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Your life’s passion

KeromeKerome Love, love is mysteryThe Continent Veteran
edited February 27 in Mindfulness

Over the last few weeks my dad had a visit from his ex-wife from long ago. She is a Jewish american, now 81 years old, and on the return leg of a long journey through Israel, Greece and Jordan, visiting places and friends she had known for a long time, she stopped by in the Netherlands. We got the impression that she knew that she wasn’t going to be able to do this again, and so that this was kind of a saying goodbye tour.

She was staying with my dad and he had asked me whether I could take over accompanying her for a day, to free him up to go to a concert. So I took her to a lovely museum, and travelling on the way back by train we were discussing life and everything. Then she said to me that it wasn’t enough just to drift through life, that one had to have a passion, something that really gave you joy. Now I respect and love her tremendously, she is a wonderful lady, but this set me to thinking.

Buddhism generally doesn’t encourage you to have passions, because passions tend to be things you cling to. It leads to a very free and peaceful mode of existence, you often hear that reflected in the voices of the more advanced monks, with a certain joy and focus. But do you think that to be a complete human being one needs to have passions? Things that you could let go of but that you keep?

Would you agree that without passions you tend to end up drifting, unmotivated in life?

Namasté 🙏

Bunkslobsterperson

Comments

  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Explorer Georgia Explorer

    When Peter Gabriel released the music he did for the Last Temptation Of Christ on an album called Passion, I didn't get the reference at all. I thought it was referring maybe to a lyric or something inside. Then later when I encountered the phrase The Passion of the Christ I was equally confused.

    All of which is to say that the word has so many meanings that for it to work in Buddhism I think would depend on your definition.

    I heard TNH translate compassion to an audience as "to suffer with." Made sense to me and changed my idea of what passion meant.

    Passion in romance, however, still has a positive connotation for me. But only up to a point. :)

    Speaking of TNH, I have noticed in his talks that he advises us to not get caught up in our projects. It struck me that he made sure to point out that aspect of life when discussing where we get stuck or when our minds start to run. But I also know I need to remember that he never said not to have projects. Dude has like 100 books or something. :D

    Bunks
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I think it might be different related to different lives of different people. I don't know anything of how Buddhist doctrine relates to the idea of a passion. But of the people I am close to my brother has a passion for mushroom hunting and hiking. My girlfriend has a passion for music. Me and my mom have things we do with our time to have a satisfying time but not really passions quite??

    BunksKerome
  • AlexAlex Veteran UK Veteran

    Getting absorbed in your passion, when done mindfully, is akin to meditation.

    I think Buddhism itself can be a passion too.

    BunksKeromelobsterKDMitts
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran Veteran

    I've also read (can't remember where) that mastery of an art is also simultaneously working with awareness potentially. That makes me think of how if I recall that awareness practice is made use of in Japanese Buddhism with their painting and poetry and tea ceremony etc.

    AlexKeromelobster
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    I would say I have a passion for Buddhism but that doesn’t mean I get “excited” when I read a Sutta or come across an inspiring dhamma talk on YouTube.

    I’d also say I have a passion for sport but that is slowly fading. It’s just Groundhog Day really! Your team wins one week and loses the next....repeat!

    Alex
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Alex said:
    Getting absorbed in your passion, when done mindfully, is akin to meditation.

    I think Buddhism itself can be a passion too.

    Certainly in computer programming there is a mental state known as flow which is akin to meditation. It is like your awareness of body and mind disappears completely and you are totally involved in the act of creation, solving one problem after the next out of seemingly inexhaustible supplies of energy and innovation. It’s a very productive state, for as long as it lasts. I believe athletes experience this too.

    Perhaps Buddhism can be a passion, I’ve encountered both young and old passionate Buddhists. And things within Buddhism can be passions, for example the poem Verses of the Faith Mind by the third Zen Patriarch Sosan has always inspired me.

    But I think it’s not quite the same. My ex-stepmother who came to visit has a number of strong passions in her life, for creating jewellery out of glass beads and for crafts in general. She goes to markets and craft stores and all kinds of interesting places driven by these passions. I think she meant something like that, something that brings you out into the world and makes you strong.

    Alex
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Would you agree that without passions you tend to end up drifting, unmotivated in life?

    No.

    Being unmoved by our passions is a high state. Being driven by our hobbies is just justified trivia. It is not what you do but how ...

    For example people who are unmotivated are unwell/unskilful. Dispassion in the Buddhist sense is passion discipline or focussed effort. This is why Buddhists can craft and do without being drowned and swamped ...


    http://www.fulfillmentdaily.com/much-plate-coloring-mandalas-can-create-balance-life/

    Alexperson
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    I think she meant something like that, something that brings you out into the world and makes you strong.

    Nothing does that for me anymore.

    To be honest with you, the description you've given above seems more like reinforcing the sense of self we should be trying to remove.

    Or maybe I've misunderstood the thread :)

    Alexlobster
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    The one thing I have done for 15 years, consistently, to the best of my ability, could, I suppose (by some) be called 'a passion'.

    How many of us can say we have done something voluntarily, without obligation, when we could have just walked away, but did not, out of deep affection and a sense of commitment?
    No, not parenthood;

    Moderating.

    Not a passion I see fit to give up.

    Yet....

    Bless you @federica 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻❤️❤️❤️

    federicalobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Your life’s passion

    "Living".... I guess life is my passion ....Life.....there's never a dull moment... :)

    AlexBunkslobsterFosdick
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think it’s interesting the different views that have come out of this. Federica’s is closest to what I would have called a passion, something she has done for a long time.

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    I think this is a useful point - is the passion obsessive, is it using you, or are you using it?

    I think that is a very good way of looking at it, obsessive versus harmonious passions. An obsessive passion takes over your life without you wanting it, while a harmonious passion provides purpose and you end up surfing on it and directing its waves.

    For a long time I have had a thing with pottery, and once when I visited the United States my stepmother took me to see a nearby potter’s workshop where some famous artists did their potting. It was very special, a rare treat which I treasure in my memory.

    Ren_in_blackAlex
  • Ren_in_blackRen_in_black Explorer Georgia Explorer

    @Kerome said:

    Would you agree that without passions you tend to end up drifting, unmotivated in life?

    I am cautious of reprisal here for breaking out overused Tolkien, but it did jump to mind: "Not all who wander are lost." :)

    johnathanBunkslobsterAlex
  • VimalajātiVimalajāti Veteran Whitby, Ontario Veteran
    edited March 2

    My life's passion is something I do not get paid for (alas!). Translation is my passion, but good luck finding a job translating Buddhist texts!

    I do court reporting, copyediting, and transcription to make ends meet. It lets me unleash the inner spelling-and-grammar freak.

    BunkslobsterKeromefederica
  • 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

    @Fosdick said: Passion is like a big, ill-tempered snake - what's the best way to catch it?

    By the tail, with a crook-stick. And a large, deep bag.
    I think that covers it.

    It's a technique I use on the very rare occasions I ban people.

    Works for me. :D

    BunksFosdicklobster
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited March 2

    @Federica said: By the tail, with a crook-stick. And a large, deep bag.

    Dang, I feel the urge to do a painting of that ...

    Bunkslobster
  • 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

    @Fosdick said:
    @Federica said > By the tail, with a crook-stick. And a large, deep bag.

    Dang, I feel the urge to do a painting of that ...

    Happy to pose - fully-clothed...

    Bunks
  • FeistyGibbletsFeistyGibblets Explorer South Australia Explorer

    Genealogy is my passion. Been doing it - unpaid - for 15 years. I love it.

    BunkslobsterKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Your life’s passion?

    Me :p 🤗🤦🏼‍♀️🤓

    Alex
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited March 2

    @lobster said:
    Your life’s passion?

    Me :p 🤗🤦🏼‍♀️🤓

    Boiled or baked ?

    lobsterKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    cracked
    open

    🦞

    Bunks
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran

    I've always thought of myself as being pretty unambitious and temperamentally moderate and dispassionate. At the same time though I've dedicated much of my adult life towards the pursuit of personal growth and self knowledge, to the point where they basically run in the background. I don't really feel passionate about it, like I have some great goal or vision, I'm more of a one foot in front of the other plodder about it.

    lobsterAlexShoshinRen_in_black
  • BunksBunks Veteran Australia Veteran

    @person said:
    I've always thought of myself as being pretty unambitious and temperamentally moderate and dispassionate. At the same time though I've dedicated much of my adult life towards the pursuit of personal growth and self knowledge, to the point where they basically run in the background. I don't really feel passionate about it, like I have some great goal or vision, I'm more of a one foot in front of the other plodder about it.

    Ditto.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    Well said @person
    It seems to be working for @Bunks
    Deep down in the core of our Best Being, we know Her (The Truth). We know The Path and the qualities. We strive with gentle determination.

    Some are tempted by progress, spiritual ambition, conviction, belief that enlightenment is close or a myth ...

    ... then our plodding becomes the gait of The Straightened ...
    gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā

    Bonus track ... Walk on, Bye ...

    Bunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @person said:
    I've always thought of myself as being pretty unambitious and temperamentally moderate and dispassionate.

    To be lacking in obsessive passions doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t deeply held feelings underneath. Still waters, deep grounds...

    At the same time though I've dedicated much of my adult life towards the pursuit of personal growth and self knowledge, to the point where they basically run in the background. I don't really feel passionate about it, like I have some great goal or vision, I'm more of a one foot in front of the other plodder about it.

    That is well-said, it speaks well of you that you know these things about yourself @person. My life has been much more in the theme of enthusiasms and passions, I’ve gone chasing after the things that I have felt enthusiastic about.

    personAlex
  • 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

    @KDMitts said:

    @Lionduck said:
    To leave this place a little better then I found it.

    Peace to All

    I would agree. I think passion is a combination of joy and meaningfulness that can be shared with or of service to others. My goal is to embody this through my work and my relationships - to "do good".

    Welcome to our humble abode. :)

    Lionduckadamcrossley
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran
    edited March 7

    @KDMitts said:
    I would agree. I think passion is a combination of joy and meaningfulness that can be shared with or of service to others. My goal is to embody this through my work and my relationships - to "do good".

    Do good? Simple eh! GOAL!!!!!!!

    ... meanwhile ... Pass I on ...
    https://web.archive.org/web/20171014090016/http://tmxxine.000webhostapp.com/yy.html

    I will be in the humbled corner, feeling Nothing ... 🤦🏼‍♀️💗🦞
    http://sufi-tavern.com/chishti-stages-of-love/chishti-stages-of-love-part-1/

  • paulysopaulyso Veteran usa Veteran

    passion can be transmuted into right effort,energy,setting the 8fold wheel moment.

    passion evolkes the phraise,beginner mind endless (passion)possibility,experts mind few(calm passion).zen...

    AlexBunks
  • adamcrossleyadamcrossley Veteran UK Veteran
    edited March 9

    A couple of years ago I read, The Push by the rock climber Tommy Caldwell. It recounts his journey from kidnap in Kyrgyzstan, through the loss of a finger and a broken heart, to completing the hardest rock climb in the world, a 19-day ascent of the Dawn Wall on El Capitan. Anyway, the book is largely about the nature of passion:

    Most of us are just trying to get by, trying to connect with the people, places, and things we love; trying to live with individual purpose and meaning, and if we’re so blessed as to live with a burning passion, then it’s truly a gift. When I think of it all that way, climbing—or whatever makes you happy without harming others—needs little defense. Besides, at a simpler level climbing is just so damned fun; I love it.

    I found this really inspirational to give myself permission to have a passion for climbing. Sometimes, though, this passion has definitely crossed over into a form of self-identification. If I'm not climbing as hard or as often as I'd like, it can feel as though I'm letting myself down. So having a passion, good, but identifying with your passion, not so good.

    Edit: He goes on to say this, which I think is really interesting:

    I always thought my deepest fulfillment came from the mountains, and that’s why climbing has been my art. But as I wrote this book I was surprised to find that the act of creating, even behind the keyboard or when speaking to an audience, feels deeply rewarding. Maybe all along the appeal had lain in the satisfaction of giving fully of myself. Maybe climbing wasn’t always the answer, but the venue.

    Bunkslobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    @adamcrossley said:
    He goes on to say this, which I think is really interesting:

    I always thought my deepest fulfillment came from the mountains, and that’s why climbing has been my art. But as I wrote this book I was surprised to find that the act of creating, even behind the keyboard or when speaking to an audience, feels deeply rewarding. Maybe all along the appeal had lain in the satisfaction of giving fully of myself. Maybe climbing wasn’t always the answer, but the venue.

    I think there is definitely some aspect of the truth in that. As long as you find something that allows you to express the best of yourself, then maybe it doesn’t matter so much what precisely it is.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran Veteran

    As lay persona, ideally we turn our experience into the means of climbing from the mire into the purelands (They are the same place incidentally). Lay practice is a harder way than the cloistered but potentially more rounded and even faster with good motivation, intent and a guidance system ...

    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/various/wheel294.html

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