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A philosophy of life

CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
edited May 2016 in Philosophy

In one of my many casual conversations with Rev Young, my first Zen Teacher, we were discussing if our philosophy of life could be boiled down to one statement. I believe Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure had just came out and we were talking about the profoundness of "Party on Dude!" as a philosophy of life. Conversations with Rev Young tended to wander all over the landscape. He said Master Seung Sahn's philosophy was, "Just like this!" and that held hidden depths.

Anyway, I asked what he would say was his philosophy of life, and he said without hesitation, "We're already perfect." Then of course he asked me what mine was.

Being Zen, you don't stop and try to pick the answer you think is most profound or pleasing to your Teacher. He will see it happening and call you on it. My mind went blank and I stared at him for a minute. Then I blurted out, "Why not?"

He liked that. I had no clue why I said it but I was pleased that he was pleased. That's the nature of the Zen Student/Teacher relationship. It meant I contemplated that answer over the years, trying to see what he saw in it. I have come to realize that is indeed the core of my life philosophy. It's what I ask myself constantly. When I am told something is impossible or can't happen or can't be done, my automatic reaction is to ask, "Why not?" When I get an idea to do something but hesitate and wonder if I should really do it, I ask "Why not?" Sometimes I have a good answer to the question. Someone says world peace is impossible. "Why not world peace?" Because powerful people don't want peace. They want what you've got. There's a good answer in this case. "Why not give a dollar to that beggar?" Because I just gave twenty bucks to my stepdaughter and my fountain of charity is dry right now. I'm making the beggar pay for my stepdaughter's inability to budget. So maybe I give the guy his dollar.

Can you say that you have a life's philosophy? What pops into your head?

JeroenNamadasilverpersonShoshinyagrJeffreyDavidVastmindherberto
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Comments

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    My life philosophy doesn't want to be captured so easily, it seems to wander all over the place. I think it is, "do what feels right". Sometimes that means spending the morning in bed, sometimes it means moving country or taking on a new project. But when I am deciding what to do next in decisions great and sometimes small, it is about doing what feels right, not always what is logical or most profitable.

    I will admit to largely functioning on automatisms a lot of the time. It's not very conscious, but there it is. And Internet forums are a large part of this automatism, lol.

    Cinorjer
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited May 2016

    My life philosophy has to be, hold and then release/let it go.

    Its like the breath, first we breath in and then we breath out, releasing it.

    Same with things and personal views, first we take a look a it, and then its important to let it go again.

    With letting things go, its maybe the same as your teacher said, "we are already perfect"...

    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    Try to appreciate the present moment? Oi dunno. =)

    Cinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    My sister's is "everything is alright forever" which I think is a pretty good one.
    I guess mine would be "everyone loves something" because it is easy to look only at our differences but if we just stop to realize that even our most adversarial person loves something, that commonality can bring us together by respecting that about each other.

    CinorjerJeffrey
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited May 2016

    As easily as I wish I had a philosophy of life, so does it occur to me that if I had one, I would have gotten it wrong ... again.

    Cinorjerherbertosilver
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Mine is Do What? Usually in responding to the endless flow of unsolicited advice and twaddle from those who have the solution for for every set of problems except their own.

    Cinorjersilver
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I've never asked myself the question so it has me thinking. Maybe my philosophy is live and let live, or maybe its "that's interesting", or how can I be better, or maybe sadly, what do I need to do to get people to like me?

    At any rate its a question worth considering, I'll keep it in mind.

    Cinorjer
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    After reading these few responses - but especially @grackle's, (I think I'm one of THOSE people :3 ), I thought of Forest Gump's mom's "Life is like a box of chocolates 'cause you never know what your gonna git." I like that as well as any I could dream up.

    DairyLamaCinorjer
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Never a dull 'moment' :)

    BunksCinorjersilverWalker
  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    OK. Now what?

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I think I aspire to have my philosophy be "how can I best be of help"

    CinorjerVastmind
  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @Walker said:
    OK. Now what?

    Do you think your life's philosophy has guided your actions and determined where you are in life? If a man's philosophy is "Winning is everything" then he might make a great football coach or player, or perhaps excel in any life devoted to competition. Yet that same philosophy would be disastrous in personal relationships.

    My own philosophy has made me a bit of an outsider in life because I question assumptions and tend to ignore boundaries. For instance, people in social settings are expected to behave a certain way and I've never been inclined to respect that. I pretty much got kicked out of church when young because I asked one too many questions and disagreed with the preacher when I was supposed to be saying "amen".

    And in the case of Buddhism, one person too many told me "You can't get anywhere unless you join a Sangha and sit at the feet of a Master" and I asked "Why not?" and watched people struggle to find a satisfactory answer. "You can't be enlightened and live and act normally." Why not? See how it becomes something that irritates people to no end?

  • WalkerWalker Veteran Veteran

    I think what I mean is that I tend to 'go with the flow'. Sometimes it's a good thing, sometimes not.

    Maybe I should be more goal-oriented, maybe not. Sometimes people have goals and achieve them, only to find that they aren't satisfied with what they've achieved.

    Like most people, I've had a lot of curveballs thrown at me in life. I think the attitude of 'OK. Now what?' is helpful when things go sideways. It's like 'This is the situation, what can I do to handle it?'

    Cinorjersilver
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    @Cinorjer. If you won't follow and you won't lead there must be a third position. What ever could that be? Such an annoying question.

    Cinorjer
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @grackle said:
    @Cinorjer. If you won't follow and you won't lead there must be a third position. What ever could that be? .....

    "Don't just do something! Sit there!"

    Cinorjer
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @grackle said:
    @Cinorjer. If you won't follow and you won't lead there must be a third position. What ever could that be? Such an annoying question.

    I love this old answer: "Lead, follow...or get the heck outta the way!"

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @grackle Well, there is the rebel outsider. He is not so much part of the group, so he neither leads nor follows, but he also doesn't partake in the group thinking, and is therefore in the best position to offer a clear and independent viewpoint.

    CinorjerWalker
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    Taking the path of the least foreseeable harm, have fun, don't hurt anyone but let nobody hurt you.

    CinorjerWalkerVastmind
  • @Cinorjer said:
    In one of my many casual conversations with Rev Young, my first Zen Teacher, we were discussing if our philosophy of life could be boiled down to one statement. I believe Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure had just came out and we were talking about the profoundness of "Party on Dude!" as a philosophy of life. Conversations with Rev Young tended to wander all over the landscape. He said Master Seung Sahn's philosophy was, "Just like this!" and that held hidden depths.

    Anyway, I asked what he would say was his philosophy of life, and he said without hesitation, "We're already perfect." Then of course he asked me what mine was.

    Being Zen, you don't stop and try to pick the answer you think is most profound or pleasing to your Teacher. He will see it happening and call you on it. My mind went blank and I stared at him for a minute. Then I blurted out, "Why not?"

    He liked that. I had no clue why I said it but I was pleased that he was pleased. That's the nature of the Zen Student/Teacher relationship. It meant I contemplated that answer over the years, trying to see what he saw in it. I have come to realize that is indeed the core of my life philosophy. It's what I ask myself constantly. When I am told something is impossible or can't happen or can't be done, my automatic reaction is to ask, "Why not?" When I get an idea to do something but hesitate and wonder if I should really do it, I ask "Why not?" Sometimes I have a good answer to the question. Someone says world peace is impossible. "Why not world peace?" Because powerful people don't want peace. They want what you've got. There's a good answer in this case. "Why not give a dollar to that beggar?" Because I just gave twenty bucks to my stepdaughter and my fountain of charity is dry right now. I'm making the beggar pay for my stepdaughter's inability to budget. So maybe I give the guy his dollar.

    Can you say that you have a life's philosophy? What pops into your head?

    Why the need for it?

    Cinorjer
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    @grackle Well, there is the rebel outsider. He is not so much part of the group, so he neither leads nor follows, but he also doesn't partake in the group thinking, and is therefore in the best position to offer a clear and independent viewpoint.

  • CinorjerCinorjer Veteran

    @pegembara said:

    Why the need for it?

    I'm contemplating if we each have one, whether or not we vocalize it. I'm not sure.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    @pegembara said:

    Why the need for it?

    I'm contemplating if we each have one, whether or not we vocalize it. I'm not sure.

    Probably at a very basic level everyone would have a philosophy of "find happiness, avoid pain"

    Cinorjer
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    edited May 2016

    I'm contemplating if we each have one, whether or not we vocalize it. I'm not sure.

    I kind of doubt it. Or, more specifically, I think there may be touchstones which, when touched, seem to excite nothing so much as exceptions.

    Still, I admit it sounds kool to say I have a philosophy of life ... kind of as if I knew what the hell I was doing and could control it.

    Oops!

    Cinorjer
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    Can't help others look for something you have not yet found. Understandable that things just happens sometimes. No control.

    Cinorjerherberto
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:

    Can you say that you have a life's philosophy?

    Yes.

    What pops into your head?

    Nothing.
    However wait a while and all manner of 'wisdom', spiritual sound bites, copied mechanisms and trite superficiality will doubtless arise.

    Must say I prefer Nothing for the moment ... B)

    yagrpegembaraCinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 2016

    A philosophy of life

    "Whatever"

    Cinorjersilver
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited May 2016

    As long as this ^^

    doesn't actually come out as this....
    Because then, that just becomes the philosophy of
    "I don' givershit 'bout you, ah'm all 'bout me, loser!"

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Immature philosophies are easier to leave behind ...
    'There is no business like show business ...' (Ethel Merman - is she terrifying or what?)
    Et cum spiritu tuo (My Catholic Dad)
    Semper Occultus (Always Secret)

    Then we have philosophy everywhere:
    Just do it (Nike)
    Be good (mothers)

    Then we have simple common sense 'philosophy':

    • Still the body, focus the mind.
    • Simplify your life
    • Eat wholesome food
    • Be kind
    • Work diligently
    • Study
    • Be greatful
    • Find wonder
    • Stay healthy
    • Encourage good company
    • Develop integrity
    • Practice discernment
    • Curb excesses
    • Support others
    • Listen and observe
    howCinorjerpersonShoshin
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    And let us not even start with the proverbial....!

    Cave Canem.
    Let the buyer beware!
    Neither a lender nor a borrower be!
    The early bird catches the worm!

    Were I to continue, it would be sorely boring.....

    Brevity, is the soul of wit.

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    "you can't help everyone but everyone can help somebody"
    (I don't like the guy that said that though)

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    A philosophy of life?

    Live it.

    Cinorjer
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Jeffrey said:
    "you can't help everyone but everyone can help somebody"
    (I don't like the guy that said that though)

    I dunno who said it first, but you said it, and I like you. :)

    JeffreylobsterDavidherberto
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @Cinorjer said:
    Can you say that you have a life's philosophy? What pops into your head?

    The first thing that pops up is "no philosophy!" ha! :)

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

    Or, as a friend of mine amended Ben Franklin:

    Early to bed
    And early to rise
    And you never see
    Any of your friends.

    CinorjerGui
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @seeker242 said:

    @Cinorjer said:
    Can you say that you have a life's philosophy? What pops into your head?

    The first thing that pops up is "no philosophy!" ha! :)

    For me, that dawned on me later. I see as a use the raft til it's no longer needed or until you become the raft kind of thing.

    Cinorjer
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I don't think you'd want to become the raft, that sounds very restricting for locomoting on the other shore. You'd have to arrange for a team of Buddha's to carry you!

    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @federica said:> The early bird catches the worm!

    And as the cockneys say "You can't take it wiv you when you're bleedin' gorn". :p

  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @genkaku said:
    Or, as a friend of mine amended Ben Franklin:

    Early to bed
    And early to rise
    And you never see
    Any of your friends.

    I think that kinda depends on what kind of 'friends' you have.... ;)

    WalkerCinorjer
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    I don't think you'd want to become the raft, that sounds very restricting for locomoting on the other shore. You'd have to arrange for a team of Buddha's to carry you!

    I'm not so sure there would be anyone coming or going on the other shore and all we have to guide us is our understanding. There are all kinds of road maps but as far as I know we can't take a tour guide.

    Cinorjer
  • ShimShim Veteran

    Life philosophy?
    A pessimist is never disappointed.

    CinorjerShoshin
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    A philosophy of life

    Cinorjerherberto
  • RuddyDuck9RuddyDuck9 MD, USA Veteran

    Mine is "there is always a way." When something good happens, there's always a way to enjoy it. When something bad happens, there's always a way through it. Inevitably, live keeps flowing, and us with it. This phrase has kept me going through university, through breakups, through emotional/ verbal domestic abuse, through that one time the dog ate a huge bag of dark chocolate espresso beans and we had to make him throw up with peroxide...... through all of that there was always a way to get through it, eventually. You never really know what that "way" is going to be until it happens, and you have to be okay with that. Even if the "way out" is not pleasant, it's still progress. Change is good. "There is always a way."

    Cinorjer
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    A philosophy of life

    "Shit happens" = First Noble Truth for dudes. :p

    Shoshin
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