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April 30, 2009

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Raymond

Barry,

I think I have to "wish I was a better speck of dust" to positively channel my endless desire. I know that the traditional understanding may be that there is some ego in self-improvement, as Suzuki-Roshi says in Not Always So, but I am beginning to think the whole practice might be the wish and practice of making ourselves a better speck of dust - which includes remembrance that we are only a speck of dust.

What do you think?

Raymond

PS - Have a great day.

Alice

I was going to comment that we are actually a speck of dust in the cosmic picture, but Raymond beat me to it...

And Suzuki Roshi would say: "You are all perfect specks of dust...and you can use some improvement."

Thanks!

Barry Briggs

Hi Raymond and Alice - Well, I'm leery of self-improvement . . . and attracted to it at the same time. In my experience, the "hardest" aspect of practice is not self-improvement (which smacks of compliance), but the work of self-revelation.

Self-improvement can provide great cover for the genuine and terrible suffering we produce. But self-revelation, well, reveals the suffering in full. Through self-revelation, we discover that we are sadistic, paranoid, entitled or whatever other delusion governs our behavior. Once we see it, then we can accept it and become free of it.

I 'spose this could be viewed as self-improvement, but I think of it differently, as the work of being responsible for our lives, and for our relations with others.

Puerhan

Kind of depends if so called 'self-improvement' is adding something or removing something. Or just accepting even.

:-)

~gassho~

Barry Briggs

Maybe the real "self-improvement" is to "knock off" all the afflictive behaviors...? I don't know if that's adding, removing, or accepting...just, knock it off!

Thanks, Puerhan.

Raymond

Barry,

Your point is well taken. I have a rather pervasive feeling that even though at times I am strong enough to "improve" myself (ie, more resolve to observe the precepts), there is an area of self-relevation that I am utterly afraid to confront, too. Alas, maybe one day....

Take care.

Raymond

Barry Briggs

Thanks, Raymond. Sometimes I can catch the mind as it veers away from the truth, as it chooses not to act in a responsible way. But, more often, not...

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