The Buddha, The Dharma, The Sangha

"Spiritual powers and their wondrous functioning--hauling water and carrying firewood." --Layman Pang, upon his realization

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Simple Living Network

If you believe we need more stuff and junk produced in third-world countries by underpaid workers and sold by mega-corporations, then we may not have much to offer you.
However, if you believe the world can be a better place if we all take more responsibility for what we consume and how we live our lives, then the path to simple living is probably one you will enjoy following.

--David Wampler, founder
The Simple Living Network

Google "simple living" or "voluntary simplicity", and several sites pop up that are worth exploring.  There is so much interesting information out there, one needn't feel as if they are inventing the wheel or practicing in solitude.
I realize the fact that I can even consider what Wamplet refers to as "the path to simple living", is a privilege, and in some respects, an indulgence.  I have the ability to make a choice here, whereas most the world cannot.  Whether because of grinding poverty, unstable living conditions, illness or whatever, a large portion of the world's population scrambles daily for those things I take for granted.  
In fact, there have been times when I have looked closely at photographs of refugees wearing donated clothing and wondered, Is that my old Gap t-shirt from 1997?  I think I remember that t-shirt....
So, I recognize with gratitude, that intentional choice is paramount in the quest for simple living, and in that sense, it is a gift to even consider this path.
When we live with clear intention, when our intention springs from the wish to do no harm, our action will be "right action", which is part of Buddhism's 8 Fold Path.  We cannot control what the outcome might be, but we can be clear, above all else, of not causing harm.
So from a Buddhist point of view, Voluntary Simplicity creates an interesting path for practicing the dharma.  It's not that stuff is inherently bad or good--as humans, we endow objects and phenomena with our own identity or definition of usefulness and non-usefulness.  But as practicing Buddhists, we can be aware of the emptiness of stuff.  Sure it's nice to have sometimes, but it does not create or maintain our self esteem or harmony.  
In essence, it doesn't create our Buddha Nature.  Our Buddha Nature exists beyond all sense of object, physical phenomena, time and space....a vacation from planet me.

Namu Amida Butsu!

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