My first blog post is inspired (with some generous "concept borrowing") by Rev. Koyo Kubose's Dharma talk today (11/28/10) at The Bright Dawn Sangha (through Blog Talk Radio) http://brightdawnsangha.ning.com.
Those that think there is a solution to life aren't aware of what life is. There are solutions to different challenges and problems in life, but life itself has no solution. Life just is. Life gets painful (or life is suffering - the bad news of Buddhism) when we think the whole thing is supposed to be perfect, or even think the whole life thing is something you can work out.
It ain't true. Life is things as they are. Period. Meaning life isn't things as we hope they will be, wish they will be, pray they will be, or will they will be. It's just things as they are. That is my intent for this blog: reflections on things as they are. Hopefully, in the course of this blog, I will forgo the temptation to romanticize, or revert to my natural inclination to be a motivational speaker - or bit of a preacher - but, instead, reflect on things as they are.
There are a bunch of incidents in life we struggle with, work through, and sometimes solve. Sometimes we don't solve them; sometimes they just go away. But in the end, the incidents themselves don't cause suffering, it's the connection or clinging to the fact that they showed up in the first place - and are trying to make them go away (or stay) - that causes suffering.
The suffering is diminished when you remove yourself from the yourself IN your life - when you stop trying to control, steer, solve every little thing - and begin living with a bigger perspective. The good news of Dharma/Buddhism is what Rev. Koyo talked about as "giving up self efficacy".
Yes, you have some degree of control in handling life's incidents, but life isn't an incident. Life is the overall, dynamic flow of you living your life as a human being, not as some perfect being with omniscience and omnipotence. I know from personal experience that suffering is diminished when you take this broader view that gives you the space to be a regular ol' human being. Oh, what a relief that is!
Rev. Gyomay Kubose (Rev. Koyo's father) said that when you realize the limitations of yourself, that realization IS "Other Power" in the Jodo Shin Buddhist sense. When you live at peace with your limitations then you live as your true self. Self Power IS Other Power. It takes self power to allow yourself the freedom of active acceptance. Acceptance is not giving up, but opening yourself to your true life as your human self, complete with flaws and misgivings.
This is what Rev. Gyomay Kubose taught when he said "Acceptance IS transcendence". That phrase empowers me. Sounds contradictory doesn't it? But I am truly empowered whenever I allow myself to drop my sense of control - my power - over circumstances, events, and other people. That sense of control is an illusion, so why do I cling to it?
Yes, Buddhism is a DYI philosophy - you ARE trying to better yourself - you aren't being nihilistic saying: "Yes I'm selfish, but that's just the way I am. Deal with it." The key distinguishing point here is giving yourself the space to be human...to be selfish, to be a procrastinator...to be fat, short, clumsy, broke, resentful, jealous, judgmental, envious...whatever. In that space, you will find the peace to solve whatever comes up in the moment and maybe even transcend a life-long character flaw.
When you give yourself the gift of active acceptance, you will still have to deal with the "stuff" of life, but you will have given yourself the freedom to transcend the struggles and pain that comes with trying to control them to make everything right, perfect, comfortable.
About these blog posts
A mix of older posts I wrote for the blog, Suchness: It's All Good - Buddhist Ramblings, LinkedIn articles, and Career Coaching blog posts.