Monday, December 8, 2008

Commentary 1 about the Simple Mind

This site does not engage in "New Age" or other Spiritualities that fall outside of what is often considered the great religions of the world: Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and Judiaism.

Yep, that's still a whole lot of territory to cover. I restrict comments to these because they encompass most of all belief systems, both theistic and non-theistic. So you aren't going to find a lot of sentient beings or other such terms here. Just everyday simple talk.

Affirming the Practice Principles of the Ordinary Mind Zen School:
Caught in a dream of self--only suffering.
Holding to self-centered thoughts--exactly the dream.
Each moment, life as it is--the only Teacher.
Being just this moment--compassion's way.

Some writers and persons bandy about terms such as sentient being or transformation, and while these words have specific connotations within different spiritual traditions, they can be as much of a hindrance as a help in coming to understand ourselves, the world and the path, or the way in which we find ourselves.

I emphasize that the Simple Mind is a mind that values experience and recognizes the utility of words; but words are limited. Not all experiences can be easily reflected in words. Do not lose sight of experiences as the simple way of a Simple Mind.

The Ordinary Mind School refers to the dream but what is that? In the world there is everything, however we tend to make it into an "us or them" kind of place. We do not easily recognize that what happens to us really does happen to them! There is a connectedness or relationship to all things.

The tendency to see others in terms of what is going on in our own heads is a self centered activity. Have you ever had the experience that your friend, who is external to you, likes something or someone that you do not? How often do you say, "yuck! How could they?" Remember this is your mind, your thought.

Learning to have a simple mind is also recognizing these are our thoughts, and that what happens in our life is not the issue; there will always be something happening; these happenings will likely be a mix of what we like, and what we don't like. There is no time that this ceases.

By sitting quietly, we can develop and strengthen our mind; becoming more like a scientist, we become less caught up in words, notions or drama. We are more able to observe what's happening around us and bit by bit within us. The willingness and ability to do this increases with practice bit by bit over time.

In the end, it doesn't matter how we feel. Feeling jittery, frustrated, scared, angry, happy are all just words. What matters is that we can sit quietly with them little by little, more by more. Because they are our friends, they are us. Our practice is to look carefully, to experience to gain awareness. Letting go.

When recognize our ideals as notions, and guilt as blocking our ability to see and to learn, more and more we are able to learn. What can we learn? For example, if I say, "I just can't do that well," we become attached to the idea, the words, the notion of not doing, thereby blocking the opportunity to learn: We are already fine, good enough. Perfection isn't the goal here. We are able to recognize destructive things that we may have once done, but no more. Letting go.

When we're caught by these words, ideals, notions we suffer. Often we continue, and continue to suffer as in a dream. Waking up and seeing more clearly, we become more aware: each moment, life as it is the only Teacher. Be what ever is in this moment, that is kindness, Compassion's way, the way of no suffering. The practice of no practice.

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