37 Practices-Practice #2

In life, the strongest feelings are often generated by those we love and those who make us angry. We can become so preoccupied with these reactive feelings and our emotional concerns that we lose site of what’s right and wrong. We could instead cultivate an attitude of nonattachment to our feelings and be prepared to lessen the grip of our worldly preoccupations. The Sons and Daughters of Buddhas all follow this practice.

Lama Das’ Commentary

Renunciation is a part of most religious traditions. We give something up in order to gain something greater. In this instance, it is suggested that we stop letting our lives be solely guided by strong feelings and worldly preoccupations; instead, choose balance and a life based on deeper principles including an understanding of what is right and wrong.

Self-Examination

Am I living according to my deepest heartfelt values and principles or am I just reacting semi-consciously to the vagaries and vacillations of the moment.

Shihan Henderson’s Commentary

Budo practice can definitely give the student a greater sense of balance in the world and many of us are aware of this fact when we begin our Budo studies. Budo can obviously help the student to learn what is right and what is wrong both from a propriety day-to-day standpoint and a moral /value standpoint. Further, many of the practices of Budo help the student to deal with his reliance on preoccupation. Kata, for instance, can help the student to release his mind of the everyday burdens that may clog his thinking and reduce awareness. Moreover, as the student continues his practice and his self awareness and self confidence grow his underlying need for false supports diminishes. For instance, as the student gains in self awareness and self confidence he no longer feels the need for external materialistic goods to prop up his image. He becomes comfortable with who he is and his place amongst others. Thus, a more balanced life prevails.

Further, Budo studies force the student to deal with his reactive emotions of fear and self-doubt when entering into combat in the form of shiai or kumite. We have all experienced this. It is a type of baptism of fire where all your imperfections and doubts come charging at you. After the match the student has the opportunity for greater self-awareness and insight into his or her character. Questions as to what helps make you strong and what weakens you are thus answered. Through this you find your balance and your areas that require work. You learn to let go of your fears and create a space for personal growth. You also become keenly aware that all things worth developing take time to produce. This is true for character as well. It is alchemy.

Budo-Examination

Am I living according to the values and principles of my Budo. Do the priciples of my school and motto speak to me or do I recite them as a matter of course not taking the time to truly reflect on their underlying message. Do I simply go from one Budo class to the next without taking the time to reflect on the greater purpose. Am I reacting to my Budo brothers and sisters and those around me without thinking about how my emotions may be clouding my interactions, affecting both myself and others in possibly negative ways. Am I bringing my heart to my Budo studies each time I practice?