Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Abandon Laziness

We can never be sure how long we will be in the bardo of the living. No one can say. When and where we will die is always uncertain. It is completely unpredictable. No matter how rich or clever you are, you can never know how much longer you have to live. Since we're not sure how long this life will last, Guru Padmasambhava advises us to abandon laziness.

Now is the time to increase appreciation and gratitude for our life situation, to arouse ourselves and make a joyful effort to realize great results. We should develop confidence in our way and be happy in our endeavors. Don't just assume that you are worthless and incapable. Don't let this opportunity slip by and have cause for regret. Learn to work effectively, happily, and with commitment.

Venerable Khenchen Palden Sherab Rinpoche
from a commentary on Zhi-Khro

I love the energy of these two paragraphs. The bold, joyful, and resolute sense about it. No hesitation. No wasted words trying to mitigate worries or possible offenses.

Even though I have done a lot with my life already, and have a long resume filled with "good works," I sometimes struggle with laziness.

When laziness is considered as a form of unneeded delay, then I see it as a frequent "friend" hanging about this house of my life. Unneeded delay can appear in almost any form. It might look like the stereotypical forms. The lounging about. The not doing anything. The putting in no effort. I'm that person sometimes. For many of these days, though, it might be in the form of busy, of doing something called work, or even of doing spiritual practices, if they are done to avoid something else. I'm that person sometimes as well.

Noticing this is helpful in my opinion. Noticing without berating yourself. And yet also noticing without going too soft on yourself.

A lot of modern spiritual teachings stop at the not berating yourself, which I think is a mistake. Because our world is so full of distractions now that a person can learn to drop off the inner judgment, but still get lost amongst the tide of non-essentials coming their way.

Zen folks like to talk about discipline, but I don't think that's quite it. Commitment, with joy, seems more true to my ears. May we all tap into this along our various paths.


Anonymous said...

The farm crew chants this every morning:

"Now as we enter our day of activity,
fully engaged in helping others,
let us remember the one who is not busy,
and be free from self clinging."

I have no idea where it came from, thought the phrase "the one who is not busy" seems free from dust. Have y'all ever chanted this gatha?

Nathan said...

Sounds familiar. The one who is not busy is a line from a koan. We studied it awhile back. This is a talk our head teacher gave on it.