Buddhist Reflection: It’s About Doing What You Want


In the book Sex, Sin, And Zen author Brad Warner makes a very insightful statement. He says

I remember being shocked when I first heard Nishijima Roshi say that Buddhism was all about doing exactly what you want. I’d been practicing for ten years by then , and it never seemed at all to be about doing what I wanted….But through this practice I’ve come to see that what I really wanted all along was just to be authentically who I actually am. Most of what I what I though I needed, I didn’t really need. Most of what I thought I wanted, I didn’t really want. The false sense of self I thought I had to build up, defend, and sustain 24/7 turned out to be a phantom, to be nothing at all. Yet like Suzuki Roshi said, “Just to be you is enough, you know.”

I love this quote and thinking about it further has left with me with the opinion that doing what you want is twofold. One must be in a certain place emotionally and mentally so that they have the courage to live life in a way that is best for them-without (internal or external)  hindrances. It takes courage and deep insight to be authentically who you are.  The other part of it is having enough self-awareness so that you can go about doing what you want in a balanced and healthy way. A way that does not harm yourself or others. How one gains that self-awareness and balance is up to them-it’s part of their journey. The key word to doing what you want is doing. To do is a verb. It suggests action. But no matter how it’s done  it must be through a constant proactive process, one that is incorporated in our daily practice.

It’s really that simple. Not much else for me to expand on.



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