Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why practice?

Why practice mindfulness? Why step, stride, stumble along this path marked out by Siddhārtha Gautama 2,500 years ago?

Different traditions seem to have different answers. Different individuals have different answers. Presumably, they are really all the same answer.

Why practice?

  • To wake up. (I thought Suzuki Roshi might say this.)
  • To develop Compassion. (I thought the Dalai Lama might say this.)
  • To grasp ultimate reality. (Robert Thurman?)
  • To live with ease. (Sharon Salzberg?)
  • To become enlightened. (Whatever that means.)
  • To become lighter.
  • To be reborn in a happier form.
  • To cease to be reborn.
  • To suffer less from the slings and arrows of one's own arsenal.
  • To suffer less from slings and arrows period.
  • To be directed.
  • To be free.
  • To escape.
  • To return.
  • To crave less.
  • To crave but react less.
  • To relax.
  • To sleep better.
  • To sleep when one is asleep, to be awake when one is awake.
  • To become a buddha.
  • To be a buddha.
  • To become a bodhisatva.
  • To be a bodhisatva.

And why do I practice? All of the above.

But that answer is too easy. Sometimes I don't really know why I practice. But I think that Thay is on to something when he says, "Because I like it." Because it brings well-being. And that is the sum of the Buddha's way: if something increases well-being in you, keep doing it. If it increases ill-being in you, stop doing it (or at least do it less).

From a dharma talk given on June 11, 2009:

Why [do] you practice sitting meditation? The best answer is: Because I like it. Why do you practice walking meditation? Because I like it. . . . The practices of mindful walking, mindful breathing, smiling, bring well-being, happiness.
I like this. (Tee hee.) I guess in this instance, it is okay to have a preference. But this would be a deeply considered preference, not a conditioned preference. I guess.

Fodder for a future post ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment if you wish. All comments are reviewed before they are posted. If your comment is just for me, start with "Private only." If your comment is for public view, start with "Public OK." Thanks.