Friday, October 28, 2011

Study Hall

Diligence has always been a resonant word in my practice vocabulary; I even have hanging on my wall a calligraphy by Daigaku of 'shojin', which I believe is the usual translation of diligence in lists like the six paramitas. Dzogchen Ponlop Rinpoche refers to these as 'transcendent practices', and this is part of what he says about diligence in Rebel Buddha:
"Ordinarily, we equate diligence with a lot of effort. On the one hand, there's a sense of physical or mental sweat. On the other, there's a sense of being a good, industrious boy or girl - we're working hard toward a goal and not letting up. But being diligent on our spiritual path does not mean that we're meditating for hours, vacuuming the shrine room, and serving meals at a homeless shelter all in one day. Transcendent diligence means that we take whatever opportunities we have to practice, and we do those practices with a sense of appreciation and delight. In this sense, diligence is energy, the power that makes everything happen. It's like the wind, a driving force that keeps us moving along the path. Where does this energy come from? It comes from the enjoyment and satisfaction we experience as we get further into our path.
The primary obstacle to diligence is, of course, laziness - the absence of energy. One problem with laziness is that it takes up so much time. Think how much time taking it easy or spacing out requires. The problem with activities like going to the beach or hanging out is not that they're negative; it's our attachment to them. I'm sure more people go to the 'beach' that's a state of mind than to all the resorts in Mexico".
Well, speaking for myself, I am getting plenty of opportunities for practice, with the jukai this evening and Sejiki on Monday, and since, as I mentioned in a recent comment, tomorrow is my first free Saturday afternoon of the month, and with the weather being as it is, I am quite attached to the idea of going to the beach. The actual beach, and the state of mind.

Shojin, or diligence, by Daigaku

The sky during soji - I was aiming for some crows, but they are barely visible

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