Being Diligent: I Could Meditate or I Could Check Facebook, Watch TV, (Fill in the Blank…).

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Being Diligent: I Could Meditate or I Could Check Facebook, Watch TV, (Fill in the Blank…).

smartphone addiction

 

By Daniel Scharpenburg

 

“Diligence means joy in virtuous ways.

Its contraries have been defined as laziness,

An inclination for unwholesomeness,

Defeatism and self-contempt.”

-Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva

 

Diligence is an important concept in meditation practice.

Actually it’s important to all aspects of the Buddhist path, but I’m going to talk here about how it relates to meditation specifically. I know how hard it is to establish and maintain a regular meditation practice.

Diligence is one of the six perfections, and something that often gets overlooked when we talk about meditation. There’s a whole chapter devoted to it in the classic Mahayana text The Way of the Bodhisattva by Shantideva.

It’s a very important virtue, and I’m going to tell you why. It was an important virtue to cultivate in the Buddha’s time and it still is today. Diligence represents continuing when things get difficult.

When I first started meditating it was a while before I could get myself into a daily practice. There were always hundreds of other things I could be doing. I could meditate or I could watch TV. I could meditate or I could do some more reading. I always thought, “If I skip this time, it won’t be that big of a deal.”

But, what does that line of thinking lead to? Not having a meditation practice.

So, I had to work at it. I had to cultivate diligence to make myself do it every day. Eventually I did, but it took a very long time. I had to pay close attention to the differences I feel when I don’t meditate for the day. It’s so easy to not meditate.

These days we have a lot more distractions than there were when I started meditating.

I can watch Netflix, I can check my Facebook (on my phone, which is always with me), I can listen to music on Pandora, or Podcasts (like the Tattooed Buddha Podcast, which comes out regularly).

Once in a while I do skip a meditation. And I always regret it. The world is a little bit harder to deal with on days when I don’t meditate. I feel the same way about working out (which I started doing in the last few months).

The time you spend meditating enriches the rest of your day. Some people say they have too much trouble quieting the mind or they’re too distracted meditate. If we cultivate diligence and just sit anyway, even when it’s hard, even when we don’t want to, it gets easier. The mind gets calmer.

So, be diligent, my friends.

 

Photo: source

Feature Photo: We Heart It

Editor: Dana Gornall

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Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel Scharpenburg is an independent dharma teacher in Kansas City. He regularly gives teachings through the Open Heart Project. Daniel has a BA in English from KU and handles paperwork for a living. Once a Novice Monk in the Korean Zen tradition, Daniel dropped out of monk school to become a regular person.
Daniel has taken the vows of a lay zen teacher and Bodhisattva Vows.

Find out more about Daniel on his blog and connect with him on Facebook, Youtube,andTwitter

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By | 2016-10-14T07:49:02+00:00 December 27th, 2015|Beginner Meditation, blog, Buddhism, Featured|0 Comments

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