Sunday, October 26, 2014

Buddhists Wobble, But They Don't Fall Down: On the Three Principles

So much of my study and practice of Buddhism is acknowledging that I will never be perfect at it. This idea most definitely applies to how I worked with last week's concept. I put plenty of effort into tracking when I lost my way, especially with regards to kindness and openness. Doesn't seem to have any effect yet, but I'm going to keep working on it. I'll get better eventually. I just have to give myself time and space to work on it.

This idea of being patient with myself plays into the tenet I'm examining this week:
Always abide by the three basic principles.
I did not pass go, did not collect $200, didn't even try to reason out what this meant before heading to The translation they've presented, "Always train in three principles," is essentially the same. The explanation did add to my understanding:
The three principles are: intention, action, and balance. 
I can't help thinking of Weebles whenever I think of balance in this kind of context. In my mind, a bodhisattva might wobble, but they don't fall down.

That idea didn't leave me completely as I moved onto reading the Tricycle piece on this teaching. There's something about western Buddhist writings that make me feel like I'm on the right path. That was definitely true here. I pretty much always find comfort and resonance in Judy Lief's interpretations and commentary. For instance, in her piece about this tenet she says: "On the spiritual path, over and over again it is a good idea to keep coming back to a few basic principles. By doing so, you can bound your actions with discipline. You can keep your practice on track." Yes. Exactly that.

As she got into the heart of it, though, she had a slightly different explanation of what the three principles are:
"This slogan suggests you work with three basic principles: honoring your commitments, refraining from outrageous actions, and developing patience."
She goes on to explain that these aren't just with regards to your actions, commitments, and patience for others, but also for yourself. This idea is so important. I need to constantly remind myself. For those moments when I fall into my old habits, when even I'm startled at my snark or cynicism, I need to remember to be patient with myself instead of getting angry. Also, touching back on last week's practice, I need to use these moments to reaffirm my commitment to this path.

And that's what Leif wants us to think about as we work with this teaching: "What does it mean to make a commitment? What helps you to maintain the commitments you have made, and what throws you off track?"

So that's what I'll be doing. Until next time, namaste and all that.

No comments:

Post a Comment