“The Art of Non-Doing”


“Reality” is what we take to be true. What we take to be true is what we believe. What we believe is based upon our perceptions. What we perceive depends on what we look for. What we look for depends on what we think. What we think depends on what we perceive. What we perceive determines what we believe. What we believe determines what we take to be true. What we take to be true is our reality.”

With Regards to Buddha:

How am I supposed to follow someone who constantly insisted that he was no longer a person and didn’t have a self?

Ideally, you follow him by losing your own self. Which seems impossible, since it’s your self that’s facinated by him. It’s your self that’s suffering and wants to be rid of suffering. The primary message of Buddhism is that this self cannot accomplish anything real. It must find a way to disappear, just as Buddha did.

The self reaches its goal by not being the self? It sounds like a paradox. 

Yes, but Buddhists found three ways to live the wisdom their teacher left behind. The first way was social, forming groups of disciples into a Sangha, like the group of monks and nuns that Buddha gathered in his lifetime. The Sangha exists to establish a spiritual lifestyle. People remind themselves of the teaching and keep the Buddhist vision alive. They meditate together and create an atmosphere of peace. 

The second way to follow Buddha is ethical, centered on the value of compassion. Buddha was known as The Compassionate One, a being who loved all of humanity without judgement. Buddhist ethics bring the same attitude into everyday life. A Buddhist practices being kind and seeing others without judgement, but in addition displays love and reverence for life itself. Buddhist morality is peaceful, accepting and joyous. 

The third way to follow Buddha is mystical. You take to heart the message of non-self. You do everything possible to break the bonds of attachment that keep you trapped in the illusion that you are a separate self. Here your aim is to tiptoe out of the material world even as your body remains in it. Ordinary people are doing things all day, but in your heart you’ve turned your attention to non-doing, as the Buddhists call it. Non doing isn’t passivity but a state of openness to all possibilities.  

If I practice non-doing, what would I actually do? It still seems like a paradox.

 The third way confronts Buddha’s most enigmatic side. How can you shed the separate self when it’s the only thing you’ve known? The process sounds frightening, for one thing, because there’s no guarantee. Once you accomplish “ego death”, as it’s often called, what will be left? You might wind up enlightened, but you also might wind up a blank, a passive non-self with no interest or desires. People find the Buddhist path rigorous because you are asked to re-examine everything you think will get you a head in life-money, possessions, accomplishments-and see them as a source of suffering. For example, having money doesn’t directly cause suffering, but it ties you to the illusion by hiding from sight the fact that there’s another way to live that’s actually real. Money like possessions and status creates a treadmill that brings one desire after another.    

So enlightenment is the same as having no desires? 

You have to understand “no desires” in a positive sense, as fulfilment. At the moment a musician is performing, there’s a state of no-desire because he feels fulfilled. At the moment you’re eating a wonderful meal, hunger is fulfilled. Buddha taught that there is a state, known as Nirvana, where desire is irrelevant. Everything desire is trying to achieve exists in Nirvana already. You don’t have to pursue one desire after another in a futile quest to end suffering. Instead, you go right to the source of Being, which is neither full nor empty. It just is.      

With Metta




  1. Indie said,

    October 29, 2007 at 9:45 am

    Hey, non-doing I can handle – lol I’ll look forward to reading the upcoming post!

  2. Link said,

    October 29, 2007 at 10:20 am

    Hey Indie,

    Non Doing sounds like it’s easy but this is going to be very hard work! LOL

  3. Scribbler said,

    October 29, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    Your blog’s new look is absolutely beautiful. Good choice. Very appropriate. I’ll also be anticipating the non-doing posting.

  4. dh said,

    October 29, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    How did I just know this was going to involve PAIN – lol

  5. buddhadharma said,

    October 29, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Hey Scribbler,

    Good to hear from you old chap! Glad you like the new look.

    With Metta

  6. buddhadharma said,

    October 29, 2007 at 4:31 pm

    Hey dh,

    Pain for you and pain for me writing it up! LOL

  7. SDS said,

    October 29, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    The blog look awsome. Well done! 🙂


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