indietrillvibes asked:

Someone once told me that they "studied Buddhism" and came to the conclusion that it's underlying tenet is simply that "nothing really matters." My grandfather was a Buddhist and I haven't studied the religion thoroughly but for some reason I feel Iike this is a strange interpretation. I plan on dedicating my life to social justice under the premise that good deeds DO matter if they can change somebody's life for the better. Is life meaningless? Do our deeds matter?

lazyyogi answered:

I’m inclined to say that anyone who draws a conclusion from Buddhism hasn’t really gotten to the point of it.

Buddhist teachings are given from two points of view, both being essential to the path. There is the relative view and the absolute view. Keeping those views in perspective is important. 

On the absolute level, all forms and beings and appearances are nothing other than emptiness. Nothing really matters, there is only the diamond-like eternity of perfect existence. 

On the relative level, everything matters. This is a world filled with suffering, confusion, and conflict. Buddhism doesn’t sit back and simply say, “Well all is perfect, so disregard that nonsense.” Not at all! This is what makes compassion so important. Compassion is the sane response to meeting the limiting aspects of the relative level. It is love meets meditation. 

Neither of those views are the actual truth, because the truth cannot be put into a view or words. And yet both of those views are extremely important to not only our spiritual development but to our harmony in our daily lives, society, and the world at large. 

Buddhism is about much more than self-liberation. It is about the liberation of all sentient beings, all societies, and all worlds regardless of the context within time and space. 

Our deeds matter. Justice matters. But so does the right view of eternity and impermanence. One without the other is deluded. Believing EVERYTHING MATTERS period end of story tends to actually lead to more conflict. While the belief NOTHING MATTERS tends to lessen conflict but also can lead to indifference or despair, which again leads to conflicts and suffering. 

The Buddha was well known for the Middle Way, which contrary to conventional understanding is about much more than “everything in moderation.” The Middle Way means we are not allowed to wholly reject an idea nor wholly accept an idea as The Truth. That’s what forces us to think and discern for ourselves, rather than relying on conditioning or doctrine. 

Herein is the crucial difference between “studying” Buddhism and practicing Buddhism. Study without practice is not studying. 

“To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away. No trace of enlightenment remains, and this no-trace continues endlessly.” ~ Dogen

In such a truth-saturated context, there is no room for what matters and does not matter. 

Namaste :)


justanothersunflower asked:

Hi Lazyyogi! I've been worried about this for some time now (two and a half years, to be exact). I feel like I need to lose weight, everyone around me says I'm crazy but I can't stop thinking--and talking--about it. I feel I'm driving everyone around me as well as myself completely insane. I'm at the end of my rope about this--I know there are people that have real problems and I'm not one of them--but I feel like I'm caught in a cycle of obsession. What can I do? Thank you; you're beautiful.

lazyyogi answered:

Try not to confuse happiness itself with the ideas you have about how to attain happiness. Right now you think losing weight will make you happy. Regardless of where that idea came from, it is incorrect. 

The only thing you need to lose in order to be at peace and happy is confusion. Telling yourself anything else means putting off happiness and instead waiting for impermanent circumstances to align. And given the impermanent nature of those circumstances, that alignment will only be temporary. Then you get caught up in the struggle to preserve or maintain your limited form of happiness. 

Amidst the struggle to attain and then preserve, where is the actual happiness? Clarify to yourself as often as necessary, moment after moment, that what you seek is peace, freedom, and happiness. Not the limited forms which you have mistakenly assumed will give you those things. 

To break your cyclic obsession, cease looking for happiness where it is not to be found. The primary medium for your current compulsion is your mind and its thinking habits. Therefore practicing meditation so as to become conscious of those thinking habits without perpetuating them will help to dissolve their momentum while stopping you from adding to it. 

Meditate 15-30 minutes a day. Practice mindfulness throughout the day, meaning keep as much attention within your mind-body as you have going outward through your sensory experience. Notice and recognize every time you are habitually complaining about your body, then stop it. Complaining is just a form of non-acceptance. No happiness is found through non-acceptance. A book on mindfulness practice that I would strongly recommend is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. 

I also wrote a response not long ago about body image, which you may also find helpful. 

Namaste :) Much love

We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.
Hunter S. Thompson (via lazyyogi)