Quitting social media

After I stopped logging in to Facebook and Douban three months ago, my life has become a lot more peaceful. I used to think I got meaningful information from them, but now I don’t feel I have lost anything other than anxiety and self disrespect.

I don’t have to worry about people getting upset about my posts anymore.

I don’t have to feel upset about nobody liked my posts or responded.

I don’t have to feel bad about myself seeing other people’s posts of themselves, their spouses, kids, glamorous jobs, vacations, etc.

I closed my Twitter account, so nobody can troll me anymore.

I never had an Instagram or Snapchat account so I never had to make extra effort to take selfies.

I started going to Guardian’s website to read news. I read more carefully, and I am thinking more.

My life feels simpler in this ever more complicated world. I certainty have lost the addiction to social media websites, and can focus more on my immediate life, life that is visible and touchable, right in front of my eyes, instead of in the cyber world.



From conversation between Bell Hooks and Pema Chodron:

“Theism doesn’t just have to do with God; it has to do with always feeling that you’re incomplete and need something or someone outside to look to. It’s like never growing up.

To me, theism is feeling that you can’t find out for yourself what’s true. You take the Buddhist teachings, or any teachings and you just try to fit yourself into them. But you’re not really finding out. You’re not grappling with it. You’re not really digging into it and letting it transform your being. You are just trying to live up to some ideal. You are still looking for the security of having someone else to praise or blame.

So accountability is pretty groundless.


A piece of teaching

Reading Pema Chodron quoting Don Juan again-

“You do everything with your whole heart, as if nothing else matters. You do it impeccably and with your whole heart, but all the while knowing that it actually doesn’t matter at all.”

Maybe that’s like me baking bread at home.





Buddhism is Apolitical? (Or, Stop Trying to Wiggle Out of the Damn Koan!)

No Zen in the West

Update: Another version of this post appears at Lion’s Roar.  

I’m surprised to have to write this post (which surely wiser heads would advise me not to), but I’ve come to see recently that the idea that “Buddhism is apolitical”/“Buddhism should stay apolitical” is deeper than I thought in the American Buddhist community.  It’s also not true, and it’s not helpful, and I’d like to talk about why.

First, let’s just be clear that Buddhist doctrine is about two things and only two things.

The first let’s call Emptiness, and let’s say it like this: everything you think misses the point entirely, has zero traction, zero contact with anything like reality.  Even the thought “reality.”  Even the most basic of thoughts: “there is” or “there is not.”  No concept reaches, and no thing anywhere at all can be grasped.

The second let’s call Precepts.  It’s a little more…

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A statement

Seeing Ohara Henri‘s book on how to take 5 days off a week and live a hermit’s life was tremendous comfort in my heart. It is a minimalist approach: working hourly for 2 days a week, living in a remote place, spending as little as possible, buying second-hand items, staying at home with the door shut in most days.

That life sounds very appealing to me. Ever since I was a little kid, I lamented the huge waste of material wealth in this world: numerous clothes, food, and household items are being thrown away every minute, while most of us are working extra hours and engaging in unpleasant human relationships to buy extra stuff. High trash mountains are stacked up or buried around poor communities; high trash mountains are stacked up or buried in our minds. And of course there is the dimension of the environment: we turn natural objects into something that doesn’t break down for hundreds of years and call it “GDP”.

I am going to resist that life – it is actually easy if you don’t have much resource to begin with:

Currently the only luxury goods I buy is essential oils. I am not ready to give them up yet.

I have never spent much on skin care or makeup and will continue this approach. My current makeup is still more than I need, and for skincare I’ll try to only use natural or simple things, like coconut oil or glycerin as lotion. I may give out most of my makeup and perfumes.

Baking soda is my cleaner for almost everything.

DIY toothpaste, DIY perfume, DIY as much as possible.

Recently I have spent lots of time researching clothes. I learned making one pair of jeans would cost tons of water, pollute the environment, not to mention poorly treated factory workers. As somebody with little resource, I used to buy H&M and now plan to avoid it as much as possible. At the same time, I cannot afford Theory or Equipment, or even Everlane. The current answer is second-hand clothes from thrift stores. In this way I help to reduce trash.

I’m aware that for my age it is time to wear nice clothes, but I’m not ready to wear wool or cashmere, not having enough time or money to dry clean them.

But more importantly, I’ll try to buy less, and less. Then I’ll be spending less time on shopping, comparing different brands etc. I’ll not compare my situation with others and feel bad about myself. My mind will be less distracted by the material world.

Of course shopping is not only for necessary needs. There is beauty in objects. But my theory is, relying on buying others’ creation to get aesthetic enjoyment is because we’re not creating anything. Doing creative projects may help with that.

Consumerism plays on our greed and insecurity. It doesn’t meet my needs – it tries to convince me that I need stuff, so that I feel good and more sure about my place in the society. That’s the cause of overproduction, pollution, and over-consumption. I’m not buying into that.




food court

我有时候实在没力气准备食物,会去办公室附近的一个food court吃午饭。有个亚洲风味的自助餐,自取称重。我迅速学会了:沙拉水果什么的最重,还吃不饱;鸡肉炒饭饺子春卷油水足,还不占分量。

因为是市中心,许多在银行和大机构上班的白领,这个food court的人一般都是西装革履。像我这样随意邋遢的也有。但最近一两次,我还看到蓝领模样的食客,一位矮小的黑人大叔,也许是附近大楼的清洁工,捧着餐盘,畏缩的模样。一位高大的黑人,穿着公交司机的制服,排队取食物。还有一位华人大叔,也许是建筑工人,把他的荧光马甲在座椅上小心地擦了又擦。他们的存在与周围的一切格格不入。