Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Seeking Peace and Calm

There's nothing that does not grow light
through habit and familiarity,
putting up with little cares,
I'll train myself to bear with great adversity.

I've been working with these lines from Shantidevafor about four years now. In order to keep them with me daily, I chant them silently to myself as I brush my teeth every night before bed (for the most part).

Those "little cares" that arrive in our lives have the ability to muck things up greatly, if we can't meet them as they are in the moment. The pain in your back, for example, easily can lead to tension, and then irritation, and then angry acting out of some kind. So it often goes.

Many people come to Buddhism seeking relief from all of this. Seeking something they call peace and calm. But how many of us really understand what calm and peace actually are? It's easy to mistake "relaxed dullness" found through things like television, drinking, eating, and other such commonplace activities, as peace and calm. In fact, such dullness can become so pervasive in your life that you fail to notice the presence of actual calm and actual peace.

I used to meditate like mad, trying to break through the dullness, thinking zazen was kind of an endurance contest I had to win somehow. In this, there was no room for the world to fully enter, no room for the peace and calm that comes when being "confirmed by the ten thousand things" as Dogen once said.


Anonymous said...

Yes, well perhaps you should actually find "peace and calm" before you attempt to push your idea of what it is onto other people.

If you must act as a mouthpiece for the dharma, we would prefer that you had something real to say about it.

That is just a quick tip from someone who's been practicing a hell of a lot longer than you.

And in that regard, it would benefit you to be open to that which has come before you, instead of pouting and stamping your feet like an indignant toddler whenever you are presented with something outside your comfort zone. As a student of the Japanese tradition, you should already understand that kind of relationship quite clearly, if you are actually serious about such matters.

At this time, I will step aside and allow nature to take its course with you - for better or worse. Good bye and good luck.

Nathan said...

Who is this "we"? It sounds more like "you" really dislike this post. And perhaps more, since I've received comments like this one before.

If you think I am such an ignorant toddler, please stop visiting. I don't know why you think such an arrogant comment would somehow elicit anything beneficial.

Anonymous said...

Hello Nathan,

I just want to say how much I enjoy your ongoing investigation of your spiritual journey and our collective one..... and I support you in that with a lot of gratitude because I know some of the challenges that face us when we go public with our Beings in this way.

You rock!


Nathan said...

Thanks Kyla!