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Wanting to Change

CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
edited September 2016 in Buddhism Basics

Question: "How many Psychologists does it take to change a burnt out light bulb?"
Answer: "One, but the light bulb has to want to change, first."

There is a teaching in Zen about when the student is able to learn, and that's when the student cultivates the "don't know" mind. I've always felt that teaching slightly misses the mark in the West, because it's translated as having an "open mind" and that's not it. I remember when I was in college and actively searching for some spiritual path that I could embrace, because the one I was raised in was closed to me. I didn't know what I was looking for, but I was willing to consider anything. I had the needed "don't know" mind.

I found the Hare Krishnas, who told me when I laughed at them that I didn't have an open mind. Of course not. I was very selective about what I put into my mind. I didn't know what the answer was, but I'd already rejected worshiping a man from the past that's really God in disguise. Why would I replace that with one currently living that claims to be a Messiah? Don't know and and open mind are two vastly different things, but it's hard to make that distinction. "You're not interested in how Buddha gave us a roadmap to eliminating selfish desires? You need to have an open mind."

I think instead what Zen needs to teach is to cultivate the desire to change. That desire blazes in some of us at first, when we finally find answers that make sense to fill our "don't know" mind. But once you learn how to meditate and memorize the Noble Truths, once you notice you don't get angry as often and are learning to let go of your emotions, that desire to change fades. You become comfortable with your practice. You notice the improvements in your mind and life and idle along.

But as long as you're breathing, you're not there yet. You must wade deeper into the Dharma. I know this, and it's still hard for me after all these years of practicing Buddhism. Letting go isn't something you do once, and that's it. It's a conscious decision you make every moment of every day. I'm at a comfortable place in life and that's hard to deal with. It's like dragging myself out of a comfortable bed. But I'll do it. I've done it before. I'm breathing, so I'm not there yet. I still get angry at the people in the world for being so predictably stupid. I still worry about how I'm now sliding into old man territory and think about my father in a nursing home with dementia and picture myself in that place. I have a new set of problems to deal with and since the world ain't gonna change, guess it's up to me again.

Just wanted to vent. The first signs of fall weather always bring out the melancholy in me.

"The first autumn leaf falls from the tree, and the entire world is revealed."

VastmindFosdickkarastilobsterzenffDavidherbertopossibilities

Comments

  • Nothing wrong with a little creative venting from time to time.
    I have always viewed it as having a "seeking mind". An "open mind" does not necessarily seek a path, a way or an answer. Your Zen and other traditions (mine too) begins with "don't know", thus begins the "seeking mind"...

    Peace to all

    CinorjerWalkerperson
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    May you be happy

    CinorjerShoshinherberto
  • Old man territory. I'm there and sometimes feels as though your you know what is on the grill all day. But wait a bit and then your ready to march on once again. But really @Cinoger all we have have ever had to rely on is ourselves and the journey.

    Cinorjer
  • @Bunks said:
    May you be happy

    May we be happy. Go Mahayana! o:)

    Who said 'the only certainties are death and taxis and not everyone can afford taxis'? Perhaps if we share ...

    I feel we have to choose our ride. Constantly.

    As @Cinorjer mentions we can become individually comfortable, self satisfried [sic] and jaded by the trumpery of the ego.

    What then? Where is our core? Dukkha and samsara? Always present.

    ... or how to improve our friendliness, honest integrity (includes tales of venting, confessions, woes and lows etc).

    We have compassion for melancholy, difficulties, lapses, flaws etc. Comes with the lower and higher ground.

    @Cinorjer said:
    I have a new set of problems to deal with and since the world ain't gonna change, guess it's up to me again.

    Yep! Thanks for the reminder! Practice till R.I.P. - iz plan. B)
    Be Happy. Stay on the path. Send sound bites. Worship cushions etc ...

    Cinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Fall is the same for me, but as much as I usually dread it, I find I need the slowing down that happens. I need that contemplative time. I'm grateful to have it, and all of the distinct seasons that we do. They all bring out something different from me, and from my practice. I'm not sure I could handle the tropics as much as I love to visit them, lol. My body craves the signals of fall to slow down, and of winter to just rest. Spring and summer are revitalizing, busy times. I always take on a writing project in the fall to help me through that transition.

    Cinorjer
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I think instead what Zen needs to teach is to cultivate the desire to change.

    @Cinorjer -- No disrespect, but isn't that a bit like wishing I could be six-feet-two-inches when I only measure six-feet-two-inches?

    Who ever said you had to do anything about anything? Or nothing about nothing? No joke. Nothing fancy ... if you want to be depressed and virtuous, go ahead. If you want to giggle and pick flowers, go ahead. If you want to 'help' someone else, take a break and do that. Doesn't there come a point where the Dharma can take care of itself and it's time to stop picking the Dharma's nose?

    CinorjerlobsterRichdawson
  • @genkaku said:

    I think instead what Zen needs to teach is to cultivate the desire to change.

    @Cinorjer -- No disrespect, but isn't that a bit like wishing I could be six-feet-two-inches when I only measure six-feet-two-inches?

    Who ever said you had to do anything about anything? Or nothing about nothing? No joke. Nothing fancy ... if you want to be depressed and virtuous, go ahead. If you want to giggle and pick flowers, go ahead. If you want to 'help' someone else, take a break and do that. Doesn't there come a point where the Dharma can take care of itself and it's time to stop picking the Dharma's nose?

    So true.

  • For that matter, Dharma takes very good care of itself.
    It is like a sailing ship: You can leave the sails furled and bob about like a cork in the water, subject to the whims of the seas and winds of chance and fortune or you can hoist sail and make the seas and winds of chance, fortune and experience, etc, your allies.
    It is much more challenging and fun sailing than bobbing like a cork.
    Good sailing!

    Peace to all

    Cinorjerlobster
  • We are, the great spiritual writers insist, most fully ourselves when we give ourselves away, and it is egotism that holds us back from that transcendent experience that has been called God, Nirvana, Brahman, or the Tao.
    https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Kenosis

    ... and I wanted it all for me :cry: (and the fish of course) o:)

    'And so, my fellow Buddhists - ask not what your religion can do for you, ask what you can do for everyone.'
    Better than all that flag wavering ...

    CinorjerRichdawson
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    Just wanted to vent. The first signs of fall weather always bring out the melancholy in me.

    "The first autumn leaf falls from the tree, and the entire world is revealed."

    "In Spring hundreds of flowers
    In Summer refreshing breeze
    In Autumn the harvest moon
    In Winter snow will accompany you
    Free your mind from idle thoughts and for you everyday is a good day!"

    ~Wumen Huikai~

    lobsterCinorjer
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    Autumn leaves are gold
    Russet red hues light the woods
    Bonfire smells divine.

    Or, as Keats put it, "Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness."

    Cinorjerlobster
  • I found the Hare Krishnas, who told me when I laughed at them that I didn't have an open mind.

    They consider themselves Buddhists because one of the incarnations of Vishnu was the Buddha.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashavatara

    Mind you Vishnu used to be a fish so ... Hari Krishna ...

    I keep meaning to go to the Hari Krishna Temple set up by Beatle George Harrison. I know the mantra, I like the food. The devotees are friendly enough ...


    Bunch of hippys! :3

    Cinorjer
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @lobster said:

    I found the Hare Krishnas, who told me when I laughed at them that I didn't have an open mind.

    They consider themselves Buddhists because one of the incarnations of Vishnu was the Buddha.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dashavatara

    Mind you Vishnu used to be a fish so ... Hari Krishna ...

    I keep meaning to go to the Hari Krishna Temple set up by Beatle George Harrison. I know the mantra, I like the food. The devotees are friendly enough ...


    Bunch of hippys! :3

    I found them to be nice folks when I was going to college, if a bit flaky. They ran a free donut and coffee shop (they did accept donations) and there always seemed to be a pretty girl working there. Of course it was a recruitment station but I enjoyed talking religion with the people and being broke really enjoyed the stale donuts. Lots of lonely and-or hungry college students hung out there. Interestingly enough, a later study found no harm done by people joining a cult like this for a while. The people later in life drifted into something else and assumed a more normal path but considered this a learning experience. I remember that was also the time of the huge cult scare, where supposedly these people were being brainwashed into slavery.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Of course society doesn't want you to join any cults because, God forbid, you might change your value system to one where money and power are not the all-important things to be chased after at any price. And then suddenly you might not be willing to work for a large money grubbing corporation anymore for 10 hours a day, six days a week.

    Cinorjer
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    ^^^^^^^
    Alternatively, you might join a virtuous group that is dedicated to all that is pure and holy. Bit by bit you could work your way up the golden rungs until one day, you could have a corner office, have devotees waiting on you hand and foot, charge people $50,000 for a taste of "enlightenment," and purchase a modest villa on the Adriatic.

    Cinorjer
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    (There are better villas on the Med.....)

    Cinorjer
  • @Cinorjer said:
    I remember that was also the time of the huge cult scare, where supposedly these people were being brainwashed into slavery.

    Well I finally turned up at their main villa/mansion/slave colony, with a mind needing a full cycle of brainwashing. The friendly slaves were all busy chanting to Harry - Harry Krishna - whoever that is ... and probably building more exquisite benches for Harry ... ;)

    Here is the full devotional mantra (for those immune to brainwashing)

    Hurry Krishna
    Krishna, Krishna
    Harry, Hooray!

    (chorus)
    Hare Rama
    Hare Rama
    Rama Rama
    Panorama!

    I think my brain has been on the eco-cycle ... :3

    Cinorjer
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2016

    There's nothing wrong with a good ol' brainwash every now and again...I use a product called "Shikantaza" my brain comes out looking as good as new....( as if unused) :winky:

    lobsterCinorjer
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator

    Oh... a Political brain, then....

    CinorjerShoshinVastmind
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited October 2016

    @federica said:
    Oh... a Political brain, then....

    Do politicians have brains ???

  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    My problem was I wanted to study and "practice Buddhism" or something- without actually wanting to study Who Why and What I am. Change.

    Doctors and Lawyers practice their trades, rehearse their entire lives- but somehow _never _get to the REAL performance. Yet they demand full-payment as if they were thoroughly debuted.....

    G:) Smiling Gassho

    Suiseki

    Cinorjer
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