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Facing life versus escaping it

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“The important point of spiritual practice is not to try to escape your life, but to face it – exactly and completely.” – Roshi Dainin Katagiri

A few weeks ago, I came across this quote from Roshi Dainin, a monk who came to the United States in 1963.  These seemingly simple words reinforce an important aspect of my spirituality (or at least what I want to accomplish with it). I’m not sure most people in American society try to necessarily escape their lives through spirituality, but perhaps we wrap ourselves in it, as a sort of protection or distraction instead of using it to fully immerse ourselves in life.

This is one area where Buddhism is, in my mind, astoundingly clear, because it requires that we engage our own minds, which is what “life” is, from a Buddhist perspective, or at least where it starts. If, as the old saying goes, everything around us is an illusion, then engaging the present state of our mind, just as it is right now, would seem to be an absolute requirement.

For me, I’m still trying to figure out what exactly Roshi meant by this statement. Even so, it’s something I’ve taken to heart. It seems that my spirituality shouldn’t be as much a refuge, per se, as a way to move from one moment to the next.

Author: Sean

I am Sean, a writer/PR guy originally from the Rural South who grew up and settled down in Washington, D.C. My interests include local politics, Eastern philosophy, languages and reality television.

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