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The eightfold path: Right Effort

  • Merin Kyo Den
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17 Apr 2008 08:50 #13753 by Merin Kyo Den
The eightfold path: Right Effort was created by Merin Kyo Den
Hello all,

Right Effort \"If your practice is good, you may become proud of it. What you do is good, but something more is added to it. Pride is extra. Right effort is to get rid of something extra\" -Shunruy Suzuki


The most important point in our practice is to have right or perfect effort. Right effort directed in the right direction is necessary. If you are not aware of this, it is deluded effort. Our effort in our practice should be directed from achievement to non-achievement.

Now although he's speaking of Zen practice, as with so much else in Zen it has something to show us about our daily walk and reveals another path to the self imposed suffering we live with. You see when we do something, we expect a result. We \"Focus on the goal\" so to speak. Doing is not enough, your effort is not enough unless it gets you your end result. If the result of our effort is not what we focused on, then we feel let down, like our effort was wasted. We suffer. But why do we suffer? Is it that we failed? Or could it be because we were more concerned with the end result instead of just finding joy in the journey.

In Zen the point is not to expect or focus on the goal, that will come, the point is to only focus on the practice. The point is to \"be\" only in the moment of your practice. When we focus on the light at the end of the tunnel then we only see that light, but miss all the wonderful things that are going on around us. All the time things are going on around us, things are changing around us, this is the nature of the universe. The only thing we can rely on in this life is the fact that everything will change.

If the nature of the universe and life is change, then the nature of our goals must change as well. If we get caught up on only one vision of what the future should hold, then how can we ever expect to be happy with our life? Usually when we do something we want to achieve something in return for our effort, we attach to a desired result. To go from achievement to non-achievement is to be rid of this desire for attainment, to be rid of the unnecessary and bad result of effort. Because we all do the same thing, making the same mistake, we don't realize it.

\"When you practice Zazen, just practice Zazen, if enlightenment comes, it comes. We should not attach to the attainment of it\". This applies to our daily walk as well. Just doing something is enough, the end result will take care of itself. If we could find the reward in the effort alone, all the results would be positive ones because we never had a set vision of that result.

So in closing, try not to see anything in particular, try not to achieve anything special. Do not see even anything special or extra ordinary in yourself. Do not focus on any one thought, emotion, or course of action. Just \"Do\", Just \"Be\". Try to be thankful for just the effort alone and not the reward. The true point of any religious walk is not to lead us to perfection but to the realization that it was within us along, you just needed to learn to believe. I leave you all now with this thought; \"You already have everything in your own pure quality. If you understand this ultimate fact, there is no fear\"

Your brother in the mystery,
Michael

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