Monday, October 3, 2011

Alone in the World

One of the biggest difficulties I find while practicing is the dis-attachment from self.  I've always had a little problem with social anxiety. Even now as an (ever-aging) adult, the task of letting go of self is sometimes difficult.

I live my life as I choose, but perhaps it is "western-conditioning" that I still feel self-conscious about what I may wear or how I behave.

Dogen states that people will scoff and make fun of those who practice the Way of the Buddhas and Patriarchs for what they wear and what they do, but hold fast to the teachings of the Way, for those who make fun of you and scoff at your actions are the furthest from awakening.

Being in the west, many Buddhist customs such as dress and begging are not exactly accepted.  This is different from eastern cultures where this has been a part of society for at least 2,000 years. But the statement from Dogen even holds true until today in eastern cultures.  Many monks beg for alms in China, Japan, and others as the Buddha instructed during his time on earth.

So the only solution to this, I guess, is to ultimately let go of ego and self.  Dogen states that continuously that the benefits of studying and practicing the Way of the Buddhas and Patriarchs far out-weighs the benefits of conforming to the emotions and judgments of worldly people.

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