There is nothing to do

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
Post Reply
alfa
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2011 4:43 pm
Location: India

There is nothing to do

Post by alfa » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm

"I have to do this, I have to do that. I must control my anger, I must be aware of my sorrow."

Etc. etc.

Whenever we say such things, the question should follow: Who wants to do this or that, who wants to be aware?

The entity that says, "I must be aware," is born of the desire to be aware. Before this desire came about, this entity DID NOT exist.

Once the desire passes, so will this entity.

Effort, therefore, will last so long as the desire/entity does. Then it ends.

Effort is therefore futile.

There really is nothing to do. This is Buddhism.

Or am I wrong?

Just thinking out loud.

chownah
Posts: 6576
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:19 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by chownah » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:28 pm

I think it goes more like: We are all constantly bathed in desire and intention. Effort directs our paths forward so if our effort is right effort then we will move forward and away from desire and intention.....if our effort is wrong effort then we will continue with desire and intention unabated.
chownah

binocular
Posts: 4043
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by binocular » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:52 pm

alfa wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm
dOnce the desire passes, so will this entity.

Effort, therefore, will last so long as the desire/entity does. Then it ends.

Effort is therefore futile.

There really is nothing to do. This is Buddhism.
Just because you will one day be a corpse doesn't mean that you are already now a corpse or that it is best to behave like one.

User avatar
Sam Vara
Posts: 2435
Joined: Sun Jun 05, 2011 5:42 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by Sam Vara » Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:54 pm

alfa wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm

Effort is therefore futile.

There really is nothing to do. This is Buddhism.

Or am I wrong?

Just thinking out loud.
There is, of course, Right Effort
"And what, monks, is right effort?

"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

— SN 45.8


- As Chownah said.

DooDoot
Posts: 527
Joined: Tue Aug 08, 2017 11:06 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by DooDoot » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:50 pm

alfa wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm
"I have to do this, I have to do that. I must control my anger, I must be aware of my sorrow.".

Whenever we say such things, the question should follow: Who wants to do this or that, who wants to be aware?

The entity that says, "I must be aware," is born of the desire to be aware. Before this desire came about, this entity DID NOT exist.
The above is illogical because if the mind was free of desire & entity, this mind would not have anger or sorrow.
alfa wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm
There really is nothing to do. This is Buddhism.

Or am I wrong?
This is not wrong however the mind must be relatively pure before it can truly benefit from the practise of "nothing to do".
alfa wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 1:10 pm
Just thinking out loud.
Yes, thinking rather than practising "nothing to do". While "nothing to do" can cure problems, "nothing to do" most effectively prevents problems. This is why referring to "nothing to do" only as a cure is illogical.
Last edited by DooDoot on Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
cappuccino
Posts: 806
Joined: Thu Feb 11, 2016 1:45 am

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by cappuccino » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:55 pm

There is much to do… first understand the teaching.
Buddha has said, "As even a little excrement is of evil smell, I do not praise even the shortest spell of existence, be it no longer than a snap of the fingers."

dharmacorps
Posts: 205
Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2015 7:33 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by dharmacorps » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:26 pm

You could also examine why you are saying you "have to do" anything. These are choices. If you take the Buddha's teachings as a mandate, then you're missing the point in my opinion.

User avatar
DNS
Site Admin
Posts: 10911
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 4:15 am
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Contact:

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by DNS » Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:40 pm

If you look at the frequently found qualities in the 37 factors of enlightenment, Energy / Effort is listed 9 times; more than any other factor, even more than wisdom and concentration.

https://dhammawiki.com/index.php/37_fac ... _qualities

JohnK
Posts: 458
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2016 11:06 pm
Location: Tetons, Wyoming, USA

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by JohnK » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:39 pm

Seems like I've read from Thanissaro that people get the path mixed up with the goal.
The path is not to act lik one has reached the goal (for example, by forcing/feigning dispassion or non-becoming or non-doing or some such thing).
"A person searching for milk tries to get milk out of a cow by twisting its horn. Another person searching for milk tries to get milk out of the cow by pulling at its udder."

The Buddha taught this simile in response to an assertion that there is nothing a human being can do to attain release from suffering. We can attain it, he said, as long as we follow the right method, like the person pulling at the udder of the cow.
https://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/aut ... ning.html
So doing nothing, because that seems to have something to do with nibbana, would be (at best) mistaking the goal for the path and like twisting the cow's horn to get milk.
"Why is it, Master Kaccana, that ascetics fight with ascetics?"
"It is, brahmin, because of attachment to views, adherence to views, fixation on views, addiction to views, obsession with views, holding firmly to views that ascetics fight with ascetics" (AN 2: iv, 6, abridged).
Kindly eyes, not verbal daggers.

Garrib
Posts: 339
Joined: Mon May 30, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by Garrib » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:39 pm

JohnK wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:39 pm
So doing nothing, because that seems to have something to do with nibbana, would be (at best) mistaking the goal for the path and like twisting the cow's horn to get milk.
Good analogy - or you might say that twisting the cow's horn to get milk is like all the frantic "doing" that we are normally engaged in. We may have come to see that certain kinds of striving are pointless and in many cases even leading away from the goal. Then we erroneously conclude that either we should do the exact opposite of everything we've been doing (a la George from Seinfeld), or that we should do nothing at all. But to cultivate the Noble Eightfold path is what we should be doing, then we can see results.

User avatar
PuerAzaelis
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jun 02, 2016 12:44 pm

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by PuerAzaelis » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:41 pm

I liked it personally. But I’m coming from a place where confusing seed and fruit is sometimes a virtue.
And nobody in all of Oz. No Wizard that there is or was.

pegembara
Posts: 1164
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:39 am

Re: There is nothing to do

Post by pegembara » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:40 am

What did the Buddha do between his awakening and his passing away? Surely not nothing.
As for those who are not yet awakened, there is even more to do!
And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: dharmacorps, paul, Yahoo [Bot] and 65 guests