
#sattoday

Daiyo
03-17-2015, 02:08 PM
Crystal clear, Jishin.

However there is a common mistake in our western views.
You pointed it out when you said


Hi,
You or your loved one has cancer or some other awful illness and you are looking for the best possible care that a doctor can provide. Who are you going to pick? Two doctors are equally competent except one arrives to work in a BMW and the other one arrives to work in a beat up car falling apart? Which one are you going to pick to take care of you or your loved one?

How about this twist: the doctor that arrives to work in a beat up car is a much better doctor than the one that arrives in a BMW but he/she can't get any patients because the items that he NEEDS to display to YOU showing that he is a good doctor he does not have and so this doctor is prevented from doing the most good to society with his trade.


We are so used (or have been trained) to identify success or ability with wealth. And could look down on others because of possesions, aspect, etc.
Sad but true.


Gassho,
Daiyo


#SatToday

Kyotai
03-17-2015, 02:35 PM
If you have a little money, and are so inclined, buy some nice things and enjoy yourself.

If you have a lot of money, and are so inclined, buy some nice things and enjoy yourself.

Or, live in a hut.

It is for everyone individually to decide for themselves how to live wisely. Whatever your personal situation, sit and then go out into this world and make decisions. Sit some more.

Gassho, Kyotai
Sat today :)

Shingen
03-17-2015, 03:08 PM
Hello everyone,

Many years ago I worked for Hewlett Packard/Compaq in the Oil and Gas sector in Alberta in Information & Technology. I never wanted to be there, but knew this was the best way to get experience in this field. I vowed that I would get my time in and then move on doing what I wanted to do. But as we all know how life is, it can have it's own plan. Many years went by and I was still there ... still there as I was now drawn to the money and lifestyle that comes with working this sector. Then one day Hewlett Packard decides it is going to buy Compaq. To follow was of course layoffs ... too many people doing the same thing. For me this created a lot of worry as I had become attached to the very thing I didn't want to become attached to. A few years after the buy out I was laid off - I was devastated and did not know what I was going to do with my life.

A good buddy of mine that I have been rocking climbing with for many years said, "hey, lets do a road trip". So we did ... and for the next three months I lived in the dessert of Bishop California and climbed, lived, and found myself in the simplicity of just being present. Letting go of the attachments that I thought were making me happy and embracing those very moments of joy when the sun was on my face, laughing with my friends, sending a tuff bouldering problem, or just sitting around a fire and sharing life's experiences. =)

It wasn't easy to do that, it took hard work to change the way I thought and how I saw the world with me in it. But once I broke through those attachments in my mind and the world around me, I was much happier and content. To keep that alive I enjoy going for 7-10 day backpacking trips into the wilderness ... nature for me is a wonderful place to restore and support my values to live a simply life. Carrying everything on my back is a liberating feeling, knowing whatever I need is right there, either in my backpack, or within me. Mountains especially are wonderful teachers for me as they keep me humble ... they let me see and experience the world in a whole new light ... they allow me to small and big at the same time. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Kyotai
03-17-2015, 03:26 PM
So, when some Zen folks tout the merits of simplifying life and living on water, bread and a hut, I say that's a bunch bull shit. There ain't no living lightly on the land for some. WAKE UP!


I've never met any zen folks who live this way, or suggest anyone live off bread and water. And I somewhat disagree, the family in the mansion can make "living lightly" decisions just as the family living in the hut can. Both can make decisions that follow the middle way.

My wife and I have budgeted a monthly entertainment fund for going to the movies, dinner etc. This is based on our income and what works for us. Someone who is a doctor, with 10 times my income, may have an entertainment fund that is 10 times mine. Both may be reasonable. Both may be living within ones means.

I am certainly one of those zen folks who think reducing material possessions and simplifying life is the way to go....for me :)

Let the doctor in the mansion and the guy in the hut live life as they do. Neither needs to defend how they live nor look over the fence. Both can make decisions that suit them.

Gassho, Kyotai
sat today

Meishin
03-17-2015, 03:37 PM
Hi Jishin,

I have no idea what kind of car my physician drives, nor where he lives. I do know he is a caring person who gave me his cell phone number when I was very ill. I'd guess he's the guy in the VW. I'll stick with him.

By the way, my kids both have monstrous student debts, and they're simply doing the best they can with the prospects each has. They live lightly out of necessity.

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

Shingen
03-17-2015, 03:41 PM
Let the doctor in the mansion and the guy in the hut live life as they do. Neither needs to defend how they live nor look over the fence. Both can make decisions that suit them.

Nicely said Kyotai!

In most cases we choose to have things because we want them, not because we need them and that is ok. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Byrne
03-17-2015, 05:26 PM
I live in a van. I have few possessions. I burn a lot of diesel fuel.

Gassho

Sat Today

Jishin
03-17-2015, 05:51 PM
Hi Meishin,

Regarding you post:

I have no idea what kind of car my physician drives, nor where he lives.

-- That's the way it should be.

I do know he is a caring person who gave me his cell phone number when I was very ill.

-- Thats the way it is.

I'd guess he's the guy in the VW.

-- You don't know that.

By the way, my kids both have monstrous student debts, and they're simply doing the best they can with the prospects each has. They live lightly out of necessity.

-- They will not live on bread, water and a hut if they plan on paying back their student loans.

So, again I ask, what's a necessity and what's a luxury? If you open your mouth you are dead on the spot. How do you answer?

:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Joyo
03-17-2015, 06:42 PM
Nicely said Kyotai!

In most cases we choose to have things because we want them, not because we need them and that is ok. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

I wanted to quote Kyotai here as well, but I don't know how. Anyways, I think you both had good points. A very wise person once told me, tend to your own garden, but don't let others over the fence uninvited. In other words, live your life, be gentle and mindful and in the moment. That will mean many variations for all the different people in the world, and that is fine :)

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Joyo
03-17-2015, 06:47 PM
Hi,

I think that some Zen folks are full of shit when attaching to the idea that simplifying life via reducing material possessions is the way to go.
Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_


But why? If that is how people want to live than what's wrong with that? Or are you referring to folks who think we should all live in a hut with next to no material possessions?

I like living with very little material possessions. The older I get, the more minimalist I become. Of course, that is really just a mindset because compared to others, living in slums etc, they would look at my house and think I lived in a rich mansion with many things.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jishin
03-17-2015, 07:01 PM
But why? If that is how people want to live than what's wrong with that? Or are you referring to folks who think we should all live in a hut with next to no material possessions?

I like living with very little material possessions. The older I get, the more minimalist I become. Of course, that is really just a mindset because compared to others, living in slums etc, they would look at my house and think I lived in a rich mansion with many things.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Hi Joyo,

I think that living with very little is wonderful. I could be perfectly happy in a camper (or efficiency) with one dog and a computer as I did before. As it turns out, I live with a lot and am perfectly happy with the exception of times that I feel bad because I have more stuff than most. I feel like I have done something wrong.

As Kokuu put it above: "So, yes, let's live simply if we want but occupying some kind of moral high ground and talking about the priorities of others seems a bit off the mark."

I am cool with the monk and his begging bowl living in a hut. I am cool with Donald Trump. Not cool with being judgmental about it. Live and let live. Peace out dawg. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Joyo
03-17-2015, 07:05 PM
Hi Joyo,

I think that living with very little is wonderful. I could be perfectly happy in a camper (or efficiency) with one dog and a computer as I did before. As it turns out, I live with a lot and am perfectly happy with the exception of times that I feel bad because I have more stuff than most. I feel like I have done something wrong.

As Kokuu put it above: "So, yes, let's live simply if we want but occupying some kind of moral high ground and talking about the priorities of others seems a bit off the mark."

I am cool with the monk and his begging bowl living in a hut. I am cool with Donald Trump. Not cool with being judgmental about it. Live and let live. Peace out yo. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Ah yes, I understand where you are coming from. I don't think someone is living simply if they are being judgemental about living simply...if you know what I mean :)

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Rich
03-17-2015, 07:57 PM
Everything is made by mind alone. That's why you can live simply in a hut or in a mansion.

I once lived for over a year out of a small backpack but that's not how I choose to live today.

I have no idea what car or house my doctor has. I've been fortunate that I barely know him.

Sat today

Jishin
03-17-2015, 08:05 PM
I have no idea what car or house my doctor has. I've been fortunate that I barely know him.



:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Anshu Bryson
03-18-2015, 05:33 AM
Not sure if I missed something in the thread (?), but I was somewhat taken aback by Jishin and Kokuu's initial comments; I read back through and couldn't see anyone who was telling anyone else how they should live their lives...(?)

I have to admit to having been a bit of a 'hoarder' until a few years back... Don't know if it was because of a fairly spartan life as a kid, or my equally spartan life in the military, but once I started getting 'things'/'stuff', it was very hard for me to let it go...

Now, when i say hoarder, I don't mean those 'cat-lady' types, with houses full of unwashed dishes and clothes and whatnot, like they depict on reality tv...! [morehappy]

One example though: because my work has seen me move a lot, I had a 20-foot container in storage with all of my 'stuff' that was the bulk of my belongings. 10 years this stuff was in storage. 10 years never touched; never seen. 10 years not discarded!

A couple of years back, I finally decided to get the stuff out of storage, go through it, keep what I thought I 'needed', and discard the rest.........

From a 20-ft container, I kept 3 packing boxes of books and memorabilia (from my military and sporting endeavors). The other 19-feet-and-change worth of things once thought precious, but ultimately useless, went in a landfill and will hopefully provide a solid foundation for someone's home in the future... [morehappy]

As far as money and happiness goes, I was at my most miserable while in my highest-paying job, and am very happy now in a more modestly-paying job. I find what I most 'need' at the moment is 'space'. Sky, ocean, forest. None of that I need to buy or own. I still live in the 'real world', of course; I am nothing if not a pragmatist. Until I am in a position to retire without worrying about health care and other things, I will have to continue to chop someone else's wood and carry someone else's water for wages [morehappy]. But I find myself no longer having a desire to accumulate material things over and above that which I need to function, or any more wealth than I need to live a healthy life in my retirement. I find it quite liberating...

Gassho,
Anshu/Bryson

sat today

Kokuu
03-18-2015, 07:53 AM
Anshu

You may be right and I misread some of the comments. However, there is definitely something that sticks in my craw about (mostly) affluent westerners talking about simplifying when they still live more affluent life than most of the people on the planet, including the poor in our own lands.

Sure, talk about how free you felt when backpacking but remember that when you were doing that you didn't need to wash your clothes or work and were going back to a fully equipped and doubtless heated home. We all need to get away but we have the benefit of a cosy safety net on our return to wash and dry our wet clothes.

Simplifying is great when it is a choice. For some people, living with very little is a way of life through necessity not choice. We get to pick and choose. Others don't.

Gassho
Grumpy Kokuu
#sattoday

Anshu Bryson
03-18-2015, 08:05 AM
Anshu

You may be right and I misread some of the comments. However, there is definitely something that sticks in my craw about (mostly) affluent westerners talking about simplifying when they still live more affluent life than most of the people on the planet, including the poor in our own lands.

Sure, talk about how free you felt when backpacking but remember that when you were doing that you didn't need to wash your clothes or work and were going back to a fully equipped and doubtless heated home. We all need to get away but we have the benefit of a cosy safety net on our return to wash and dry our wet clothes.

Simplifying is great when it is a choice. For some people, living with very little is a way of life through necessity not choice. We get to pick and choose. Others don't.

Gassho
Grumpy Kokuu
#sattoday

Dear "Grumpy Kokuu" [morehappy]


I am hearing you. I suppose that the only thing I can add is that, sure, folks in the West might well be able to go 'minimalist' by choice; but, I wouldn't trash them for making that choice rather than making the choice to go on a track to excessive consumption...

For me personally, yeah, I am lucky enough have that choice. No question. And grateful to have it. I suppose it is what you do with that choice that matters. And the intent. But it is difficult/impossible to know the mind of others...

Shouganai... (loosely, "what are you going to do...?") [morehappy]

But trust me, I live in a 'developing' nation, I've worked in conflict and post-conflict areas. I know the 'no-choice' that many people have. It is by no means lost on me.

Gassho,
Anshu/Bryson

sat today

Kokuu
03-18-2015, 08:11 AM
Anshu

Yes, you are right. If we have the choice it is good to use it wisely. However, I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that what we consider 'minimalist' still puts us among the most affluent in global society.

Gassho
Kokuu
#sattoday

Anshu Bryson
03-18-2015, 08:38 AM
Anshu

Yes, you are right. If we have the choice it is good to use it wisely. However, I don't think we should lose sight of the fact that what we consider 'minimalist' still puts us among the most affluent in global society.

Gassho
Kokuu
#sattoday

Agreed. No question.

Gassho,
Anshu/Bryson

sat today

Jishin
03-18-2015, 10:49 AM
Hi,

There is no need to get defensive if there is no need to get defensive. And this, of course, applies to me too. :)

Gassho, Jishin

#SatToday

Jinyo
03-18-2015, 10:59 AM
I am very happy with my home/surroundings and wouldn't want to live with 'less' - no desire to return to the damp/mould filled home I lived in as a young mother with a baby.
I love where I live because I can share it - my grandchildren come play in the garden and have their own bedroom. My garden is a place of refuge and beauty. My husband has worked very hard - and even in his seventies continues to - to maintain a comfortable home. It is important to us that we can help our children out if needed and we still have my mum to think of. Life brings responsibilities to others and its plain naïve to say money doesn't matter.

But have we as a society got our values turned upside down - most definitely - overt consumerism eats away at the heart of being human.

I wish everyone a decent home and a small plot of land to be in touch with nature - a moderate income to be able to enjoy a little frivolity because fun,invention and creativity can go hand
in hand - and the common sense to know when to stop and realise that enough is enough.

Gassho

Willow

Sat today

Ongen
03-18-2015, 11:22 AM
Hi all,

I live in a simple but still fairly spacey house with my family of 5, my income is - to official dutch standards- slightly below what they call the 'armoede grens' ( the income level below which you're officially poor). To be honest, I have plenty in way of things, abundance in way of love and friendship and precisely enough in way of money.
Of course I can't afford much fancy stuff but with the money I have, spent well, I am still able to take my family on holidays twice a year, do lots of fun things, own a computer and a car and many of those things 'needed' to live in this culture. We cut out what we don't really need, mostly since those things usually are expensive. But also because we notice that every truly unneeded 'thing' that goes away leaves a space that gets filled with joy.
I realise there are limits to this, but with a well kept balance it's wonderful to live with as less as you can.

I relate to Fugens story, I love hiking too and still remember well a trip I made with my wife hiking around the Hardanger Jökulen, a huge glacier in Norway. We had our tent, some food, a stove. We only needed a good place to pitch the tent every night. Enough food. Preferrably not too bad weather. That was all, really. In the end, what do we need after all?

I'd like to quote a paragraph of Jeff Shore's translation of the 'Zazen Manual' (a text about 1000 years old, written by some unknown chinese monk)


Even if you devote your life to it, be wary of falling short. And if you waste your time, how in the world will you overcome your karmic hindrances? Thus an ancient has said that without the concentrated power of dhyana(定力), you will cower at death’s door. With eyes covered, you end your life in vain like a vagabond. Fortunate dharma friends! Please read this manual again and again. For the benefit of oneself as well as others, let us all together fully awaken.

The complete text is legally available for free (https://beingwithoutself.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/zazen-manual.pdf)here (https://beingwithoutself.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/zazen-manual.pdf), for those who are interested. (https://beingwithoutself.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/zazen-manual.pdf)

We don't have to live like vagabonds, unable to find our homes. They are where we are :)

Gassho,


Ongen / Vincent
Sat Today

Matt
03-18-2015, 03:56 PM
Jishin and Kokuu, I sincerely appreciate your efforts to keep our conversation real concerning material possessions. I am not about to go live in a grass hut myself. And being able to choose a minimalist lifestyle is indeed a privilege for those of us who are relatively affluent.

I would say, though, that I'm not sure that owning a BMW is a requirement for most people's job. While I don't think we need judge those who purchase such vehicles, I believe as Buddhists we are called to be mindful in our engagement with the world, and that includes the way we spend our money and the resources we use. The reality of western life is that we are pretty much constantly bombarded with messages to buy more stuff in order to be happier. I believe our Zen practice works against this, continually calling us to return to our true source.

[gassholook]

Matt
#SatToday

KellyRok
03-18-2015, 04:05 PM
Hello all,

There are wonderful perspectives here, thank you for sharing. When I was a kid, my family used to go hiking and camping. I mean really roughing it, tents, or just sleeping under the stars. You ate what you caught in the stream and what you gathered from nearby blackberry bushes. Those are some of my best memories. I can really relate to those that continue to hike, camp and just simply enjoy being in nature.

Willow, this is just beautiful and so true!


I wish everyone a decent home and a small plot of land to be in touch with nature - a moderate income to be able to enjoy a little frivolity because fun,invention and creativity can go hand
in hand - and the common sense to know when to stop and realise that enough is enough.


I believe so much that you can live a simple but abundant life. What is simple for me, may not be for you. Each of us has what we consider priorities and necessities. What is right for one, may not be for another. Live the best way for you and your family and don't judge others.

If you have an abundance of whatever it may be, share it. If you have only a little, share that too.

Gassho,
Kelly/Jinmei

Jishin
03-18-2015, 04:25 PM
Hi,

One of the happiest moments in my life was when I made a donation that kept 8 dogs alive for one month. Sharing is wonderful. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Kyotai
03-18-2015, 04:50 PM
That is a wonderful thing Jishin :)

Gassho, Kyotai
Sat today

Ed
03-18-2015, 05:01 PM
..as I've posted somewhere else here I just lost my house to foreclosure and it has been wonderful. We are released from the money, lawyer, bank hassle.
We moved to a smaller house we rent disposing of a lot of furniture, clothes. I wanted to give away everything...except my t-shirts.
I found that my book collection and t-shirts were my most priced possessions.....our cars are old, we live from paycheck to paycheck and we are the happiest we have been in a long while...calm and at peace.
It ain't the possessions. It's the illusion.
It's the illusion of solidity we give ourself and the stuff we grab, be it a BMW or a small apartment, or a lovely, wild garden; even a grass hut or our practice. That illusion is what we have to let go.
The Middle Way.
It's all about the MW.
And balance.

Gassho.

Ongen
03-18-2015, 06:08 PM
Thank you, Ed :)

Gassho

Ongen / vincent

Sat today


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Jundo
03-18-2015, 06:27 PM
I am going to dig up an old post ... It is about "renunciation", and also about the dependence of Buddhism on rich and powerful lay people, right since the Buddha's Day ... food for non-thought for everyone here ...

-------------------------

A recent issue of Buddhadharma has a round-table on Renunciation. I do recommend the opening essay by our friend, Koun Franz ...


One cold night ten years later, I left my wife behind to enter a monastery deep in the mountains of Japan. I had only my robes, my bowls, and the certainty that this, too, was important. I had not transcended attachment, not by any means—we hugged before I left, and as we did, I thought, I don’t know how to let go. I needed to learn how to let go.

So, said the Buddha, do we all. The topic of this issue’s forum, renunciation, does not lend itself to easy answers. For some, the word evokes basic questions about how much we need versus how much we want, what is ours to give and what holds us back from doing so, and specifically, as Buddhists, the relationship between our investment in practice and what we get in return. For others, an act of renunciation can look like just another attachment, a story people tell themselves about how spiritual they are. To really let go, they say, you also have to let go of letting go.

Renunciation can be submission to a schedule that is not of your own making; it can be the offering of all things to all beings; it can be the act of embracing things just as they are. Renunciation can be a radical intuitive leap beyond all preferences. And it can also be the choice to sleep on the floor even when you really prefer to sleep on a bed.
http://www.thebuddhadharma.com/web-archive/2013/11/12/forum-the-beauty-of-renunciation.html

I think it is hard for some of us to truly practice non-attachment and renunciation while owning so much valuable property. There is one story told in the discussion that really says it for me. It tells of a Tibetan Rinpoche who was staying at the home of one of his wealthy students in California. The student was saying, "I really enjoy having beautiful things around, I like having a house in this beautiful valley ... but I'm not attached to any of it. I enjoy it, but if it weren't here, I wouldn't mind." At that point, the Rinpoche picked up a coffee pot and started to tilt it over a $35,000 Persian carpet. There was no description of how the story ended, but I think the point is clear.

...

It is tricky for us in the West to balance such a life simultaneously with values of non-attachment to "stuff", simplicity, moderation and charity. However, we must find a way.

It is actually not such a new question in Buddhism, if I may point out. As I mentioned above, most of the lay supporters of Buddhism in India, China and Japan were people of means ... and many kings and wealthy folks were the Buddha's sponsors. I think the Buddha was rarely heard to tell a wealthy patron or king to give all his/her wealth away if walking a lay path, although he/she should be generous in charity and donations. Never a monastery or temple has been built since ancient India without the support of rich and powerful people, and the same for Dogen and most of the great Chinese, Japanese and other Buddhist masters everywhere. Dogen built Eiheiji with the financial support of his rich patron Lord Hatano Yoshishige ...

http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=i5FtE9KbRz4C&pg=PA159&lpg=PA159&dq=dogen+Hatano+Yoshishige&source=bl&ots=Kk1PSlqgxA&sig=7_wS0lkyGXBidQ-opygVa1EsxF8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=DXGzU4XZN8WA8gX_roHIBA&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=dogen%20Hatano%20Yoshishige&f=false

...

These questions of balancing wealth, personal security and Buddhist Practice are nothing new.

These questions of how to balance wealth and Buddhist Practice and Renunciation are not just something faced now for the first time. Nonetheless, the temptations we all face these days are particularly great. We must be very careful to find a good way in this modern world of sometime excess.

This may be a good time to repost some of the Buddha's advice to householders on wealth. The Buddha did teach one path for homeleavers ... having nothing much besides a robe on their back and a begging bowl. But he also taught another path for lay folks on whom Buddha & the Band depended to supply the robes, offer land for the monasteries, put food in those bowls.

Buddha's basic point comes down to ... if one has wealth, use it for good purposes ... don't live to excess ... and don't be attached. Zen traditionally values also the simple, intangible treasures of life ... the things which money cannot buy.

Gassho, J

===========

In the Dighajanu Sutta, when the lay man Dighajanu asked the Buddha on how to have “happiness & well-being” in this life, the Buddha offered the following advice;

[The Blessed One said:] "There are these four qualities ... that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in this life. Which four? Being consummate in initiative, being consummate in vigilance, admirable friendship, and maintaining one's livelihood in tune.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in initiative? There is the case where a lay person, by whatever occupation he makes his living — whether by farming or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man or by any other craft — is clever and untiring at it, endowed with discrimination in its techniques, enough to arrange and carry it out. This is called being consummate in initiative.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in vigilance? There is the case when a lay person has righteous wealth — righteously gained, coming from his initiative, his striving, his making an effort, gathered by the strength of his arm, earned by his sweat — he manages to protect it through vigilance [with the thought], 'How shall neither kings nor thieves make off with this property of mine, nor fire burn it, nor water sweep it away, nor hateful heirs make off with it?' This is called being consummate in vigilance.

"And what is meant by admirable friendship? There is the case where a lay person, in whatever town or village he may dwell, spends time with householders or householders' sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are consummate in discernment. This is called admirable friendship.

"And what does it mean to maintain one's livelihood in tune? There is the case where a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.' Just as when a weigher or his apprentice, when holding the scales, knows, 'It has tipped down so much or has tipped up so much,' in the same way, the lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.' If a lay person has a small income but maintains a grand livelihood, it will be rumored of him, 'This clansman devours his wealth like a fruit-tree eater.' If a lay person has a large income but maintains a miserable livelihood, it will be rumored of him, 'This clansman will die of starvation.' But when a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income,' this is called maintaining one's livelihood in tune.

"These are the four drains on one's store of wealth: debauchery in sex; debauchery in drink; debauchery in gambling; and evil friendship, evil companionship, evil camaraderie. Just as if there were a great reservoir with four inlets and four drains, and a man were to close the inlets and open the drains, and the sky were not to pour down proper showers, the depletion of that great reservoir could be expected, not its increase. In the same way, these are the four drains on one's store of wealth: debauchery in sex; debauchery in drink; debauchery in gambling; and evil friendship, evil companionship, evil camaraderie.

...

"There are these four qualities that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in lives to come. Which four? Being consummate in conviction, being consummate in virtue, being consummate in generosity, being consummate in discernment.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in conviction? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has conviction, is convinced of the Tathagata's Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge and conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine and human beings, awakened, blessed.' This is called being consummate in conviction.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in virtue? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking life, abstains from stealing, abstains from illicit sexual conduct, abstains from lying, abstains from taking intoxicants that cause heedlessness. This is called being consummate in virtue.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of miserliness, living at home, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called being consummate in generosity.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in discernment? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising and passing away — noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of [Dukkha suffering]. This is called being consummate in discernment

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.054.than.html

Gassho, Jundo

SatToday

Meishin
03-18-2015, 06:52 PM
Thank you, Jundo

Gassho
Meishin
Sat today

RichardH
03-18-2015, 08:16 PM
..as I've posted somewhere else here I just lost my house to foreclosure and it has been wonderful. We are released from the money, lawyer, bank hassle.
We moved to a smaller house we rent disposing of a lot of furniture, clothes. I wanted to give away everything...except my t-shirts.
I found that my book collection and t-shirts were my most priced possessions.....our cars are old, we live from paycheck to paycheck and we are the happiest we have been in a long while...calm and at peace.
It ain't the possessions. It's the illusion.
It's the illusion of solidity we give ourself and the stuff we grab, be it a BMW or a small apartment, or a lovely, wild garden; even a grass hut or our practice. That illusion is what we have to let go.
The Middle Way.
It's all about the MW.
And balance.

Gassho.

Glad to hear you have landed on your feet, Ed. gassho2




Daizan

sat today

Jika
03-18-2015, 09:07 PM
Sorry for being off beat (again), but the first lines caught me more than the necesseties (which is, of course, an interesting topic too, and certainly the main part of the chapter).
If I understand it right, the first lines are about what we are destroying, taking, changing by building a more permanent building.
We are leaving traces that will live longer than us, maybe even longer than what we built.

Also, if we have very rigid thoughts, we are not living lightly, but we are grasping learned ideas, grasping to feelings.
And the heavier this "carry-around-me" is, the deeper are our footsteps on the "land".
"Land" being a metaphor for everyone/thing we get in contact with.

Maybe most of us have had a talk with someone when emotions ran high, and afterwards - wouldn't it be great if the grass simply grew back?
No real harm done?
Maybe you see what my point is.

Of course, I agree that thinking about what we consume and what traces this leaves in nature and our fellow beings is important too.
One is not separate from the other.

Gassho,
Danny
#sattoday

Stacy
03-18-2015, 09:09 PM
We just need shelter, food, water, and means to keep it. But I know I have more than that and likely won't shrink down to that level.

I do think some people get carried away, and there are people who do get very sucked into things, but as it's been said, everybody has to figure out their own way. Our culture pushes very hard to make it less of our own thoughts on the matter. Use your head and your heart, and surely you'll find the right answer for you.

I love computers. I love what I can create and do. I like solving their puzzles and coming up with something new. Any imagined grass hut adventure involves me taking a small laptop running Bodhi Linux. :D Would I die without it? No. But I'd like to keep at my talents and sharing them with others.


Gassho,
Stacy

#SatToday

Joyo
03-18-2015, 10:40 PM
I just finished watching a documentary called Living One One Dollar. It is on Netflix. I would highly recommend that everyone watch it. It definitely is eye-opening on how we can all make a difference.

I am struck by what Willow said "the common sense to know when enough is enough" I think part of this practice is being mindful of that moment (or moments), and perhaps even challenging ourselves to the point where we become uncomfortable with giving, whether it's money, or our time. And also, as she said, know when it's enough already. Do I need 5 pairs of sandals, numerous pairs of pants etc. etc. No, I do not, but without practicing it is so easy to get sucked into the greedy mentality of always wanting more.

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Kyonin
03-18-2015, 10:53 PM
Hi guys.

Lots to say about this, but I won't until I have fully read this chapter and sat with it for a couple of days.

I can only say that now that my most expensive thing is a simple computer, I have never been happier.

Gassho,

Kyonin
#SatToday

Jundo
03-19-2015, 04:12 AM
I am not going to take a particular political or policy stance on this now (Please know that I sure have my views), but will toss this out just as food for non-thought ... everyone should watch and consider ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GorqroigqM

Gassho, J

Jishin
03-19-2015, 05:58 AM
Nice video Jundo. I don't think that the human race has enough restraint to keep from self destructing by using up planet earth. Doesn't mean we should not try though.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Ed
03-19-2015, 11:49 AM
It has been a wild ride, but keeping composure and consistent practice has help a lot.

Thanks Kojito.

Josan
03-19-2015, 12:57 PM
Thank you Jundo,
Gassho, David
sattoday

RichardH
03-19-2015, 03:52 PM
Just got the book, and will come up to speed. :)

Gassho
Daizan

Sat today

Byrne
03-19-2015, 04:33 PM
With all the mining and abusive labor practices that goes into making the technology that connects us all as a sangha, it might be fair to say that none of us are truly living lightly on the land.

Gassho

Sat Today

Rich
03-19-2015, 04:51 PM
What's really amazing is that 7B people are alive on earth. She has some great ideas but if the population keeps accelerating its going to put even more pressure on producing goods, services and food. Also she didn't mention that a lot of resources are renewable and everyone wants to pay the lowest price for the stuff they need.

SAT today

Risho
03-19-2015, 05:25 PM
However there is a common mistake in our western views.


It's not just western. Greed is common to humanity, not just the corrupt, western, capitalist pigs. lol

Jishin, I agree with you.

I have a lot. Most of what I own are luxuries. But it's all relative. I have a nice laptop, an iPhone, a nice entertainment setup, etc. But do I need it? No. I really only need food and shelter. It's not desire that's necessarily bad. Desire is to be human. It's being controlled by the desire is where it gets wonky.

Hell, depending on the time, refrigeration is a luxury. But would I want to live without electricity, etc? Absolutely not. I don't think the answer is to give that up. I think the answer is to be fully human, to engineer better solutions that are less and less impactful on the environment. That's what it is to be human, to innovate. It's what excites us.

But it doesn't mean owning a boatload of crap in an effort to be happy; that just causes more suffering. You can be happy right here. And it also doesn't mean to only take, take, take. Giving is important. Receiving and giving. If one is focused on too much, the whole thing gets out of whack.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

PS but yeah I struggle with this one a lot, and if my stuff was stolen it would cause suffering.

Kyonin
03-19-2015, 11:21 PM
Hi guys.

I have been reading once and again this chapter and it resonates with me in many levels.

Once upon a time I lived the corporate dream. For Mexico I did pretty well. I had a nice family, a nice house, lots and lots of expensive clutter and collectibles, a Mercedes and I was friends with a lot of powerful people in the media and government. Buddhism was a part of my life, but only in books and nice Buddha quotes. I sat zazen from time to time, but it was never a serious thing for me. I was too busy being the king of the world and focused in buying stuff.

Then disaster came. I took several decisions that put everything at risk and I started my own company... which crashed and burn faster than I could handle. Everything started to fail!

So one day I woke up and I had no job, no home, no family, no money, no food and I owned only the clothes I had in me. Oh and some change. I had lost it all. I was lucky that my sister offered me her home, so I wasn't left out in the streets.

The first few days of this new reality were super hard. I cried, I screamed and I hated every second of it all. The universe became a horrible place for me.

At the third or fourth day I remembered how I enjoyed sitting zazen, so I began sitting again. Since I had a lot of time in my hands, I resumed reading about the dharma.

The more I sat, the more I felt at home and at peace.

And then it hit me. In the worst days of my life, when I had lost it all, when I was nothing, just when I had hit the bottom... I was free. For the first time in my life I was free of stuff and I was living just with what I needed for the day.

In the worst days of my life I was happier than I had ever been.

This was a revelation, of course. It resonated fully with the dharma I had been reading.

There's a lot more the story. But the important thing is that I discovered (the hard way) that owning anything and keeping life super simple worked for me. That's what I had always wanted.

How do I live now? Well I still keep things super simple. So much that now that my small business is painfully dieing, I find myself again owning pretty much just what I need for the day.

I don't have a home, I live in a bankrupt country that only tends to the rich and corrupt and my most expensive thing is this PC I'm typing from.

And again, these are the happiest days of my life. I am at peace and working for the people I can help.

So yes, minimalism and zen might not work for many. But in this side of things, I am home.

Here's to Master Shitou and his beautiful hut.

Gassho,

Kyonin
#SatToday

Joyo
03-20-2015, 02:17 AM
Kyonin, thank you for sharing.

Deep bows to you,

Joyo
sat today

Christopher
03-20-2015, 02:37 AM
We might imagine, before we buy anything new, that the fat guy who owns the government is watching and smiling at what you are doing for him.

Just avoiding one purchase each trip will at least make you feel better.

Gassho

Christopher, who was born with the three R's, 75 years ago, and still stubbornly refuses to buy new if used still works.
And who sat today.

Shingen
03-20-2015, 02:44 AM
Here's to Master Shitou and his beautiful hut.

Wonderful Kyonin! =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jika
03-20-2015, 06:45 AM
Kyonin,
thank you.
We meet in a point too complex for me to explain: when I had nothing, I found sitting.

Deep bows,
Danny
#sattoday

Josan
03-20-2015, 06:57 AM
Thank you Kyonin for your teaching,
Gassho,
David

sattoday

Kyotai
03-20-2015, 01:01 PM
Thank you Kyonin and Jundo for the video

Gassho, Kyotai
sat today

RichardH
03-20-2015, 06:37 PM
Hi. I have been reading and re-reading the poem, and will read many more times. The first thing that comes up is surprise that it is being unpacked for me in environmental terms. It is a very different kind of poem seen in that light.

This is not to say environmental terms aren't important. Only that the poem struck me differently.

Thank you for the video , Jundo. The content can spur a very interesting discussion. Generally I do not feel that the future will be as bad as we fear, or as good as we hope, but sometimes it will be both. Humanity will muddle along. Things will be very different for my grandchildren.


Gassho
Daizan
Sat today

Heisoku
03-20-2015, 06:47 PM
Hi all. it's funny how one can live lightly solo. At 30 years old I still owned only a backpack a few sets of clothes and a steam iron?! Then I got married and by the age of 37 found myself with a house, a small family, a car, a job and a mortgage. I also found myself buying my first power drill! Living lightly changes with a family! Stuff accumulates. I have looked into sustainable off grid living and the cost of setting up a small house with a small packet of land is really astronomical. Student debts and mortgages just add weight. Living lightly can still happen but I suggest its not as simple in today's world. BUT after reading Naomi Klein's 'This Changes Everything', it is now more an imperative than an option! There is now a necessity to be creative in finding ways that ordinary folk can achieve this.
Gassho
Heisoku
Sat today.

Daiyo
03-20-2015, 08:44 PM
Hi all. it's funny how one can live lightly solo. At 30 years old I still owned only a backpack a few sets of clothes and a steam iron?! Then I got married and by the age of 37 found myself with a house, a small family, a car, a job and a mortgage. I also found myself buying my first power drill! Living lightly changes with a family! Stuff accumulates.

You've hit the target Heisoku.

I can remember when I was 19 or 20, I only owned a pile of rock/metal CDs and Magazines, some rock/metal t-shirts, two pair of jeans and two of sneakers.
My main concern was which was the next concert I was going to. I didn't want anything else.
I miss those times.

Gassho, Daiyo.

#SatToday

Theophan
03-21-2015, 02:20 AM
I lived a very cluttered life over the years. My fondness of books got the best of me when I ended up with 12 large bookcases full of books. When I retired from the Army and moved to Oregon I ended up shipping 92 boxes of books. When having to find a place to live which could accommodate all the large bookcases I began to open to see that I really needed to get rid of some of my books and bookcases. I had to simplify my life. My books became chains holding me down. I realized my priorities were upside down. I trimmed my books, etc., but then I found myself chained to my computer and other possessions so much that I hated to leave my house. I was always worrying someone would break into my house and steal my stuff. My daughter who is a minimalist would talk with me about living a simpler lifestyle. She showed me a way to de-clutter, and have a life that is without all the worry, and distraction. I knew I would be so much happier once I got my priorities straight, and focus on what I actually need Instead of all the things I want. While I still got a way to go I am making the changes needed to make and lead a simpler happier life.


Gassho
Theophan
Sat Today

Byokan
03-21-2015, 08:00 AM
Hi All, gassho1

wow, what an interesting conversation! I think a lot about the true cost of things. When someone tells me they went to W***mart and got something dirt cheap, I ask, ‘why do you think it was so inexpensive?’ Nine times out of ten, they say, ‘I don’t want to know.’ Many people feel they have to shop there, that they can’t afford not to. I wish everyone could watch that video that Jundo posted. (Ok, it’s not exactly impartial, in fact it’s a little propaganda-ish in tone, but I agree 100% with the points that it makes.) When I’m considering buying something, I think about the cost in producing it; the cost to the environment, the social and economic cost. I think about how many hours I have to work to buy it, and how many hours I’ll spend maintaining, upgrading, and caring for it. I think about how it will be disposed of at the end. There are other costs too. I can download a videogame app for 99 cents. But I know I’ll get all obsessed with it and lose hours and hours playing it. Ok, it’s kind of fun. But it’s not really a good quality kind of fun, not like playing with my dogs, or hanging out with a friend. I save a lot more than 99 cents by not downloading it. For someone else, though, that game might be a way of connecting and spending time with their kid.

My bottom line is, I just don’t want my life to be about my stuff. I don’t want to struggle and stress and obsess and worry over my stuff. I don’t want my work hours -- which are the majority of my waking hours, because I have 2 jobs -- to be in service of getting more and better stuff; I want them to be in service of taking care of my needs and putting what’s important to me into action in the world. I’m happy with enough. I’m happy to recycle, to reuse things, to use things up before I get new things, to be thrifty, to live lightly, to pass things on to others who can use or enjoy them more. Sometimes I’m happy to go without, and I don’t miss what I never had. People laugh at my simple little flip phone. It serves my needs. To me it’s about freedom, and respect for the true cost of things. As time goes on, as I consider these things, I find that I actually want less and less.


I don’t think stuff is bad. I do think we need to think more about our stuff. Is my stuff just what it is, or is it a replacement for love, security, status, youth, etc.? What is the true cost of my stuff? I’m a minimalist, but that doesn’t mean I just get rid of things because less is better. I’ve learned to get rid of the stuff that holds little value for me, stuff that has a true cost that is more than it’s worth. And I’m finding that the things I value most, I don’t own anyway. Who wouldn't trade most of their stuff for time, for health, for love? I wish everyone's hut contained those things.


Ben Connolly writes:
“...abundance is here when we keep it simple, and scarcity is here when we want more.”


For me, that’s true. I always remember what Ma used to say, in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder: “Enough is as good as a feast.” I think everyone has to define what “enough” means for them, and what “simple” means. It’s about awareness and conscious choices.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Jika
03-21-2015, 09:01 AM
But it’s not really a good quality kind of fun

Hi Lisa,
great food for thoughts!
I had that kind of discussion with family weeks ago, how I like to be alone on weekends, sometimes meeting a good friend, and mostly reading, walking, chatting to neighbours, sitting. And they said "you should really have good life quality, going out, restaurants, cinema".
We agreed that we were of different opinion what was "good" or best for me at that time.

Why is playing a videogame app and really enjoying it worse than doing something else?
I sometimes watch the birds in the winter trees, just to watch. I don't even know their names.

Of course, it's bad when you get asked about the weekend and you say "Well, first I sat on a cushion, then I played a videogame and then I watched some birds."
You'll get glances.

But I think the media also promote what is acceptable in our spare time - dining with lots of people, doing the right kinds of sports...

So maybe the same rule you apply to possession should apply to activities too?
Too much for one person can be too little for the other.

I have had a hard struggle not to go into the "Empathica Embrace medical watch" trap (no advertisement here, just as explanaition).
They sell very, very expensive, cool looking "smart watches" that can detect stress, something, and epileptic seizures.
They send a bluetooth signal to a highest class phone (which I don't have) to call a phone list you have defined.
Your friends, a child's parents, the ambulance...
Might be useful if a teenager wants to go to the movies with friends (not on mummies hand).
In fact, I have been thinking about it to wean/reassure my own parents who in their worry can be quite extreme.

But I'm wondering, are they promoting the watch, or are they selling the newest generation of cell phones in a cloaked way?
And usually, if something bad happens, sooner or later the family hears.
Maybe I'm too trusting, I know a really nice boy who simply disappeared backpacking in down under, his family never heard of him again, it's been almost a year now.

Was there someone who came to Shitou regularly to see if he had enough food, if he was too ill to look after himself, if he had maybe died?

We have insurances, devices, all to make sure nothing can happen to us.
While it can, and in some way does, every moment.

Gassho
Danny
#sattoday

Risho
03-21-2015, 05:01 PM
I love this conversation! Kyonin, Daizan, Lisa, Danny, Jundo and all who have posted.. It all has resonated. I'm on an iPhone in a dentists office so I might have unintentionally forgot some leafers but all of the posts have touched me.

Lisa I couldn't agree more. There is a cost to Walmart. It's a cost to humanity and a trade imbalance. Both the US and China and whoever else buys these goods are as complicit in legalized slavery essentially. And it's everything made in China, not just Walmart. China should not have been allowed in the WTO but greed rules at times.

What is too much?

Is novacaine too much? Is it a luxury? Shitou didn't have it but, then again, he probably didn't go to the Dentist :)

But I don't to get off topic. Minimalism is interesting to me. I read a lot of minimalist blogs, and I implement some of its tenets. But I think it's dangerous to judge things and paint things with too broad a brush. Doing that is the antithesis of living lightly.

It causes separation, to elevate one group over another.

Let's say you see two people: 1 in a nice suit and Mercedes, the other in a short and tshirt driving a Honda civic. We immediately judge. Maybe we think the guy in the suit is more successful, smarter and happier. That says more about us than them; its a reflection of our patterns and mental habits. It could just as likely be the other way around. I would tend to agree, spending more than 30 grand on a car is lunacy to me but, then again, that's my opinion.

Let's continue. Let's say the Mercedes cost the person 10% of their salary, whereas the civic cost the other person 75%. Superficially, the civic owner may appear more frugal and may be more likely to star in one of those violin laden "documentaries". In reality they are over extended and have over consumed. Greed isn't obvious.

I grew up in a lower middle class situation. 1 bedroom apartment, no AC, no cable tv. I had friends, I had fun, I was a kid. It didn't bother me. I think kids are "people of no rank" by default.

In any case just becausem my parents were poor (or poorer than others) -- poor is relative of course; we had food, shelter, running water, a car etc-- but just because my parents didn't have a lot did not make them happier or more enlightened.

That's just another value judgment. It's another ego trip that sort of fools one into a poor mans superiority complex. I think it's the cult of minimalism.

With "less" stuff you could be happier. It's really up to the individual. I do emphatically agree that stuff does not make you happy... At least in the long term. However I do find exception to the constant badgering of minimalism "I left my 6 figure job. Bla bla bla". That's great, but a specific use case cannot be extended over a large sample group.

If you hate your job no amount of money or title is going to change that. But what if you actually enjoy your job and it happens to pay well?

I enjoy my job. I'm fortunate that I can support my family.

But there's a catch to truly enjoying anything. You can't want it too much. You have to be able to let go of it. It's like a marriage; being too possessive is harmful. Love is freeing not grasping.

So my point is that we can't judge things or people by how much they make or have. It's bullshit to do so.

My other point is that this is deeper to me than just living lightlyb( similar to Daizans point). It is important to be a good steward to the Earth but it's bigger than that.

We need to relax and take a nap. Live lightly with each other. Not be so judgmental to justify our "superiority". Not be so attached to our own story that we can't be there for others. Not be so attached that we can relax. But also not be so eager to help that we do more harm than good.

Look at Vimalakirti. He was a fat cat, wealthy for his time. And even so he is still considered a badass in Buddhism. So to simply say you are going to give up your shit and that will lead to paradise is just another form of greed; you are still grasping at a fantasy. Don't feel guilty if you like things; enjoy them if you are fortunate to have them.

Relax. Take a nap. Enjoy it while you have it. It will pass. It's the way it is.

You have people you love and who love you. Loss sucks. That's the human situation. Relax into that. Don't grasp, don't push. Like Kyonin said, he found peace with the loss. That's incredibly difficult with a resistant, grasping mind.

If we grasp, we never have enough. Its human to desire, but grasping is more than that. It's compounded desire hoping for a result that could never happen, which causes suffering.

Relax, take a nap.

One more thing. To be consumed with having is one extreme, one side of greed. But so is to be consumed with not having. To be proud of not having many things is just the same old greed in new clothing; the same ego trip, just inverted.

Gassho,

Risho
-sattoday

ForestDweller
03-21-2015, 07:02 PM
I’ve been away for a while. I have been sitting. Returning, I read the long string of conversations about “Living Lightly on the Land.” Who am I to say, but it all sounds very nervous and in some cases full of rationale. Doesn’t “living lightly” come down to “avoid[ing] leaving big scars on the earth” and “avoid[ing] laying waste to lots of life.” In short, being mindful and “intimate with what you consume.” The world did just fine before humanity entered the picture, and it will do just fine when we are gone. We are the ones thrashing in between, tugging between being true to our higher values and hanging on to what we’ve become attached to.
As I read through the posts, I tried to pick up on the threads and patterns that danced among them. The most significant commonality was the number of times being in nature was mentioned in various ways. Why do so many find being in nature so restorative whether it be Willow’s garden of “refuge and beauty,” or KellyRok’s “sleeping under the stars,” or Anshu/Bryson’s need for “space – sky, ocean, forest.” I venture to say that it’s because this is our real home, with or without a grass hut or a mansion. This is where we come from, where we’re born and where we will each lay down our heads and die. There’s nothing artificial that matches nature’s immensity, its ability to heal, and its capacity to show us the “way.” That’s why re-using, donating, and relying on renewable resources feels right; we are taking care of our home, the place where we all belong.
So, why are our priorities confused, Jundo asks. Simply put, it’s because we aren’t at home enough, and because we have mass media ever-ready to distract us (Matt’s point). When we wander around playing with our toys, possessions, our real and imagined needs, we get distracted and forget about our home. Mass media, including social networking in some forms, also obscures our right view with its constant taste for violence and perversion, its comparisons with others, and its advertisements ramming material goods down our souls. The only way to change our minds is to come home (to nature) more often and to refuse to look or listen to very much mass media. The later doesn’t mean turning our backs on the world; it involves discernment in our choice of magazines and newspapers, and a whole lot less television and texting. From what I’m seeing and sensing in our group, this could be the path to reconciliation with our planet, and reunification with our home. But who am I to say? Remember that I live in a remote, northern forest, where I am at home every day.
Gassho, Catherine/ForestDweller
Sat in the Forest Today

Byokan
03-21-2015, 07:50 PM
Hi again,

Risho, I agree with you. The stereotype that poor people are noble and happy and rich people are greedy and unhappy is a gross oversimplification. And to be clear, as others posted earlier in the thread... I may have whittled my possessions down to very little by American standards, but there’s no reason to feel smugly self-satisfied about it... I had the choice to do so, and I know I still have much more than most people on earth. If you have clean water to drink, you have more than a lot of people. And I also know that the benefits I enjoy as a modern American are available because of the wanton exploitation of people and resources, past and present. The thing is, that in the past people may have actually believed in things like “manifest destiny”, or not known about the costs of exploitation; physical costs, social costs, spiritual costs. But now we do know about these things. Catherine writes:



Doesn’t “living lightly” come down to “avoid[ing] leaving big scars on the earth” and “avoid[ing] laying waste to lots of life.” In short, being mindful and “intimate with what you consume.”


I say yes! I think once we are cognizant of these things, we have a duty to act. Not only a duty, but I think once the cost is truly understood and felt, people naturally want to start to pull back from their complicity in the exploitation. Am I wrong about that? Does anyone who really understands keep raping and pillaging? I think the notion of stewardship is not some hippie-dippy feel-good notion. I think it’s what arises in our hearts and minds naturally when we understand what’s really happening. It’s compassion, for other people, for ourselves, and for the earth.



...this is our real home, with or without a grass hut or a mansion. This is where we come from, where we’re born and where we will each lay down our heads and die. There’s nothing artificial that matches nature’s immensity, its ability to heal, and its capacity to show us the “way.” That’s why re-using, donating, and relying on renewable resources feels right; we are taking care of our home, the place where we all belong.


I really feel this is true, Catherine. Our home is part of us, and we are of it. There is no separation. It’s the notions of separation that enable us to exploit people and the earth. It always comes back to that, doesn’t it, separation is the delusion that causes and enables so much of the trouble in the world.


My prescription for change is always the same. Start where you are. Take baby steps in the right direction. When you get a firm footing, reach back and help the next guy coming up behind you. Helping the next guy means talking about this stuff with friends and family, even if that makes you the weirdo. You don’t have to give away all you own and dedicate your whole life to activism, we can’t all do that. The other way is more insidious. Think deeply and find your own conclusion. Teach your kids. Help a friend or family member to understand. All we can do is our best on any given day.

Gassho
Lisa
sat today

Jishin
03-21-2015, 10:49 PM
Hi,

Before we can sit together and talk about this subject, lets gather a few necessary items. We need the Internet and a few computers. Chatting around the fire wont do because we are too far away from each other. We could chop down a tree, two or three (or a forest) for snail mail paper, but that would be too slow.

We probably need to make sure the Internet service does not go down so we can have a proper discussion. We need some security so that our computers and worldwide Internet does not go kaput too often. I am not sure what it takes to keep hackers from bringing down computers and the Internet but I am sure it’s not cheap.

We probably need some cyber security and also cops to keep thugs from stealing our computers. But if the thug is really big, the military has to step in the keep the cops safe. The big guns aren’t cheap.

Ok. Let me boot up my computer and we are ready to rock and roll! Lets talk about the ecological footprint of…..?

Just saying…

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Stacy
03-21-2015, 11:23 PM
Crackers break, hackers are clever.

The hacker who cracks puts on a black hat. The weight lifter who plays baseball grips a baseball bat.

:D


Gassho,
Stacy

#SatToday

Risho
03-22-2015, 06:41 AM
Hahaha

Lisa/catherine. Very, very cool stuff. Thank you.

Gassho

Risho
-sat today

Shoka
03-22-2015, 05:49 PM
This is a discussion that is often near and dear to my heart. I grew up at or just below the poverty line, I knew people well below who struggled all the time, and then also had people well above who sat on their high horses not understanding why we didn't buy organic and shop at the farms market because it's not that much more expensive.

At the moment many Christians are undertaking lent leading up to Easter. I recently had an interesting conversation about lent and the idea of giving up something with some people at lunch. The conversation started because someone didn't come with us because they had given up animal products for lent. Someone made the comment, "It's so stupid to give things up it's not going to make a difference in the end. You're still going to die." A couple people agreed, and commented on how silly lent was because people thought they were going to gain some favor with God.

I offered this story in return, "My father does lent every year. And I often ask him what he is giving up. This year he countered by asking, "what are you giving up?" I replied, "Dad, I'm not Christian, so I don't do lent." His reply really caught me by surprise. He said, "But you have a good life, a roof over your head, food on your table. Within reason when you want something you can have it. So you should give something up to remind you that you have a good life and to be thankful for all you have. And to remember that there are a lot of people with less."

My lunch companions were not as touched by his reply as I was. One even said, "I should indulge to remind myself that I have a good life, I'm going to order an extra meal!"

The reason I tell this story is because it reminded me of what Ben says on page 23:


The Middle way, the path between the one extreme of hardcore asceticism, which tries to rise above suffering by denying our bodies and the other extreme of hedonism, which tries to deal with suffering by indulging our endless desires.

I think people have a reaction to swing between the two poles, until they settle into the middle way. And that looks different for everyone.

The other part of this chapter that really struck me was page 25:

I believe this: we need to retreat, we need to spend time being simple and focusing on being at ease in the moment, in order to fully manifest our capacity to be of service.

Gassho,

Shoka
sattoday

Joyo
03-23-2015, 12:53 AM
Hi,

Before we can sit together and talk about this subject, lets gather a few necessary items. We need the Internet and a few computers. Chatting around the fire wont do because we are too far away from each other. We could chop down a tree, two or three (or a forest) for snail mail paper, but that would be too slow.

We probably need to make sure the Internet service does not go down so we can have a proper discussion. We need some security so that our computers and worldwide Internet does not go kaput too often. I am not sure what it takes to keep hackers from bringing down computers and the Internet but I am sure it’s not cheap.

We probably need some cyber security and also cops to keep thugs from stealing our computers. But if the thug is really big, the military has to step in the keep the cops safe. The big guns aren’t cheap.

Ok. Let me boot up my computer and we are ready to rock and roll! Lets talk about the ecological footprint of…..?

Just saying…

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

With all due respect, may I suggest that you just sit. gassho1

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Jishin
03-23-2015, 01:17 AM
With all due respect, may I suggest that you just sit. gassho1

Gassho,
Joyo
sat today

Off course! :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Ansan
03-23-2015, 05:18 AM
The posts are so inspirational...and diverse. So much to think of and to let go of.

I do not advocate living in poverty if it is not a choice or something that can be changed. Is it poverty or living minimally? It is a matter of choice and choosing to be happy. Would we chose wealth if it dropped in our laps or reject it to live that minimalist life just because it is fashionable? Would that make us happy? How would we dispense an insanely large inheritance wisely? Why think of these things if our lives offer us certain choices and not others? Isn't that dreaming and not just living as we are? Here, now, with who we are?

My husband and I chose the life we are now living. We left our material goods behind along with the privileges of living in a city which, in addition to other "luxuries", such as an adequate connection to the internet. We live here, in the desert, without...what? We have all we need. There are things we have accumulated since our departure from the city. Because we are building (still) our house with indigenous and found materials, our neighbors with good intention have brought us materials that they felt we could use. At first, we were too intimidated by their kindness to refuse the scratched windows, the broken doors, various rusted nails and screws, broken building blocks, ancient unrepairable washing machines. Stuff accumulates. And we are sometimes idiots. Old cars that still run but require extraordinary expense to make them useful...we donated them to a junk dealer. Hauling things to the dump is a little more cumbersome than allowing the city trash removal to pick it all up. I am not complaining. This is just the other side of bliss. BTW, some of the "stuff" we kept and were incorporated into a few of our building projects. Broken ceramic tiles made excellent mosaics for our vestibule floor, fireplace mantel and unfinished bathroom.

I do not post often because the internet is through our cell phone. Transmission is very poor. I would like to become more active here with all of you but this is the life we have chosen together. It is all good. And I am too verbose anyhow.

Life, unfortunately, is expensive if I want to keep my teeth, wear clothes, eat food, drive a car and have some so-called luxuries like buying some new brushes, paints or canvas. Or feeding our dogs raw meat and vegetables because I feel they are healthier on that diet. Or splurging on magazine subscriptions that keep us informed because we chose not to have a TV. Besides, reception is very poor and satellites are expensive.

What makes people unhappy in any situation, whether they live in a grass hut or a 150,000 sq. foot mansion on a mountain facing the ocean? The same thing that makes them contented if they would only be aware of life as it is, with or without stuff. Stuff is just stuff. It is all a matter of attitude and choice. And daily Zazen.

Gassho,
Ansan

SatToday

Myosha
03-23-2015, 01:58 PM
"And daily Zazen"

Amen


Gassho
Myosha sat today

Hogo
03-25-2015, 04:26 AM
I have nothing, it is all just borrowed.
Gassho.
Hogo.
Sat Today.

ForestDweller
03-25-2015, 07:51 PM
I posted what's below to this thread several days ago, but I don't see that it made it, so here it is again.

I’ve been away for a while. I have been sitting. Returning, I read the long string of conversations about “Living Lightly on the Land.” Who am I to say, but it all sounds very nervous and in some cases full of rationale. Doesn’t “living lightly” come down to “avoid[ing] leaving big scars on the earth” and “avoid[ing] laying waste to lots of life.” In short, being mindful and “intimate with what you consume.” The world did just fine before humanity entered the picture, and it will do just fine when we are gone. We are the ones thrashing in between, tugging between being true to our higher values and hanging on to what we’ve become attached to.
As I read through the posts, I tried to pick up on the threads and patterns that danced among them. The most significant commonality was the number of times being in nature was mentioned in various ways. Why do so many find being in nature so restorative whether it be Willow’s garden of “refuge and beauty,” or KellyRok’s “sleeping under the stars,” or Anshu/Bryson’s need for “space – sky, ocean, forest.” I venture to say that it’s because this is our real home, with or without a grass hut or a mansion. This is where we come from, where we’re born and where we will each lay down our heads and die. There’s nothing artificial that matches nature’s immensity, its ability to heal, and its capacity to show us the “way.” That’s why re-using, donating, and relying on renewable resources feels right; we are taking care of our home, the place where we all belong.
So, why are our priorities confused, Jundo asks. Simply put, it’s because we aren’t at home enough, and because we have mass media ever-ready to distract us (Matt’s point). When we wander around playing with our toys, possessions, our real and imagined needs, we get distracted and forget about our home. Mass media, including social networking in some forms, also obscures our right view with its constant taste for violence and perversion, its comparisons with others, and its advertisements ramming material goods down our souls. The only way to change our minds is to come home (to nature) more often and to refuse to look or listen to very much mass media. The later doesn’t mean turning our backs on the world; it involves discernment in our choice of magazines and newspapers, and a whole lot less television and texting. From what I’m seeing and sensing in our group, this could be the path to reconciliation with our planet, and reunification with our home. But who am I to say? Remember that I live in a remote, northern forest, where I am at home every day. -- Forest Sitting - Catherine

Jishin
03-25-2015, 08:08 PM
I would ask a rock what it thinks about living lightly on the land.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Shingen
03-25-2015, 08:20 PM
I would ask a rock what it thinks about living lightly on the land.

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

But a rock does not take more then what it needs. =)

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jishin
03-25-2015, 08:33 PM
But a rock does not take more then what it needs. =)

Gassho
Shingen

Hard to say since we are not rocks. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Shingen
03-25-2015, 09:35 PM
Hard to say since we are not rocks. :)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

Ahhh ... but,

"The blue mountain is the father of the white cloud. The white cloud is the son of the blue mountain. All day long they depend on each other, without being dependent on each other. The white cloud is always the white cloud. The blue mountain is always the blue mountain." - Zen Master Tozan

The rock is no different ...

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Jishin
03-25-2015, 09:48 PM
Ahhh ... but,

"The blue mountain is the father of the white cloud. The white cloud is the son of the blue mountain. All day long they depend on each other, without being dependent on each other. The white cloud is always the white cloud. The blue mountain is always the blue mountain." - Zen Master Tozan

The rock is no different ...

Gassho
Shingen

SatToday

Maybe so...

:)

Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

RichardH
03-25-2015, 10:03 PM
I read this exchange and asked a rock. There was no reponse. I said ... "Think about it" and went for a stroll. When I returned there was still no answer . I cajoled it... "Don"t be so obtuse". Tried a compliment... "You have amazing equanimity "... still nothing . Finally I got angry and kicked the rock and it said nothing as I jumped around in pain.

The rock wins

Gassho
Daizan
Sattoday

Jundo
03-26-2015, 03:02 AM
I read this exchange and asked a rock. There was no reponse. I said ... "Think about it" and went for a stroll. When I returned there was still no answer . I cajoled it... "Don"t be so obtuse". Tried a compliment... "You have amazing equanimity "... still nothing . Finally I got angry and kicked the rock and it said nothing as I jumped around in pain.

The rock wins

Gassho
Daizan
Sattoday

Hey, you are stealing my stuff! :p You reminded me of this old sit-a-long from a few years ago ...




Old Master Stone

We welcome back a very special guest teacher today …
… a true rock star, one of the original ‘Rolling Stones’
(and before anyone asks … No, I am not ‘stoned’)

As the sound is not very clear at points, here’s a list of some of my questions to Master Stone …

- What is your goal in life, as a stone?

- Do you need to achieve some goals, and realize some dreams, in order to feel good and a success about your stoney self? Will you feel inadequate, a mediocre mineral, if you do not reach your goals and dreams?

- What could make you more who you want to be, a more perfect stone? A stonier stone?
- Do you feel that you are a lesser stone, and less a stone, than the bigger and more imposing stones in the garden?

- You are missing a few chips that have been knocked off you. Are you sad about their loss, do you long for their return?

- I see that you have ants and a beetle crawling over you. Do you resent them for doing that?
- What would you like to change, if you could, about your rocky life?

- Even stones wear away with time. Do you worry about that?
- Where do you think stones, and the whole earth, came from before there were any ‘stones’? Where do you think stones go when stones die, besides “dust to dust”? And do the answers to those questions effect how you sit as a stone right now?

At the end, Master Stone suggested we drop all the questions … and just sit like stones sit …




http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=iX6NLNzicWs

No, a stone does not mind if you smash it, chip it, move it or roll it. I think most stones do little damage to the earth because the are the earth. All human beings should find their inner stone.

A human being, on the other hand, can sure leave scars on the earth by moving stones ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKw4CM_aBmc

Gassho, J

RichardH
03-26-2015, 12:43 PM
I feel like a mediocre mineral sometimes. [puzzled]


Gassho :)
Daizan

sat today