Judgmentalism – Not a Sport to Pursue

The moon from a roof terrace, Harrogate Yorkshire.
The moon from a roof terrace, Harrogate Yorkshire.

The following is a quote from a comment left some time ago now. I’ve been sitting with what to say in answer especially as the book referenced in the comment left me…not hanging in uncertainty as the write says of herself below, just a tad perplexed.

Recently I’ve been reading material that deals with the realization of our desires, and have been trying to reconcile it with the Buddhist position of no desire, and I guess I could say that I’m hanging in uncertainty! I think that one can only live in the present, and that breathing and accepting what one is experiencing in that moment (even though you “want” more) is the only way to live. I’ve come a long way in coming to this understanding…..(here follows a quote from a book)

Frankly I don’t visit the spiritual section or self help section or even the religious/Buddhist section in bookstores and only very rarely visit on-line stores. So my perplexedness is now realizing there is a whole huge world of material out there about getting what one wants, or the realization of our desires which seems to have gone to a whole new level! Frankly, and I know this is an unpopular thought, I’d say it is best to walk past, walk outside and take some sunshine in a nearby park instead of leafing through books such as these.

And yet, and perhaps, it is through such material people come to practice in a faith tradition or take their spiritual understanding deeper as the writer above has done and says as much too. I’ve come a long way in coming to this understanding….(spiritual understanding), and I know she has. And if I cast my mind back pre-monasticism, and am honest, I too read widely in search of answers to the big questions. Perhaps it was part of refining what it was that I REALLY wanted. Then found it, not in a book!

As for the subject of desire in Buddhist teaching. Suffering, the first of the Four Nobel Truths is caused primarily, but not exclusively, by tanha which is translated as thirst, desire or craving. As long as we are flesh and blood and however enlightened we might be, desire will arise. It is the thirsting after that which we desire (even holy matters) which is the continuation of suffering. The sad thing is that however much we get what we desire it is never enough. There are always more subtle desires, or not so subtle ones to pursue. Endlessly. Wanting is a wily beast! As the thirsting after is seen, and seen for what it is, yes indeed ones desires/needs/wants become fewer and perhaps more basic to survival. But self judgment and judgment of others around the subject of, the level of and the content of desire is a sport best let go of very quickly indeed! And constantly.

Last evening I enjoyed a lovely evening meal on, or in, a tiny roof terrace hosted by a sangha member and his wife. As the evening wore on the light dimmed to navy and the moon popped over the roof tops asking to be recorded. Thank you both so very much.

Seeing – Looking

The Art of Looking, a book reviewed extensively in Brain Pickings might at first glance appear a bit off topic in terms of Buddhist practice. However read on, take a look! There is talk of presence and paying attention and noticing. Although I have not had a chance to read all of the article quite yet what I have read resonates.

One of our senior monks will talk about perception from time to time. Our ears know how to hear, our eyes know how to see. What is needed is to loosen our tendency to go out there hunting. Indeed, more and more I am realizing one need not go out there seeking with ones eyes or ears or any of the other senses – what is there comes in!

Buddhist News Site

The Latest Buddhist News website has links to Buddhist related sites, talks, videos and of course….news. I bumped into the site as they linked to yesterdays post which was good of them. Or maybe somebody who knows Jade requested that it be linked. It is possible. If it was you, thank you.

Faith/Trust – Buddhism is a Religion

Phew! I have just spent quite a lot of time writing a post for the Field of Merit website. I’m linking to the article here because our getting charitable status means a huge amount to me personally and to the project itself. There maybe something of interest and help in the article too. I’m talking about how on earth one proceeds with ones life, the details of ones life, in such a way that one keeps true to ones basic spiritual intention which is based on faith. Not a word that some people go for. Why not try the word trust instead.

There is a line in the commentary to the Kyojukaimon (The Giving and Receiving of the Precepts) that goes, *The Buddha lacks for nothing, yet needs something. The Buddha that is the Field of Merit lacks for nothing and all of us who are engaged with this initiative lack for nothing. All that is needed is present right now. Nonetheless here we are poised and ready to step forward having been awarded charitable status. In our hands is a piece of paper with our charity number on it and between now and the opening of a hermitage door for our first guest is uncharted territory or empty space. It would seem obvious that we now leap forward and ‘fund-raise’ in order to fill that space with the necessary funds. And in a very real and practical sense that is indeed the effort that is called for. The something the Buddha needs. However the way that is approached and implemented is crucial to the spiritual integrity of the project. Now, later and much later.

Taken from Unfolding the Buddhas Teaching – Field of Merit.

**See note at the bottom of the Field of Merit post for the correct version of the quote. I’d remembered wrongly however the point still holds true.

The Misguided Monk – Animation Video

A big thank you to Angie for pointing towards this charming short video. A reconnection with the warmth of companionship.