October 08, 2009

Giving up is a good thing

The practice of seeing clearly is what finally moves us toward kindness. Seeing, again and again, the infinite variety of traps we create for seducing the mind into struggle, seeing the endless rounds of meaningless suffering over lusts and aversions (which, although seemingly urgent, are essentially empty), we feel compassion for ourselves. And then, quite naturally, we feel compassion for everyone else. We know as we have never known before that we are stuck, all of us, with bodies and minds and instincts and impulses, all in a tug-of-war with our basic heart nature that yearns to relax into love. Then we surrender. We love. We laugh. We appreciate.

– Sylvia Boorstein, from “On the Cushion,” Tricycle, Summer 2002

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toner's picture

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konchog's picture

I just saw an amazing film, Into Great Silence, documenting the lives of the ascetic Carthusian monks in a remote alpine monastery. Several times a title is brought up with this saying attributed to Jesus: "He who does not give up everything, cannot be my disciple." I mean, don't tell that to the Vatican, but that's what he supposedly said. So the notion seems to be pretty much a spiritual universal (said the American monk tapping away on his laptop).