Keeping Score

There is a story of the Buddha telling his disciples about the proper use of a raft.  Use it to cross the river, then let it go.  The very raft that saved your life while crossing the river will now be a burden if you try to carry it across dry land.

It can be difficult sometimes to distinguish between skillful means and unskillful means.  My meditation practice is a case in point.  For a while, I was writing down my daily practice: what type of meditation I did and for how long.  Then at the end of each week, I published it here.  Initially, the record keeping was helpful.  But somewhere along the line, I started worrying about what I would enter on this blog.  Would I have meditated enough?  Would I have done things that were interesting?  Would my readership be impressed?

Eventually I decided to stop keeping score, because my ego had become too invested.  “Spiritual Materialism,” Chogyam Trungpa called it.  My focus had become having an impressive meditation record, rather than the meditation itself.  The next time my Zen Center does a Repentance Ritual, I will be “repenting of my non-existent spiritual attainments.”

In that spirit, I let go of my record keeping.  I may return to it in the future if would be a skillful activity. After all – when you come to another river, you can always build another raft.

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2 Comments

  1. Important post, thank you.

    Sometimes it’s good to just write whatever you feel it’s important. Who gives a rat’s ass what others might think about your writings? If you support your own texts, then they’re perfect, no matter what others might think.

    I wish you all the best and I hope you’ll come back to write your blog.

    Gassho,
    Markus

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