View Full Version : 28/10 Zen Seeds 67-70

10-28-2011, 07:54 AM
True Happiness

Anuruddha's story really impressed me. First of all, the crudeness of it; poor Anuruddha getting blind after his efforts of not falling asleep again. But then, this idea of Buddha Shakiamuni as the person more actively looking for happiness in the world helped me to make more vivid the importance of our quest for true happiness. When one thinks about it, it is a concept strange to Western religious thought. We tend to view spirituality just as renunciation, and not as a quest for happiness. Happiness will come after you die, and the world is just a valley of tears.
As Aoyama wisely presents in this week's text, happiness is a state of mind, not the result of our external circumstances, and we need to learn acceptance on what there is, and what we are.
Logic and taoist philosopher Raymond Smullyan once wrote that "the Tao is about doing what you like; and zen is about liking what you do". So we are always within the same paradox: should I accept what is there? Or should I try to change it? Do what I like? Or liking what I must do?
So here is the open question, a question that comes to me quite often:

How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?



10-28-2011, 03:08 PM
How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?

My short answer after doing a first quick reading of the text and then your question, is that I have to accept things as they are before I can ever change anything. That isn't to say nothing can change without acceptance since things change of their own accord all the time! However, if it is a situation where I am giving specific thought to how I can change the situation? Yeah, I have to accept it for what it is before anything can be done differently. And I don't mean to sound like I come to that conclusion all the time since in most cases I certainly do not!

So, that's my quick answer. After reading the text a couple more times and your question agan I'm sure I'll come up with something much more convoluted and complicated, but at times like this I think the simplest answer is the "right" or "best" one. ;)


10-29-2011, 09:32 PM
I think when desire and mind are opposed, then it is difficult to know whether or how to change. Dosho might have a good piece of adviceóapply a little more acceptance first.

Most times I do not have too much difficulty with this. However, just now in my life, I am really torn. I have a business that I really donít like working on. However, continuing to try to make the business succeed is probably the most logical way economically not lose everything, but my heart says I donít want to do this another day. If I were younger and had time to start again and recover, that would probably change my decision whether to change, too. My mind and heart have usually gone together, but not this time. Maybe, Iíll try a little more acceptance and see. Gassho, Grace.

11-01-2011, 09:12 PM
I have pondered this one too Rimon. Do we accept or act?
However an answer did come when driving down a single track country lane as I faced an oncoming car. There was no way to avoid the issue and one had to accept that one of us had to reverse a considerable way unless something could be done sooner. Now in my experience most people will drive slowly up to each other, fender to fender, expecting the other to pull back. However there was a slight widening where there was a gate so I pulled in. It still required the other driver to manoever carefully around me avoiding the wall opposite. He did it but not without some cursing and hand gestures suggesting I should have acquiesed to his obvious superior status and reveresed 500m back down the lane.
The fact that a solution (a third way) presented itself, requiring some skill, was oblivious to him, but since I acted first this required him to respond and although it wasn't easy it did work out.
I guess a lot of our suffering comes from not acting soon enough and perhaps not paying atttention to the wider picture of our lives. Happiness can be had, but you have to keep your eyes on the road and on the wider developments and use skillful means, even if that means hard work. If you look there is usually a third way present, that is if you are not solely focussed on your own desires and ambitions. Just a thought.

11-02-2011, 01:49 AM
How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?

It is funny to come onto this question right now. More and more I realize that I suck at choosing. My entire life I have given my best try at planning and thinking every option through before I make moves. However, over and over I get hit with a sack of crap right in the face every time by life. If I have learned anything, it is that at my age I can't waste any more time being unhappy. But it useless to force myself into what I think happiness may be. Therefore, I recently increased the amount of time I sit in Zazen everyday. That is my answer.

11-02-2011, 06:15 AM
Hello everyone,
thank you Rimon,

How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?

I have been a deep thinker in a former life (some 20 years ago), carefully collecting all available info even for smallest decisions, evaluating careful, weighting certain facts higher than others and considering possible outcome in depth. It drove me crazy (not literally, fortunately), and overall it in no way was advantageous.
Learning to trust my intention, just doing on a case by case basis, offers an immense freedom, and peace (well, not always, I can be pretty excited). Of course, when things "go wrong" and I hear a certain person in my environment saying "Didnt you think about that beforehand" ... thats nagging a bit. But I'm sure, the main road is intuition, watching myself, watching the result, the rest happens automatically. I'm sure I work without the "mind discussion". So, I have no criterion, at least none I could name.

11-02-2011, 10:16 AM
Rimon wrote:
How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?

Good intentions... #2 of the Eightfold Path. Many thanks for an excellent question.
Gassho Shogen

11-03-2011, 02:59 AM
How do you decide whether to accept things as they are or trying to change them? What is your main criterion?

I'm trained as a researcher and thus I tend to research the death out of many decisions...but then something just grabs me...and I'm off. Sort of as if the intellect works on my intuition.

I think the answer is to work on positive change, but know that there is nothing to change. Wage the battle (as a figure of speech), but be at peace. I too enjoyed the answer of the Buddha here, himself actively searching for happiness...of course in a different way that what we normally think.