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The hard and the soft


The hard and the soft are a couple of approaches to dharma. The hard is found in 'right concentration' or focus and the soft in the gentle or kind attention that leads there.
I first came across this method of 'hard' in candle flame concentration used in yogic meditation. The soft into hard came from Buddhist martial arts and enables much to contemplate in the yin/yang of Taoism/Zen.

The Great Yin is a softness but again it centers on a core attention.
https://accesstoinsight.org/lib/thai/suwat/concentration.html

What would you class as your hard and soft lessens/lessons?

Comments

  • 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

    Soft: The Lama Surya Das trilogy.
    Hard: Life in general.

    SuraShine
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I had to think about this for a little while @lobster it’s not so easy, life dishes up lessons but on the whole they are not so easy to categorise. In the end I ended up going with suffering on hard, because suffering tends to confront you at various points during your life with being tough and unavoidable. For soft I’m going with sleep, because you never know when it starts, you just gently drift off.

  • 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

    @Kerome said:
    I had to think about this for a little while @lobster it’s not so easy, life dishes up lessons but on the whole they are not so easy to categorise.

    Indeed... That's why I added the 'in general'...

    In the end I ended up going with suffering on hard, because suffering tends to confront you at various points during your life with being tough and unavoidable.

    No it doesn't. 'Suffering' is a constant, whether the experience is perceived to be negative or positive. It's all dukkha, and we live it daily. Without interruption...

    For soft I’m going with sleep, because you never know when it starts, you just gently drift off.

    Your dreams also carry Kammic messages; what happens in yor Mind, is also dukkha.

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @federica said:

    @Kerome said:
    In the end I ended up going with suffering on hard, because suffering tends to confront you at various points during your life with being tough and unavoidable.

    No it doesn't. 'Suffering' is a constant, whether the experience is perceived to be negative or positive. It's all dukkha, and we live it daily. Without interruption...

    Well, yes, there is a bit of background unsatisfactoriness. But the suffering you really remember tends to be life events which hit you: illness, depression, major sports injuries, break ups for example.

  • 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

    We're back to debating the etymological origin/meaning of Dukkha, aren't we? 'Suffering' has by now been found to be seriously wanting in the 'accurate interpretation' department...

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    One of the hards is tightening/focussing/winding into the 'dharma fist' or viagra ... eh I mean vajra 🤗 and the soft is a release of the frenzy/rigid unrelaxed attention.

    In other word the hardness is a softee zen slap.

    @federica mentions this, the tightening grasping around dukkha is the hardship.

    ... and breath out ... better ...

    In meditation the hard precedes the soft. In life we can become set in dukkha or unsettled by the passing landscape. Peace/calm/ease is a hard practice and the achievement of repose ...

    Oh I can stand some ... B)

    Walker
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    What would you class as your hard and soft lessens/lessons?

    The cushion... :)

    lobsterFrogpondKeromeWalker
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    That cushion is both hard and soft @Shoshin <3

    It works for me.

    For some consistent study (discipline/hard) and contemplation/insight (soft) may lead to breakthrough.

    An example of a soft hardness may be something like a simple mantra. Here is one I am doing ...
    https://buddhaweekly.com/amitabha-buddha-infinite-light-whats-name-merits-vast-name-amitabha-practice-synonymous-compassion-happiness/

    Extending this into life lessons:
    We may find more clarity through listening (soft) and understanding than trying to change the hard headed (especially us reflected in others).

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    hard and soft are mind sets.
    Hard = I have o do this
    Soft = I get to do this
    I have had times when 10 minutes was SOOOO HARD! I could not concentrate, I could not focus and it seemed to be a very long and difficult time.
    I have sat down, began my formal practice and found that in just a short time, two hours or more have passes.
    in both extremes, as everywhere in between, my environment reflected my practice of the moment. When I allowed my mind to control me - hard practice, hard life condition.
    When I controlled my mind - soft practice, "soft" life condition - strong life condition.
    Same rock - stub your toe or use it to grind grain - your choice.

    Peace to all

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    I had to think about this for a little while @lobster it’s not so easy

    Thoughts come easily to many of us. Un-thought or no-thought spontaneity not so easy. We may have differences or turn arounds from time to time ...

    This movement or yo-yoing between easy and hard may be dependent on a variety of factors. So for me I can call these easy and hard over time:

    • body based discipline
    • mind control
    • emotional balance
    • health
    • centering

    I feel the important qualities emerge through this time journeying ...

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Shoshin said:

    What would you class as your hard and soft lessens/lessons?

    The cushion... :)

    I like this answer, it is very non-dual. It reminds me of the first few lines of the hsin hsin ming van Sosan, make but a single distinction between hard and soft and heaven and earth are set infinitely far apart.

    WalkerShoshinlobster
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