Thursday, September 29, 2011

What's The Point?

I received an email this morning in which the person made the comment:

"Find it interesting how you have connected, for a lack of a better word, spirituality and business. I’ve always thought that was an interesting approach."

Problem is, i'm not sure how to approach a response to that without writing for several hours — and boring everyone to death in the meantime. And the response certainly isn't directed to my friend alone because it applies to a great many people. IMO. Or, IMHO?

In short (that's always the best way to start, i find, because you lose the fewest number of readers), i don't really connect business and spirituality. At least not any more than i connect politics and spirituality, housework and spirituality, taking out the trash and spirituality, going to the bathroom and spirituality, or any other subject and spirituality.

If spirituality is just another compartment in your life, separate and isolated from the other compartments, like school, work, sports, physical fitness, and your social life, then say what you will, but you ... you...

I don't know what i want to say here. You aren't really practicing? Or, you only have a partial practice? The first sounds too harsh, but the later sounds like it's letting you off the hook too easily.

The purpose of Buddhism isn't to teach you how to chant a set of scriptures, how to perform a set of rituals, or how to sit rock solid zazen. It's not even to teach you how to be a good person, a friend to all, caring, or loving. The purpose of Buddhism isn't to teach you anything. If you are learning something and think that is the point, then you are missing the ultimate point.

Buddhism's purpose is nothing other than to open your eyes to Life, as it really is. To reality and your place in it; to your connection to it. It is nothing other than that. Nothing more. Nothing less. Buddhism isn't concerned with your brain, but with your life; every aspect, every corner, every nook and cranny.

If you want to say you practice Buddhism then you need to understand that you are talking about practicing in every area of your life, every situation you ever find yourself in, every day, every minute, every second, every life. There is no down time where you can say you aren't practicing. If there is, you only have a partial practice.

When you get up in the morning, what is your attitude? Are you aware of it? Working to improve it?

When you eat breakfast, are you aware that you are eating or are you formulating your plan for that meeting later in the morning?

When you are brushing your teeth, are you doing that or day dreaming?

During the commute to work, are you there, in the car/bus/train, or are you millions of miles away on vacation, or back home reliving a fight?

At the office, do you participate in the local gossip? Do you snip and bite at the person down the hall that you have decided doesn't treat you well enough while offering smiles and praise to the friend who shares your interests?

When crisis hits, do you fall off the cliff of worry, panic, and self-denegration or do you calmly deal with it to the best of your ability, offering and taking advice as necessary to solve the problem?

Are there Republicans/Democrats in your group of friends? When they start praising their pet policy and condemning non-believers, do you go from smile to anger in a half a millisecond? Do you respond in anger with name-calling attached or do you simply say you can't agree and offer your reasons, all the while acknowledging that their opinion is as valid as yours?

As the hour approaches when you hope to get that sales contract signed, do you decide to do and say whatever it takes to get it done even though it's not really in the best interest of the client, or do both you and the client know that if they sign it it is because it is best for both parties, it is win-win?

When the janitor comes into your office late in the day, do you absently point across the room and say "garbage can's over there," as you keep working, or do you stop, recognize his/her existence and ask how their day has been? Do you even know anything about the life of the person who empties your garbage can?

Do you absolutely hate to lose in the local softball game? Or come in behind your friend during your afternoon jog? Is competition and winning/losing what sports is about or is the game and the camaraderie what really matters?

You see where i'm going with this? I don't separate my Buddhism from any other aspect of my life. It's impossible because Buddhism is my way of life. When i think about business it is through a Buddhist viewpoint. When i think about politics, science, religion, health, or any other topic, it is through Buddhist eyes.

Buddhism isn't what you do on you zafu each morning. Buddhism isn't what you do at that weekend retreat or week-long sesshin. Buddhism is what you do. Period. Everywhere. All the time. With everybody you meet. In every situation, alone or with others.

Why? Because the purpose of studying Buddhism is to see that everywhere is your life. Everyone is your life. Every situation is your life. Everything is your life. But, i'll write more about that in another post. Maybe now is the time to write something about what i posted long ago regarding Dōgen's comment about seeing Everyday Mind throughout the entire world.

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