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Thread: Grass Hut - 2 - Living Lightly On The Land

  1. #1

    Grass Hut - 2 - Living Lightly On The Land

    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 ...



    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/showt...ses-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
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-24-2015 at 03:29 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    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 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
    Last edited by Josan; 03-15-2015 at 05:24 PM.

  3. #3
    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

  4. #4

    Grass Hut - 2 - Living Lightly On The Land

    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\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 03-15-2015 at 11:52 PM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    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
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Myosha View Post
    * frames crotch and smiles *


    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Ears can see and eyes can hear.

    Bang bang. Dead on the spot.



    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  7. #7
    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...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    - 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.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - 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

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - 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
    Last edited by Daiyo; 03-16-2015 at 05:27 PM.
    Gassho,Walter

  9. #9
    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...ery-month.html

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

    #sat2day

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    - 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

  11. #11
    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
    Last edited by Myosha; 03-17-2015 at 04:03 AM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  12. #12
    Kyotai
    Guest
    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

  13. #13
    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
    Last edited by bcaruthers; 03-17-2015 at 04:04 AM.
    “And though it is like this, it is only that flowers, while loved, fall; and weeds while hated, flourish." ~ Dogen Zenji ~

  14. #14

    Grass Hut - 2 - Living Lightly On The Land

    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\_
    Last edited by Jishin; 03-17-2015 at 02:05 PM.

  15. #15
    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

  16. #16
    Crystal clear, Jishin.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    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
    Gassho,Walter

  17. #17
    Kyotai
    Guest
    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
    Last edited by Kyotai; 03-17-2015 at 02:59 PM.

  18. #18
    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

  19. #19
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    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

  20. #20
    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

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Kyotai View Post
    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

  22. #22
    I live in a van. I have few possessions. I burn a lot of diesel fuel.

    Gassho

    Sat Today

  23. #23
    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\_

  24. #24
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Shingen View Post
    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

  25. #25
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    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

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    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\_

  27. #27
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    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

  28. #28
    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
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post

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


    Gassho, Jishin, _/st\_

  30. #30
    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...!

    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...

    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 . 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
    Last edited by Anshu Bryson; 03-18-2015 at 05:37 AM.

  31. #31
    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
    Last edited by Kokuu; 03-18-2015 at 07:57 AM.

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    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"


    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...?")

    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
    Last edited by Anshu Bryson; 03-18-2015 at 08:08 AM.

  33. #33
    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

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    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

  35. #35

    Grass Hut - 2 - Living Lightly On The Land

    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

  36. #36
    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
    Last edited by Jinyo; 03-18-2015 at 11:03 AM.

  37. #37
    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 here, for those who are interested.

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

    Gassho,


    Ongen / Vincent
    Sat Today
    Last edited by Ongen; 03-18-2015 at 11:29 AM.
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  38. #38
    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.



    Matt
    #SatToday

  39. #39
    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

  40. #40
    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\_

  41. #41
    Kyotai
    Guest
    That is a wonderful thing Jishin

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  42. #42
    ..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.
    Last edited by Ed; 03-18-2015 at 05:49 PM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  43. #43
    Thank you, Ed

    Gassho

    Ongen / vincent

    Sat today


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  44. #44
    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-a...unciation.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=i...ishige&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/tipit....054.than.html

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 03-18-2015 at 06:51 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #45
    Thank you, Jundo

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat today

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    ..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.




    Daizan

    sat today

  47. #47
    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

  48. #48
    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. Would I die without it? No. But I'd like to keep at my talents and sharing them with others.


    Gassho,
    Stacy

    #SatToday
    Last edited by Stacy; 03-18-2015 at 09:13 PM.

  49. #49
    Joyo
    Guest
    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

  50. #50
    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
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

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