Action and Knowing

There is always much confusion regarding our practice when we are in application to our everyday lives. It seems we set ourselves some lofty goals. We have an image of our ideal saint stuck in our heads and we keep trying to find a way to access the idea and then act on the idea.


I have attended classes and workshops where the goal was to somehow increase the amount of, say, compassion and caring someone might exhibit. There’s was always an exercise or instruction on how this is accomplished. People seem convinced that they can sequentially gather more and more compassion as ideas until they potentiate to the level of constant compassion as response. Really? How many workshops concerning speech, or honesty, or getting along with others, do we need to attend before we start doing what we already have the awareness to do?

Now something that seemed odd to me is that I know a lot of people who attend the same classes and workshop I attend. Some of them come to the talks I give, and I know them well. Most of them seem compassionate and caring. They are concerned about their world and the people in it. They don’t need to find more compassion or caring.  

We need to use what we already know.

Sometimes I pretend to forget to be compassionate or caring. Sometimes I say the unskillful thing and regret it later. But, it’s not because I’m not compassionate or caring. It’s not because I don’t know how present skillful language. It’s because Conditioned personality has no stake in living out the messages of all the Dharma Buddhas and Saints that have ever been. I allow the Conditioned personality to take charge and it performs as if nothing else matters but it’s existence and self interest. So, I don’t forget anything, I choose to do something else. 

“Do unto others as you would have done unto you and expect nothing in return.”

It’s not difficult to keep that in front of us all day. It’s a message from multiple faiths and religions. Simple yes? Not something we forget. We choose not to behave that way only when Conditioned personality takes charge.

We don’t need to keep trying to learn how to care of have compassion. We need to allow our inherent Buddha nature out of the closet, let the Conditioned personality rave on knowing it has no power, and do what we know is the skillful response to what’s in proximity.

Part of a rosary I say in the mornings states: 

“If I am suffering it’s because I am choosing something over ending suffering.” It’s a good thing to remember. 

May the holidays be calm and peaceful. 

Please pass this along if it resonates. And don’t forget to read the open letter blog. I think we are starting to shape direction and I could use your input!

Bows to all,


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