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Thread: Minimalist Buddhism

  1. #1
    Member Roland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium

    Minimalist Buddhism

    So I tried for the second time to participate in Ango and Jukai, and just like last year I feel I simply failed.

    I'm a journalist in Brussels, Belgium, and I could say the reason I failed is because I worked very hard covering the terror attacks and terror scare, and covering so many other stuff along the way.
    But then again I've always been hard working, so maybe the excuse is not that very valid as it's finally a personal choice.

    However, I stand by my choice. Journalism is what I do and it seems I cannot stop doing it unless someone does something very drastic. The consequence is that I tend to feel overwhelmed when trying to take up another challenge. Seemingly simple things such as sewing or participating in a zazenkai are simply too much.

    So I decided to limit myself to my very modest sitting (15-20 minutes before I go to bed), occasionally reading some books or texts, strolling through these wonderful forums here without having much to add. I refrain from drinking hard or eating meat (something I started doing seriously during my first Ango attempt), I try to support good causes and to see through the everyday illusions in order to be serene and kind when dealing with other people. Sometimes I think I'm getting better doing that, thanks to the sitting. It's very little, and I call it my minimalist Buddhism.

    So I'm sorry if I turned up again to participate in the Ango and Jukai only to go silent, after a short while. I should have known better. Please know that I'm deeply grateful for this community to exist - it enables me to continue my minimalist Buddhism.

    Gassho,
    Roland
    #SatToday

  2. #2
    Thank you for your practice. A great teacher once said 'More practice is necessary '

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  3. #3
    Our green little friend says it well, "Do. Or do not. There is no try". Balance comes within and it is up to you where that balance is. =)



    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  4. #4
    Roland, you sound like me, with ADHD I have started many more things than I have finished over the years. I didn't expect that I would become so involved in Treeleaf when I joined, but apparently the time was just right... given my childrens' ages, and just a void in my life that was ready to be filled. At some point it may become "your time" too, but this fall perhaps was not it. Let your "minimalist Buddhism" gradually seep into your bones the way a river smooths stones, slowly and naturally and we are here all the time regardless of whether you sew a Rakusu or not.

    Thanks for being so reliable with the Treeleaf Facebook page, I have rarely seen you miss a post.

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Roland View Post
    So I tried for the second time to participate in Ango and Jukai, and just like last year I feel I simply failed.

    I'm a journalist in Brussels, Belgium, and I could say the reason I failed is because I worked very hard covering the terror attacks and terror scare, and covering so many other stuff along the way.
    But then again I've always been hard working, so maybe the excuse is not that very valid as it's finally a personal choice.
    ...


    So I decided to limit myself to my very modest sitting (15-20 minutes before I go to bed), occasionally reading some books or texts, strolling through these wonderful forums here without having much to add. I refrain from drinking hard or eating meat (something I started doing seriously during my first Ango attempt), I try to support good causes and to see through the everyday illusions in order to be serene and kind when dealing with other people. Sometimes I think I'm getting better doing that, thanks to the sitting. It's very little, and I call it my minimalist Buddhism.

    This sounds like a good Practice. Just do that. It is enough.

    Your journalism can be the place for bringing Wisdom and Compassion too, somehow seeing "through" all the anger and violence of events such as "terror attacks" and other sometime ugliness of this planet. As ugly as the world seems for a journalist sometimes, please see something which somehow sweeps through and away all human "ugly" and "beautiful". Your job seems like a powerful "Dojo" for practice in bring Buddhist Teachings out into the ups and downs of life, realizing "where the rubber meets the road" (you know the English saying?) of Zen Practice. Each article you write is a kind of "stitch" in the Rakusu. It is enough.

    And if sometime in the future, attending a Retreat, reflecting on the Precepts, sewing a Rakusu of cloth, joining in Ango or Jukai is what is right ... or living in a monastery or as a hermit in a grass hut ... just do that. Each always is open to you, and all are also then enough.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-17-2015 at 03:03 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Hi Roland,

    You seem pretty cool to me.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  7. #7
    Having and re-having the intention to increase one's practice can never be failure, can it? I hold a shimmery vision somewhere in my head of a life where I spring out of bed and onto my zafu each morning, mindfully proceed through my day in a kind of minimally-furnished Japanese-style trance of metta and yoga pants, pausing only to oryoki myself a healthy miso-based lunch, contemplate a teaching and impart calm insightful wisdom to my children. In reality I quite often completely forget about Zen until lunchtime, fail to sit at all, shovel down toast, spend way too long fretting about my career choices and berating myself for failing once again to 'do it right'.

    But then again, I no longer smoke or drink, I've found a sangha, I sometimes remember to Insta-Zazen in the carpark and I'm pretty sure I'm less controlled by my emotions that I used to be, I remember to feed the kids and the cat and although I still suffer with depression I largely manage it. If I'm more aware that I'm 'falling short' it's because I'm more aware of the good intentions I had in the first place. Sure, every 'I'm doing better' is accompanied by a 'still not good enough' - but I think I have to smile [or grimace] and let that go. We just have to keep on plodding, surely, and be kind to ourselves in recognising when we're plodding vaguely in the right direction?

    [I hope.]

    Gassho,
    Libby
    sat today

  8. #8
    Hi Roland,

    your practice sounds just fine,

    I'm sure it's so for most folks here.



    Willow

    sat today

  9. #9
    +1 what Libby said. If your attempts and "failures" stoke your way-seeking mind, perhaps they are more beneficial to your life that seeing something through to its planned end. I'd much rather be inspired to do good simply by carrying around a copy of the Shobogenzo rather than fall asleep after reading half a page. I swear that's never happened...

    Gassho,
    Matt
    SatToday

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Having and re-having the intention to increase one's practice can never be failure, can it? I hold a shimmery vision somewhere in my head of a life where I spring out of bed and onto my zafu each morning, mindfully proceed through my day in a kind of minimally-furnished Japanese-style trance of metta and yoga pants, pausing only to oryoki myself a healthy miso-based lunch, contemplate a teaching and impart calm insightful wisdom to my children. In reality I quite often completely forget about Zen until lunchtime, fail to sit at all, shovel down toast, spend way too long fretting about my career choices and berating myself for failing once again to 'do it right'.

    But then again, I no longer smoke or drink, I've found a sangha, I sometimes remember to Insta-Zazen in the carpark and I'm pretty sure I'm less controlled by my emotions that I used to be, I remember to feed the kids and the cat and although I still suffer with depression I largely manage it. If I'm more aware that I'm 'falling short' it's because I'm more aware of the good intentions I had in the first place. Sure, every 'I'm doing better' is accompanied by a 'still not good enough' - but I think I have to smile [or grimace] and let that go. We just have to keep on plodding, surely, and be kind to ourselves in recognising when we're plodding vaguely in the right direction?

    [I hope.]

    Gassho,
    Libby
    sat today
    Yes! This.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Libby View Post
    Having and re-having the intention to increase one's practice can never be failure, can it? I hold a shimmery vision somewhere in my head of a life where I spring out of bed and onto my zafu each morning, mindfully proceed through my day in a kind of minimally-furnished Japanese-style trance of metta and yoga pants, pausing only to oryoki myself a healthy miso-based lunch, contemplate a teaching and impart calm insightful wisdom to my children. In reality I quite often completely forget about Zen until lunchtime, fail to sit at all, shovel down toast, spend way too long fretting about my career choices and berating myself for failing once again to 'do it right'.

    But then again, I no longer smoke or drink, I've found a sangha, I sometimes remember to Insta-Zazen in the carpark and I'm pretty sure I'm less controlled by my emotions that I used to be, I remember to feed the kids and the cat and although I still suffer with depression I largely manage it. If I'm more aware that I'm 'falling short' it's because I'm more aware of the good intentions I had in the first place. Sure, every 'I'm doing better' is accompanied by a 'still not good enough' - but I think I have to smile [or grimace] and let that go. We just have to keep on plodding, surely, and be kind to ourselves in recognising when we're plodding vaguely in the right direction?

    [I hope.]

    Gassho,
    Libby
    sat today
    Nice Libby.

    We're all with you Roland, probably most of us doing the same thing. The only thing I'd add to Libby's thoughts: I'd say that we do fail (not that she's saying we don't). We should acknowledge that. I thank you for acknowledging it. That's intimacy. Sharing our failures, being intimate with our failures. I failed relentlessly this Ango. We fail over and over and over again in our living and practice. And then we have some success. And then we fail again. Up and down, nothing wrong, but through practice getting more intimate with the process. I think through sitting with our failures and successes, we get more intimate with ourselves and others - everyone goes through life like this. And then maybe, over time, we learn to do just what we do. Doing what we do becomes our practice. It comes more easily because we failed so much. Now eyes do their looking, ears do their hearing, sitting does its sitting, you do your job, I do my job. And maybe over time: no success, no failure, no right direction, no wrong direction. I think that's the most intimate.

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Member Roland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium

    Minimalist Buddhism

    Thank you Jundo and fellow students for your kind and encouraging words. [muchmorehappy]

    Gassho
    Roland
    #SatToday

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    That's intimacy. Sharing our failures, being intimate with our failures.
    That's a nice thought Alan. Thanks for formulating and expressing it.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post
    That's intimacy. Sharing our failures, being intimate with our failures.
    I too really like this expression, thank you Alan. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday

  16. #16
    Hi Roland,

    I spent about 20 years working in newspapers, journals and written press. I used to cover business and industry news, nothing political or the like. I remember how tiring it all was and I found it specially hard to write about how companies created the need for useless stuff in our minds. And it all kept me busy and awake at nights working and pondering a lot of things.

    So, even at a personal and small scale, I know how that feels.

    However, your practice is precious. Sometimes practice is work and keeping people informed. And that's fine as long as you sit and keep the dharma in your heart.

    Thank you for your sincerity and practice

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  17. #17
    Opportunities for practice are everywhere... you can't shake them if you try.

    Gassho, Entai
    #SatToday

    泰 Entai (Bill)
    "this is not a dress rehearsal"

  18. #18
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Entai View Post
    Opportunities for practice are everywhere... you can't shake them if you try.

    Gassho, Entai
    #SatToday

    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)
    Absolutely! Bodhisattva Work!

    And I recall, having volunteered in a medical facility for a few years, how all the staff, cooks and maintenance crew contributed to the positive and supportive atmosphere in the place. Even behind the scenes, so much work to bring comfort to folks in need.

    Frankly, better place to Practice Buddhism than just sitting on a Zafu! (Better said, both aspects of Practice needed and good and supportive of each other too).

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-20-2015 at 02:27 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)
    You will do well. I have observed your kindness and understanding in this Sangha, you will be a light to those you come in contact with.

    Gassho
    Randy
    sattody

  21. #21
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Calm Heart View Post
    You will do well. I have observed your kindness and understanding in this Sangha, you will be a light to those you come in contact with.

    Gassho
    Randy
    sattody
    Thank you, Randy. That is very kind. Funny, as I have thought the same about you.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)
    You will find it delightful.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  23. #23
    Joyo
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    You will find it delightful.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    Thank you, Jishin. I appreciate that =)

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.
    That you're nervous means you care - your attitude about the new job is the attitude I want to bring to all things.

    And thanks Jishin and Shingen. I'm pretty intimate with failure (need an emoticon here of a smiley face dropping a cup of coffee and then shrugging).

    Gassho,
    Alan
    sat today
    Shōmon

  25. #25
    Dear Joyo,

    It takes great courage to deliberately go into a situation where we know we will encounter overt suffering. After all, most people spend a great deal of effort avoiding even the thought of old age, sickness and death. Some would go into a job like this with defenses already in place so as not to let it touch them. You have an open heart and mind that will serve you well. This is what makes all of life, practice. I know you will be a help, comfort, and inspiration to those around you, as you always are here with the Sangha. Good luck and congrats on your new job. Work happy!

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  26. #26
    Roland, your practice isn't "very little" - with a sincere heart, that 15 minutes encompasses the whole world. Remember that Dogen said even a moment of zazen is a treasure house.

    Remember also we are busy householders, not cave monks!

    -satToday
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  27. #27
    The awareness and compassion in this thread is so touching... I really have grown to love all you wonderful people... Joyo, as Randy said earlier, you will bring peace and light wherever you go. Enjoy your new job!

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)

    Congratulations on your new bodhisattva work. You will do just fine.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

  29. #29
    Joyo,
    I'm sure you'll do great!
    Remember that with any job that deals with the suffering of others, it's vital to take care of yourself as well. It's easy to forget that.

    Deep bows,
    Entai
    #SatToday

    泰 Entai (Bill)
    "this is not a dress rehearsal"

  30. #30
    Joyo
    Guest
    Thank you everyone for your kind words. I am really honoured and feel very encouraged about my new job now.

    Roland, I am sorry for taking over your thread though.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  31. #31
    Joyo, Just the fact that you realize the job is a opportunity to practice says you're doing it right. To deal with your nervousness, remember the patients lying around all day sick and maybe dying in a strange place being poked, probed and jabbed.

    Gassho,
    Sat today
    James

  32. #32
    Kyotai
    Guest
    Good luck Joyo. You will do awesome.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today

  33. #33
    Hi.

    Done right, its all good practice.
    Thank you for your practice, Roland, Joyo and others.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

    #Sat2day

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    How true. This is a little off topic, but I start a new job in the New Year. I am going to be working in the hospital, cleaning rooms and doing laundry. I'm very nervous about it. I will be around sick people and see a lot of sadness, I"m sure. But if viewed as an opportunity to practice, suddenly it has a whole new light shed on it, as does every situation, whether a journalist, or anything else.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today (and about to do a "cooking" meditation, another opportunity for practice)
    And a very good practice If I may add. My father had a major stroke last week and he's home now on hospice and my brother and I are taking care of him. I take care of him during the day and my brother at night. I sit for 15 min each day, most times, but as Jundo pointed out this is my practice and trust me when I tell you that I understand what he means. Everything I've learned up to this point plus things that I've yet to learn are happening to/for me now.

    Congratulations and good luck with your new job, you are going to do a great job

    Gassho

    Clarisse Sat2Day




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  35. #35
    Don't beat yourself up or call yourself a failure because you're not "failing" at anything. Every perceived "failure" is an opportunity to start again or to do something differently. The person who fails is the person who never starts or even try - you tried. Simply practice at your own pace because there is no testing or grading here and life happens. Take small bites and complete the things you want to do little by little and at some point you'll look back and see that everything you wanted to do is already done. Encouragement

    Gassho

    Clarisse Sat2Day


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  36. #36
    Clarisse, metta to you and your family as you support your dad.

    Gassho
    Randy
    sattoday

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Calm Heart View Post
    Clarisse, metta to you and your family as you support your dad.

    Gassho
    Randy
    sattoday
    Will dedicate tonights zazenkai to you, your Dad, and your family Clarisse.

    Gassho
    Shngen

    #sattoday

  38. #38
    Thanks you Randy and Shingen.

    Metta

    Gassho

    Clarisse Sat2Day


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by CK732 View Post
    Don't beat yourself up or call yourself a failure because you're not "failing" at anything. Every perceived "failure" is an opportunity to start again or to do something differently. The person who fails is the person who never starts or even try - you tried. Simply practice at your own pace because there is no testing or grading here and life happens. Take small bites and complete the things you want to do little by little and at some point you'll look back and see that everything you wanted to do is already done. Encouragement

    Gassho

    Clarisse Sat2Day


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Such great advice as always, Clarisse, thank you for this!

    Sitting with you and sending a good thought for your family, much love, and metta.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today

  40. #40
    Oh dear, sorry to hear that about your father Clarisse :-( Sending metta for you and your family, and hang in there, to say this is a difficult time is probably a massive understatement. Take care of yourselves too!

    Gassho,
    Sierra
    SatToday

  41. #41
    Thank you Lisa and Sierra. Being a member of this Zendo means a lot to me. There's more kindness and support here than in my neighborhood and that's scary. Thank you to everyone who are sitting for my dad my goal right now is to help him leave well. He knows that he is loved and cared for (I'm doing my best) now it's up to him and I'll be at his side until the very end. Metta to you all

    Gassho

    Clarisse


    Sat2Day

  42. #42
    Joyo
    Guest
    Hi Clarisse, I too will sit and chant metta for your dad and your family.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  43. #43
    Member Roland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Brussels and Antwerp, Belgium
    Clarisse, sitting with you and sending metta.

    Gassho,

    Roland
    #SatToday

  44. #44
    Don't feel alone. I've been here a couple years and I fail continuously. I too wanted to be more active in the sangha this Ango, and ended up spending less time than ever. As Fugen and Jundo have already stated, it's all good practice. Yesterday I started getting angry because I couldn't find a spot to set up my alter and cushions. Then after a few moments I laughed at the absurdity of being angry about my altar...the story of my life.

    Anyway it sounds as if you've had an exciting few months! Here's to a new year full of minimalist buddhism and good new stories!

    _/|\_
    If I'm already enlightened why the hell is this so hard?

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