Tuesday, March 23, 2010

have you ever tried to be like a log??

When the urge arises in your mind
To feelings of desire or angry hate,
Do not act! Be silent, do not speak!
And like a log of wood be sure to stay.

And when your mind is wild or filled with mockery,
Or filled with pride and haughty arrogance,
Or when you would expose another's secret guilt,
To bring up old dissensions or to act deceitfully,

Or when you want to fish for praise,
Or criticize and spoil another's name,
Or use harsh language, sparring for a fight,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

And when you yearn for wealth, attention, fame,
A circle of retainers serving you,
And when you look for honors, recognition,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

And when you inclined to overlook another's need
And want to get the best thing for yourself,
And when you feel the urge to speak,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

Impatience, indolence, faintheartedness,
And likewise arrogance and careless speach,
Attachment to your side--when these areise,
It's then that like a log you should remain.

Examine thus yourself from every side.
Take note of your defilements and your pointless efforts.
For the the heroes on the Bodhisattva path
Seize firmly on such faults with proper remedy.

With perfect and unyielding faith,
With steadfastness, respect, and courtesy.
With conscientiousness and awe,
Work calmly for the happiness of others.

The Way of The Bodhisattva*
by Shantideva
Chapter 5 "Vigilant Introspection", verses 48-55


Sooo, this text I am quoting from was written a loooong time ago (700 A.D.-ish), when apparently things like reactions and behaviors were not so much different. I have a few different translations of this text. No matter how it is translated, I can always easily pick out several of those behaviors I perform on a regular basis. And no matter which version I look at, in these passages you are instructed to remain either a log or a piece of wood.

I dunno about you, but any given day (like *ahem* today), I can experience a multitude of these pesky little issues. Remain like a log, I do not. Sometimes. Other times, I do remain like a log. Boy, lemme tell ya'---it's interesting what a difference just a few moments of Log-ness can do for a gal ;-)

One of the commentaries I have read recently on this section refers to remaining like a log as "just not doing the habitual thing" (the habitual thing often being to throw kerosene on the fire in an attempt to put it out. Duh.). So if you are remaining like a log, it isn't like you are just sitting there doing nothing. It's more like you are actively just sitting there doing nothing.

Not sure if that difference makes any sense, but try doing it next time you get pissed and I think you'll notice the difference pretty quick LOL.
Sometimes (possibly always, I am beginning to believe) thinking about these things is not nearly as effective as just doing them.

*Bodhisattva: a being whose actions promote unity or harmony; one who vows to postpone one's own enlightenment in order to help all sentient beings realize liberation; one who seeks enlightenment not only for oneself but for others.


Obsessed with knitting said...

I am always interested in learning how to not react in an angry manner. Thanks for sharing your log.

Jenna said...

Interesting way of thinking about it. I was told once if I don't know what to do, then don't do anything. Made me think of it!