Wednesday, August 06, 2008

That's Why it's Called A Practice

Knitter/spinner/farmer extraordinaire, the blogless Janine and I have been having a sporadic but ongoing conversation about whether or not it is useful to have specific spiritual guidelines in life, i.e. Buddhist precepts or the Ten Commandments or what-have-you. Mainly we have been focusing on Buddhist precepts since that is what interests me most and, despite a childhood of lackadaisical Episcopalian-ism, I know little about Christianity. If I understand Janine correctly, her belief is that these sorts of rules end up binding a person so that one is more worried about keeping with the rules than living life to its fullest, enjoying each moment and getting the day's work done (and if you knew what Janine's day's work was like, you would listen up when she speaks!).

My world is a little hazier than Janine's world. I have many uncertainties everyday so I like having some rough guidelines, or even some fairly specific guidelines. I have been reading The Heart of Being: Moral and Ethical Teaching of Zen Buddhism by John Daido Loori, which is an in-depth look at the precepts: their meaning and purpose. He encourages the reader to take up the precepts as a way of living but to go ahead and push their boundaries, explore their edges. I think what I am finding is that when I push the edge so far that I am outside of the boundary, it feels distinctly uncomfortable. It isn't a feeling of guilt at breaking a rule, after all who knows if what I am doing is going "against" something besides myself? Who cares? It is more that I simply don't like what I find there and I feel yucky. I'll have to check back to see if the Buddha used that term, it may have come later.

Experiencing that yucky feeling usually doesn't mean I stop pushing, however. I am a very slow learner in these areas and often I hear words coming out of my mouth that, a second later, make me think "damn! did it again!" Always a second too late with the realization.

Words, mouth, mind, thoughts, blog.

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