Re: daily practice

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Posted by Tim ( on September 05, 2000 at 02:00:51:

In Reply to: daily practice posted by kasandra on September 01, 2000 at 17:10:05:

First, you should understand that all the various rules you speak of are merely guidelines, not commandments, as they would be in Christianity. And some of the rules you may have heard of are for monks, not for laypersons. Further, they're to help you, not to constrict you.

The proscription against intoxicants, for example, is to guard the student against becoming addicted and therefore attached to the intoxicant or incapable of further practice. You, yourself, must decide how much "intoxicant" is bad for you. Some would say anything with caffeine is bad; others say that only if it affects your mood or behavior should you worry about it. The point of the precept is to keep the principle always in your mind, not to entangle you in minutae.

If you follow the simple rule "Do nothing that will harm yourself or others", you'll be fine. Buddhism is not a religion of extremes. Its fundament is moderation. It is the ultimate "Golden Mean". Don't make much of the number of prostrations or chants. Do what your teacher advises, or do just enough to challenge yourself. The point of all this is not to create a charmed, magical space that makes you enlightened by incantation and spells, but to gently, day after day, pull your mind out of its dream-state and make it present and alive. Anything that makes you here, now, is something to practice. Today that may be meditation; tomorrow, chanting: the day after, prostrations. Keep the purpose in mind at all times, not the form.


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