intention

Thoughts and Opinions

A few months ago one of my friends posted a photo on Twitter of what was (incorrectly) deemed to be the mission statement of a nutrition company: “Don’t Be A Dick.”

I often think about this phrase and how it can be a good motto in which to live one’s life (sexism aside).

In the lineage of Buddhism I practice, Soto Zen, we have a kind of code of ethics that we follow called the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts. In my (very limited) thinking, I feel like the precepts can be distilled down to the phrase, “don’t be a dick.” Or “don’t be a jerk (if that suits you better). If you are a jerk to people you will have to deal with the consequences of being a jerk, and it’s not fun and not going to produce happiness. Being a jerk causes suffering.

As I thought about this, I realized that I have been a jerk. In fact, I am often a jerk. I think we all are. I think being a jerk is a human condition and impossible to avoid.

So I think intention is what is really important. I think if you vow to not be a jerk, and do your best to practice not being a jerk, that is a noble path. Sometimes you will be a jerk, because you (we) are human and we make mistakes. But when that happens I think part of the practice is to be forgiving of yourself and others when you encounter jerky behavior.

My parent’s tables

Photography

I caught up on some backlog and I finally have some photography to share. Today I am going to share a couple of images I took while I was in Spokane visiting my family over the summer. They are both pinhole photos taken with a Reality So Subtle pinhole camera. One of them was taken at my dad’s and the other was taken at my mom’s.

Breakfast at Mom’s
breakfast at Dad’s

On Joy And Sorrow

Books, Music, Art, Movies

This poem ended up in my email inbox yesterday (via Poet.org) and it was exactly what I needed to read. Since it’s in the public domain, I thought I’d share. It’s really a beautiful sentiment.

On Joy and Sorrow

By Kahlil Gibran

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
     And he answered:
     Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
     And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
     And how else can it be?
     The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
     Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
     And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
     When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
     When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
   
     Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
     But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
     Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.

     Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.
     Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
     When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.