Discovery, Not Doctrine
“Buddhism is a process of discovery, not a list of principles. There is no book of Buddhist principles. Buddhism is about realization. It is about transformation of consciousness. It means throwing everything out, including Buddhism, and going very deep within yourself to find the foundations of your life. And once you have done that, to learn to live your life out of that which has been realized—not what you’ve been told you should or shouldn’t do.” Wisdom Seeking Wisdom, Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori Roshi, True Dharma Eye, Case 241, Xuansha Hears the Sound of a Swallow
In pursuit of knowledge,
every day something is added.
In the practice of the Tao,
every day something is dropped.
Tao Te Ching, Chapter 48, Stephen Mitchell Translation
I can tell that my values are being transformed. I now ask myself if something is necessary before I purchase or do it. I don’t need to look it up or automatically indulge. This is a much higher level of consciousness. I feel like I am not groping for things as much. During the holiday season, there is just so much to say no to.
I feel like I am doing less, but accomplishing more. By rejecting most of the values I grew up with, I now live with more integrity and simplicity. The need to please (which was never that strong in me to begin with) is almost gone. I am spinning my wheels less.
I come from a blue-collar family, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth types. I inherited a good work ethic, but, other than that, I am not particularly proud of my background. They would give you the shirt off their back, but were nothing short of horrified that a black man became president. Racism runs deep in my white trash family. Worse, there is no real priority placed upon education, as if people with no skills should be able to easily support a family on one income. That’s the time and place they grew up in. I never had that luxury. I’ve been forced to deal with a changing world from an early age. I have shed off most of the more destructive values.
With fewer and clearer values, my life is much simpler. There are fewer moral dilemmas if one’s primary value is the wholeness and healing of as many in a given situation. Not many values compete with that.