Daily Tao

The Tao in Everyday Life

The Tao of Heaven

The Tao of Heaven is the Tao of Earth
The Tao of Earth is the Tao of Heaven
Between the two there is no difference
Only that of thinking


Trying to be what we are

It’s hard enough trying to be what we are
Without trying to be what we are not

Be like water

Be like water,
Lowly, yet mighty
Mindless, yet adaptive
Infinite, yet finite

To comprehend is not to comprehend

To comprehend is also not to comprehend
To assert is to deny
The Way is also No Way

The original sin

I am just this little old me, separate from everything else and everybody else.

More guilt

More guilt isn’t the answer.
Only more awareness.

Simplicity in Complexity

Sometimes spirituality is presented as something complex, to be mastered after years (decades) of rigorous practice but I think that in fact it’s about realising how blindingly simple it is to be spiritual, that it’s actually our natural state. In my opinion any teacher, leader, church or organisation that tries to over complicate the teachings of the great spiritual masters like Buddha or Jesus is not to be trusted.

What do you think ?

Zen: The Art of Asking the Right Questions

It seems many of us have a yearning need to find the answers to some of the most pressing  questions our thinking minds can conjure, to discover the meaning behind every one of our experiences…It seems that without these questions our lives become utterly meaningless:

  • What is the meaning of life ?
  • Why am I suffering ?
  • What was the purpose of God in creating mankind ?

In many ways these questions are understandable. But they can also become totally overwhelming because these questions are a product of our thinking mind and our thinking mind, even though exquisitely impressive on its own plane (that is the world of relativity) is sadly also the cause of much of our own suffering.

Zen is a very peculiar spiritual discipline, so unique in its approach that there have been numerous attempts to discredit it as not even part of the body of Buddhist teaching…True and False.  Because if Buddhist teaching is merely conforming with everything that is taught without the vaguest attempt at self questioning or self enquiry then that is true, it cannot be part of the Buddhist Canon. But if true Buddhist teaching is putting an end to all relative concepts, including indeed concepts of Buddhism, Zen or Buddha, then it most definitely is Buddhism !

For me Zen is really a form of psychotherapy (it is simply a corruption of the Sanskrit word dhyana which means meditation). Zen is a shift in perspective, seeing things not from the personal perspective anymore but from the impersonal, which, ultimately speaking,  is the Universal Self common to all living beings. Questions such as the above may only lead to more confusion and suffering (if not properly understood for Zen does make use of questions in the koan teaching technique)  so perhaps the only right question to ask is: “Why worry about questions ?”

On the Use of Technology

Since the mind can endlessly produce thoughts, clearly it has the potential to endlessly produce new products. Like thoughts, they may not necessarily be helpful or beneficial. In the past,technological culture-changers like the telephone and electricity took a long time to produce and cultures had more time to absorb and contemplate their impact. Now, especially with electronic media, new cultural and ethical values are being developed and challenged, and things are changing so fast that we have little time to contemplate and absorb their impact.

Like many other things, technology can serve us well or not serve us well. If we approach it with vision, we can utilize it. If we lack vision, technology can prey on us, detecting our weakness or lack of resolve, such as discursiveness or desire for gossip. Or it distracts us from nowness.

In this way, it seduces us for a few minutes, which become hours, days, months and years.

We can tell if we have been served well by technology if we feel uplifted, informed or delighted by it. These are signs that the encounter was virtuous. However, if we feel dull or disconnected, then clearly that technology has numbed our senses. We are mentally less sharp and emotionally distant. We know we were used by the technology, as opposed to using it, because it has drained our energy. Technology can be a great expeditor of virtue, or it can create negativity. With the telephone or email, we can easily comfort, console or celebrate with others. At the same time, because we are not face-to-face, we might say or do things that we would not normally say or do. Thus, our negativity can become exponential due to the effect and power of technology. We may also tend to hide behind the electronic medium because we are less exposed.

Even though technology has advanced our ability to communicate, the five basic parameters of karma are still in place: raising the intention, deciding to do the action, preparing to do the action, doing the action and having no regret. We can decide to either apologize or to chastise an individual, and once the “send” button is pushed, the karma has been initiated. Afterward, if we sit there satisfied, it is a complete karmic act. That action does not go unnoticed.

In the modern era we need to be even more convinced of virtue, having resolve in terms of who we are and how we want to manifest. Generally, the best approach with technology is to consider our dignity and concern for others.

Thus, as we produce new programs for our laptops and applications for our smartphones, the principles of virtue must be clear in our minds. The point is to cherish the mind and not abuse it. If we remain mindful of our principles and priorities, just as we do in meditation, we can use technology to awaken our discipline and dignity, instead of letting it take over our lives.

The above is an excerpt from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s new book, ‘The Shambhala Principle’ (Harmony, May 2013) – Thanks to the Huffington Post and https://www.facebook.com/ArtofDharma

Knowing Self, Knowing Others

Knowing others is Wisdom

Knowing self is Enlightenment

Mastering others is Force

Mastering self is Strength

-The Tao Te Ching-

Post Navigation