[To you] 3. To you who are totally exhausted from fighting with your spouse

 The question isn’t who’s right. You’re simply seeing things from different points of view.

 Stop trying to be something special – and just be what you are. Hold fire. Just sit!

 It all begins when we say, “I”. Everything that follows is illusion.

 Everyone imagines that their ego is something unchangeable, some immovable center-point which everything revolves around. There once was a man who said, “Look, everyone is dying except me!” He’s been dead for a long time now.

 Everybody talks about marrying for love, but isn’t it really just marrying for sex? In the end isn’t it really only about a penis and a vagina? Why doesn’t anybody simply say that he’s fallen in love with a vagina?

 Take a look sometime at the face of a dog who’s just had sex. He just stares into space with strangely empty eyes. It’s exactly the same with people – in the beginning they work themselves up into a frenzy, and in the end there’s nothing at all.

 A man who understands nothing marries a woman who understands nothing, and everyone says, “Congratulations!” Now that’s something I cannot understand.

 Family is the place where parents and children, husband and wife simultaneously all get on each other’s nerves.

 When a child is defiant, the parents curse, “You don’t understand anything!” But what are the parents like? Isn’t it also true that they don’t understand anything either? Everyone is lost in ignorance.

 Everyone is talking about education, but what are we being educated to be? Ordinary citizens, that’s all.

 Even funnier than watching the monkeys at the zoo is observing these humans on the loose.

[To you] 2. To you who think there’s something to being “in”

You’re always hanging onto others. If somebody’s eating French fries, you want French fries too. If somebody’s sucking on a candy, you want a candy too. If somebody’s blowing on a penny whistle, you scream, “Mommy, buy me a penny whistle too!”

And that doesn’t just go for children.

When spring comes, you let spring turn your head. When autumn comes, you let autumn turn your head. Everyone is just waiting for something to turn their head. Some even make a living turning heads – they produce advertising.

People love emotional confusion. Just look at the film posters in front of the cinema: nothing but emotional confusion on their faces. Buddha-dharma means not putting yourself at the mercy of emotional confusion. In the world, on the other hand, a big fuss is made over nothing.

It goes with being an ordinary person: he can only see with the eyes of collective stupidity.

Being surrounded by heroes and scraping up the courage to play hero yourself – there’s nothing so heroic about that. A thief says to his son, “If you don’t stop right away with your damned honesty, you’ll never be a respectable thief like me. You are a disgrace to the profession!”

Man makes a clever face and talks about being lord on Earth. And at the same time he doesn’t even know where to begin with his own body: he watches sports on television and defends himself saying that everyone else does it too.

We live in group stupidity and confuse this insanity with true experience. It is essential that you become transparent to yourself and wake up from this madness. Zazen means taking leave of the group and walking on your own two feet.

One at a time people are still bearable, but when they form cliques, they start to get stupid. They fall into group stupidity. They’re so determined to become stupid as a group that they found clubs and pay membership dues. Zazen means taking leave of group stupidity.


Excerpts from To you by Sawaki Kodo Rôshi

The full text of the ebook is here for those who can’t be bothered to open post by post.

[To you] 1. To you who can’t stop worrying about how others see you

You can’t even trade a single fart with the next guy. Each and every one of us has to live out his own life. Don’t waste time thinking about who’s most talented.

The eyes don’t say, “Sure we’re lower, but we see more.”
The eyebrows don’t reply, “Sure we don’t see anything, but we are higher up.”
Living out the buddha-dharma means fulfilling your function completely without knowing that you’re doing it. A mountain doesn’t know it’s tall. The sea doesn’t know it’s wide and deep. Each and every thing in the universe is active without knowing it.

The bird’s singing and the flower’s laughter appear naturally,
completely independent from the person sitting in zazen at the foot of the cliff.

The bird doesn’t sing in honor of the person in zazen. The flower doesn’t blossom to amaze the person with her beauty. In exactly the same way, the person doesn’t sit in zazen in order to get satori. Every single being simply realizes the self, through the self, for the self.

Religion means living your own life, completely fresh and new, without being taken in by anyone.

Hey! What are you looking at? Don’t you see that it’s about you?

The asshole doesn’t need to be ashamed of being the asshole. The feet don’t have any reason to go on strike just because they’re only feet. The head isn’t the most important of all, and the navel doesn’t need to imagine he’s the father of all things.
It’s strange though that people look at the prime minister as an especially important person. The nose can’t replace the eyes, and the mouth can’t replace the ears.
Everything has its own identity, which is unsurpassable in the whole universe.

Some children have caught a mouse and now it’s writhing in the trap. They’re having fun watching how it scrapes its nose till it bleeds and how it rips up its tail . . . In the end they’ll throw it to the cat for food.
If I was sitting in the mouse’s place, I’d say to myself, “You damn humans won’t have any fun with me!” And I’d simply sit zazen…


Excerpts from To you by Sawaki Kodo Rôshi

The full text of the ebook is here for those who can’t be bothered to open post by post.

THE IKEA EFFECT, WHY WE OVERVALUE WHAT WE MAKE?

I didn’t write this article myself. I just feel like sharing and on the same occasion, practicing typing. 🙂

It was extracted from the book named “The upside of irrationality” I’m reading, which is so interesting and quite familiar to each of us, in my opinion.

Enjoy reading!

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A few days later, we set up an origami booth in the student centre at Harvard and offered students the opportunity to create either an origami frog or an origami crane (which were of similar complexity). We also told the participants that their finished creations would techically belong to us but that we would give them the opportunity to bid for their origami in an auction.

We told participants that they were going to bit against a computer using a special method called the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak procedure (named after its inventors), which we then explained to them in minute detail. In short, a computer would spit out a random number after the participant made his or her bid for the item. If the participant’s bid was higher than the computer’s, they would receive the origami and pay the price set by the computer. On the other hand, if a participant’s bid was lower than the computer’s, they would not pay a thing nor receive the origami. The reason we used this procedure was to ensure that it was in the participant’s best interest to bid the highest amount that they were willing to pay for their origami – not a penny more or less.

One of the first people to approach the booth was Scott, an eager third-year political science major. After explaining the experiment adn the rules of the auction, we provided him with the instructions for creating both the frog and the crane. If you happen to have appropriate paper handy, feel free to try it yourself.

Scott, whom we put into the creator condition, carefully followed the instructions, making sure each fold matched the diagram. In the end, he had made a very passable origami frog. When we asked what he would bid for it (using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak procedure), he paused and then said firmly: “25 cents”. Hid bid was very close to the average bid in the creator condition, which was 23 cents.

Just then another student named Jason wandered up to the table and looked at Scott’s little creation. “What would you bid for this frog?”, the experimenter asked. Since Jason was just a passerby, he was in the noncreator condition; his job was simply to tell us how much he valued Scott’s creation. Jason picked up the folded paper and examined its well-formed head and uneven legs. He even pushed it on its back-side to make it jump a little. Finally, his bid for the frog (again using the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak procedure) was 5 cents, which was the average for those in the noncreator condition.

There was a distinct difference in valuation between the two conditions. The noncreators, like Jason, saw amateurish crumples of paper that looked more like folded mutations created by an evil scientist in a basement laboratory. At the same time, the creators of those crumples clearly imbued them with worth. Still, we did not know from this difference in bidding what caused the disparity in evaluations. Did the creators simply enjoy the art of orgami in general, while the noncreators (who did not have a chance to make origami) were indifferent to folded sheets of paper? Or did the participants in both conditions appreciate origami to the same degree, while the creators were deeply in love with their own particular creations? Put another way, did Scott and his co-horts fall in love with origami in general or just with their own creations?

To get an initial answer to these questions, we asked two origami experts to make frogs and cranes. Then we asked another group of noncreators to bid on their objectively gorgeous work. This time, the noncreators bid an average of 27 cents. The degree to which noncreators valued the professional-looking origami was very close to the bids made by Scott and his friends on their own amateurish art (23 cents) and much higher than the bids of the noncreators on the amateurish art (5 cents).

These results showed us that the creators had a substantial bias when evaluating their own work. Noncreators viewed the amateurish art as useless and the professional version as much, much more exciting. In contrast, the creators saw their own work as almost as good as the experts’ origami. It seemed that the difference between creators and noncreators was not in how they viewed the art of origami in general, but in the way that the creators came to love and overvalue their own creations.

In summary, these initial experiments suggest that once we build something, we do, in fact, view it with more loving eyes. As an old Arabic saying goes, “Even the monkey, in his mother’s eyes, is an antelope.”

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We tend to overvalue our own beloved creations: seem like your children or nieces or nephews are the cutest and smartest kids in the world, your achievements or experiences are more special, photos you took are more beautiful than others’… Sounds familiar?After reading these paragraphs, few things have happened around me suddenly make sense. 😉

Thanks for reading.

ENGLISH VINGLISH

There’s a question that has floated inside my head for a long time.

“What is the definition of a strong woman?”

I kept seeking for the answer somewhere so far. I’ve read several seem-like-related books. I’ve spent time reading quite many psychology articles and even quotes about strong woman. But none of them makes enough sense.

I became absorbed in those stuffs and forgot to look around until I watched the movie named “English Vinglish”. It reminded me of my Mom, other traditional Vietnamese women, girls around my age and myself also.

My Mom is exactly the kind of woman like Shashi at the begining of the movie, a household wife. She is really good at cooking and taking care of the family, spending most of her free time on those two tasks. Although she has never graduated from any university, she still managed to make ends meet during our difficult time. I’ve never heard any complaint from her, yet several years later, I knew how many difficulties she had suffered.Not only my Mom, but also your Mom and those who are called MOTHERS are strong women when they’re trying their best to protect their families.

I do hope we (I and my younger sister) didn’t say any bad words to my Mom during our childhood. For now, she’s my brightest lighthouse.

If you watched the movie, you would remember there’re two meaningful quotes that Shashi said at the end of the movie. (If you haven’t watched the movie and are going to watch it someday, stop here!!! Remember, I’ve already warned you!)

Following is the first one.

“This marriage is a beautiful thing. It’s the most special friendship, friendship of two people who are equal. Life is a long journey. Meera, sometimes you will feel you are less. Kevin, sometimes you will also feel you are less than Meera. Try to help eachother to feel equal. It will be nice. Sometimes married couple don’t even know how the other is feeling. So… how to help the other? Does it mean marriage is finished? No. That is the time you have to help yourself. Nobody can help you better than you. If you do that, you will return feeling equal. Your friendship will return. Your life will be beautiful. Meera, Kevin, maybe you will very busy, but have family… son… daughter. In this world, your small little world, it will make you feel so good. Family can never be judgemental. Family will never put you down, will never make you feel small. Family is the only one who will never laugh at your weaknesses. Family is the only place where you will always get love and respect. That’s all, Meera and Kevin. I wish you all the best.”

I think this quote is also true in every real relationship. Family, lovers, friends. Those who are truly love you will never put you down nor give up on you, no matter what happens. You can easily realize them among this huge world. They are those people whom you always feel equal, safe and happy when being near, because you know they will never intentionally hurt you.

Some people might argue that trusting is like taking risks with our hearts and emotional investment. They might be right, because the truth is, if we open our hearts we might get hurt, but we will never know unless we try. I believe if you know yourself well enough, know how to make yourself happy, you will never let people hurt you and let their betrayals stop you trusting.

Strong woman knows how to love and make herself happy.

That’s what I’ve learnt from girls around me, my sweet sisters and my dear friends. They, the same as me, are on their way to find who they are and what they live for.

And this is the second quote Shashi said to the French guy who was in love with her (but I think it’s more likely that she said it to herself).

“When you don’t like yourself, you tend to dislike everything connected to you, new things seem to be more attractive. When you learn to love yourself, then the same old life starts looking new, starts looking nice. Thank you for teaching me how to love myself.”

Being love is a wonderful feeling that everyone deserve to experience. I’ve learnt to appreciate every good or even bad thing comes to my life and simply accept the fact that people I love will sooner or later leave me. I no longer put my happiness outside. I believe that the world full of happiness and without misery is nowhere but inside each of us. Make yourself happy first, and then, help the others or vice versa, help the others first and that will help you anyway. That’s how to keep your bucket always full.

I’m still on my way to form my definition of strong women. What is yours?

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I finished my practice writing this time here.

Any comments, corrections, suggestions (on grammar, word usages or anything related to this writing) are welcomed! 🙂