Looking Up – Giving Up

I am still contemplating the Bodhisattva Vows in connection with ‘Goal of goallessness’ which was part of a conversation I was sitting in on the other week. One of the difficulties with appreciating the vows, the depth and profundity of them, is that we inevitably view them from our own individual and very personal perspective. Where else would we encounter them or any other part of our lives? This can and does change as gradually meditation/giving takes center stage. As was said, The vows give a direction to practice – altruism for example. The vows are obviously not something to aim for in terms of a goal to reach or an unimaginably high standard to aspire to. Such an aspiration, though understandable, ultimately fails us which leads to disappointment. Over many years of sincere practice the constant sense of failing oneself breeds a sad disappointment which ultimately has one giving up practice.

There is however a way that one ‘gives up’ which is very positive and productive spiritually. A looking-up-giving-up which sounds mad I know. So gradually it’s a matter of seeing the striving habit and the futility of it, in all spheres of life, which brings one to the JUST of ‘just sitting’, just walking, just sewing etc. That’s what I’d call ‘living the vow’ or at least one way of talking about it.

Many thanks to Andy who left a comment recently. It inspired me to write a bit more about vows and their place in religious practice.

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2 thoughts on “Looking Up – Giving Up”

  1. Hi Reverend Mugo

    Thank you for the post about the Bodhisattva vows and their place in practice. Your cautionary comments about the relationship between aspirations and disappointment certainly seems to be appropriate to my situation, whereby doubt and something like a sense of unworthiness seems to frequently take hold and hinder practice. Your observation puts me in mind of the lines from the Sandokai…. “Here born we clutch at things and then compound delusion later on by following ideals.”. I am also minded of the middle way and the Buddha’s analogy of lute strings being either too taut or slack and also the encouraging final stanza of the Scripture of Great Wisdom. If I have got any of this “right” then I am beginning to realise that buddhist practice ain’t for the faint-hearted!

    Good wishes


  2. Yes, I’d say you are spot on here Andy. Practice is most certainly not for the faint-hearted although many started out that way! There is something that pulls one onwards in spite of feeling like turning back at times. Good going on.

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