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Posts Tagged ‘Engaged Dharma Insight Group’

In their book, The Essential Dogen Writing of the great Zen Master, Tanahashi and Levitt quote Dogen as saying: “In performing your duties along with the other officers and staff, you should maintain joyful mind, kind mind, and great mind (page 19).”[1]

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could practice that mindset from the time we woke up in the morning until we went to bed in the evening, regardless of where we were or what we were doing?  But sadly enough our lives have been filled with many events that have taught us to believe that the world is a dangerous, harmful, and unloving place.

I have been working as a corporate trainer for 30 years and in that time I am sad to say that probably 60% or more of the people in my classes either do not like their jobs or actually hate them but they need to work to cover their living expenses and other bills so they do not try to find other employment.  And it is especially frightening and difficult to move when the unemployment rate is as high as it is and companies are downsizing, right sizing, and closing at alarming rates.

David Xi-Ken Astor is his wonderful book Pragmatic Buddhism Reflecting Contemporary Vitality writes, “Siddhartha was not as concerned about understanding how the Universe worked as much as he was about learning how we humans worked within it (location 729).”[2]

Now that I’ve totally depressed everyone, let’s look at the bright side!

There is an axiom that illustrates how the Universe works, or at least people within our Universe on planet Earth! It goes like this: 70% of the people in the world are Reactors and so they react to the way you treat them (treat them nice and they treat you nice back, treat them poorly and they treat you poorly right back, they are reacting to the way you treat them), 20% of the world are simply Nice all the time (you know them—they make you laugh and feel good whenever you’re around them) and finally the last 10% are Nasty regardless of the time of day, day of the week, or the year.  Who knows why they are that way—maybe they had a bad childhood, or a life experience that jaded them and left them empty, cold, and unhappy.

Regardless of the circumstances what this axiom says is that 90% of the time I can have a great life, wonderful relationships with people, and even learn to enjoy my job!  Because the Nice people are always going to be nice and fun to be around regardless of what happens.  I can always decide to act in a loving, kind, and compassionate way and not get baited when the Reactor is in a bad mood or I bump into a Nasty.  And finally I can live in the “big mind” or the “small mind” the choice is mine.

David goes on to write:

 Dogen’s definition of what a Buddhist practice should be about is well known.  He said that to learn and practice Buddhism was the study of ourselves, and when we do that we come to know who we really are, and as a result of this realization we have the potential to experience how the Universe is.  We are engaged in finding useful and productive ways in making our true self free of distorted interpretations. In other words, when we meditate whatever we experience is the self experiencing the connection with the universe as it expresses true Dharma.  At that moment, we experience no disconnect between self and other (location 731).[3]

Make each activity sacred…and at that moment we become the 90%er and can more easily “maintain joyful mind, kind mind, and great mind.  Even when you are doing a job that you may not like or want to do—or are dealing with one of those 10%ers—miracles can occur if you simply change your mind and view the situation from a higher place—from the big mind.  Give it a try and let me know what happens.

Things to focus on this week:

1.  I will begin each day setting my intention to view my life from the “big mind” vantage point.

2.  I will remind myself that I too can be a 90%er or a 10%er the choice is mine!

3.  I will remember to feel compassion for the 10% regardless of his or her behavior.

4.  Lastly, I will keep a journal of the opportunities that have been presented to me so I can keep track of my progress and my opportunities for growth.


[1] Tanahashi, K. Levitt, P. (2013) The Essential Dogen, Writings of the Great Zen Master. Shambhala: Boston, MA

[2] Astor, D. (2012) Pragmatic Buddhism Reflecting Contemporary Vitality. Engaged Dharma Insight Group: Sebring, FL

[3] Ibid.

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