優婆夷草子

此心安處是吾鄉

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.

Theism

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.

植物

早上一只猫咪出现在我门口。结果不请自来的访客见我打开门,就迅速跑掉了。

去农夫市集买了一盆迷迭香,一盆薰衣草。都是适合本地气候的植物。回到家吃力地搬到门口,再定睛看一眼的时候,觉得植物比大多数其他物件,都更能增加幸福感。

院子里一棵柠檬树,一棵橙,一棵葡萄柚,最近都开了满满匝匝的花。打开门香气扑鼻。在农夫市集看到卖香气迷人的小白花,以为是茉莉,摊主说是橙花。细想确实和院子里的香气一样。橙花……这便是香水界昂贵的橙花啊。原来一直都在我的院子里。

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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自我

某天坐公交,背了两个包,其中一个挺大。上车后发现人不多,于是在车后部坐下,把大包放在了我旁边的座位上。在挤的情况下,我会把包抱在自己腿上,这样不占用旁边的座位。当然理想情况是前一种,既没有抱着包的累,又没有与陌生人分享小空间的各种不良情绪:肢体接触、空间被挤压、窘迫、厌烦,有时候是恐惧和不安。

一般人如果有其他选择,也不会紧挨着坐在别人旁边。

那天到了某一站后上来几个人,多数都直接坐在了车前部,只有一个人一路往后走,到我旁边时盯着我的包放在座位上的包看了好几秒。最后终于走掉了。

我一瞬间内感到了各种情绪:先是惊讶(“这人为什么放着那么多座位不坐非想坐我旁边?”),然后是感到受到了威胁(“她是想迫使我把包拿开吗?”),再然后是愤怒(“你威胁我?没门!”)

车已经启动良久,我才回过神来,感到刚才的一刻令我完全失掉了心理平衡。忽然想到,也许那人盯着我的包看,只是在犹豫要不要坐在我旁边,或者甚至只是在想事情。而我因此产生了各种情绪,也许跟我毫无关系。我的情绪是对不存在的事物的反应和对抗。

即便那个人是想要我旁边的座位,也跟我个人并没有关系。即便那人开口要我把包拿开,我如果不愿意也可以不带情绪地说不。我的生活被负面情绪消耗掉这么多能量,是因为自我太大,总以为自己是世界的中心,以为其他人的行为和情绪和自己有关,以为他人随时会攻击自己。

而这个自我如果小一点,甚至不存在,那么就不存在被攻击的对象,剩下的只有观察和清明的智慧了。

高中是一个奇怪的存在

我的高中和许多人一样是中二病严重的时期。可是现在回想起来,中二病和严酷的环境,不知道是哪个把另一个变得更糟,又或许是相互的。

虽然离开家住校,不需要再和以前讨厌的社会关系打交道,没有人再指责我“书呆子”,“不会讲话”,但老师和同学有时候很残酷,高中时期是我非常不开心的一段时间。

如今回想起来,有些规定可笑又毫无必要,当时却必须遵守。比如:

每天都要穿校服。不管冬夏,天气如何,做什么活动,都各有一套校服来把每个人的个性全遮住。正式场合有正装式的校服,体育课有运动服校服,夏天有衬衫短裤和裙子的校服。可是为什么啊?是为了培养集体主义,还是打压个人?从没有人跟我们解释过。不穿会怎样呢?大概会被班主任找去谈话吧。

对当时的我来说,最最讨厌的是,校服全都那么丑啊!十几岁正是个人身份感在形成,极度敏感的时期,却要被不停地丑化外表。那么丑的校服,只有极其瘦削的女生穿起来才会显得正常,而我的整个青春期都属于微胖星人,到了高三更演变为肥胖星人,穿那样的校服无异于灾难。

长头发的女生必须要把头发扎起来,绝对不可以披散着。男生的头发不可以长过一寸。

非常在乎外表又有胆量的女生,才敢在细节处作点小动作,比如挑染一缕头发之类的。然后必然会成为全校注视的焦点。

当然更不可以早恋。

这都是什么可笑的规定?

我那个时候,都是怎么生存下来的啊。

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.

佛心

又是西村一个潮湿的雨天。坐在窗前看到浓重的大片乌云在天际迅速移动,但乌云之间的缝隙里却露出明亮的蓝天。

立刻觉得那是一个现实比喻:无论如何被遮盖,清澈如明镜的佛心总在心的深处,只待放晴的那一刻。

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。

这一切都令我悲伤。