Page 1 of 3

working hard

Posted: Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:23 pm
by Mirror
Hello, I was thinking about this many times, because I don't understand it properly. When lamas say:"You should work hard!" what does it exactly mean? Because I think that in our western culture it means something different than in Buddhism. In the west, we usually force ourselves into something (it depends on our personal goal), when we "work hard". So my understanding is that, when (in the west) we work hard in buddhism, we usually force ourselves into meditation, learning dharma, etc., but that's the bad approach as I discovered. So what does working hard actually mean in the case of buddhism and practicing dharma?

Thank you for any answer :)

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:24 am
by Johnny Dangerous
It means to do your best, earnestly. I think.

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:28 am
by Queequeg
There is a degree of discipline required in Buddhist practice. I actually don't think its all that different from putting time and effort into things you do for money. Getting up early to get practice in even when you would like to sleep more. Staying up a little later to finish, even though you'd like to go to sleep. Studying when you'd rather be doing something distracting and pleasurable. Sitting through meditation even though your mind is jumping around.

Anyone can practice when its blissful. The real work is done when you'd just rather do something else and its a chore. When doubt creeps in.

The energetic effort, focus, discipline, persistence... all these things that are boons on the path incidentally are building blocks of successful working careers. I don't think its just a coincidence that Buddhism has traditionally been associated with merchant, business and artisan classes.

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:34 am
by stevie
I'd prefer 'patience' and 'joyous perseverance'.

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 6:01 pm
by Mirror
Queequeg wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:28 am
Anyone can practice when its blissful. The real work is done when you'd just rather do something else and its a chore. When doubt creeps in.
:good:
This is very well written.

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:30 pm
by well wisher
Great points above. But I also believe it is very important to keep calm and steady during the progress.
Be kind to yourself, don't push yourself too hard or rush yourself too quickly, otherwise it might lead to pointless agony and loss of motivation and self-defeat.

I believe the phrase "giving it 200%", or anything above 100%, to be useless hyperbole and exaggerations.
As plenty of scientific and news articles already has proven - working yourself to death for money, also know as Karoshi in Japan, is a very real sickness. Make sure not to fall into that dangerous extreme!

Re: working hard

Posted: Sat Mar 02, 2019 11:16 pm
by Queequeg
well wisher wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:30 pm
Great points above. But I also believe it is very important to keep calm and steady during the progress.
Be kind to yourself, don't push yourself too hard or rush yourself too quickly, otherwise it might lead to pointless agony and loss of motivation and self-defeat.

I believe the phrase "giving it 200%", or anything above 100%, to be useless hyperbole and exaggerations.
As plenty of scientific and news articles already has proven - working yourself to death for money, also know as Karoshi in Japan, is a very real sickness. Make sure not to fall into that dangerous extreme!
Yes. The middle way is a critical value to keep in mind.

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:56 am
by Mirror
well wisher wrote:
Sat Mar 02, 2019 10:30 pm
I believe the phrase "giving it 200%", or anything above 100%, to be useless hyperbole and exaggerations.
As plenty of scientific and news articles already has proven - working yourself to death for money, also know as Karoshi in Japan, is a very real sickness. Make sure not to fall into that dangerous extreme!
:good:

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:05 am
by Grigoris
I am going to disagree, to an extent, with what people have said so far.

I believe it means that you have to bust your chops.

Put in the time.

Don't skip sessions.

Observe your samaya (vows) like they are your eyes.

Purify when you break samaya.

Push your comfort zone to breaking point and beyond.

You don't know when you will have this precious human existence again, so do not piss it away!

When the teachers say "work hard" they mean work f*ckin' hard!

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:45 am
by well wisher
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:05 am
I am going to disagree, to an extent, with what people have said so far.

I believe it means that you have to bust your chops.

Put in the time.

Don't skip sessions.

Observe your samaya (vows) like they are your eyes.

Purify when you break samaya.

Push your comfort zone to breaking point and beyond.

You don't know when you will have this precious human existence again, so do not piss it away!

When the teachers say "work hard" they mean work f*ckin' hard!
Well Grigoris, I agree that is generally a great goal to aim for, to spend as much time and make as much progress as possible.
But I fear it might not be realistic in many layperson situations. Because we only have 24 hours in a day, with jobs, family/friends obligations to fulfill, etc.
I think steady calm progress, with joyful cultivation in between at a reasonable pace, is a more feasible path for practice.

Real life Examples: all the meditation sessions I have attended so far, gives time for rest or walking practice, in between after 1~3 hours.
Even the 10-day Goenka Vipasanna Retreat I attended several years before, allocates night time for sleep and breaks in between hours of meditations.

And I also think a person can end up "busting" oneself prematurely through excessively "working hard":
Possibly broken family/friends relationships, less money / material goods to support oneself, limited hours and energy ... etc.
It is a huge gamble to bet all your life energy and time in working hard, in a very rushed manner.
Can you 100% guarantee one will end up in a Buddha's pure land, or total liberation state, if one ends up dying prematurely via extreme practice?

But i suppose one would not know one's own limits until one has tested it him/herself, until one faints or collapses maybe?!
Luckily our modern day healthcare is much more advanced, so hopefully those good doctors and nurses will heal you back up so you can try again!

One special case caveat I know of: The all encompassing practice! Then maybe it becomes easier and more possible to achieve spending more time and energy on it.
I guess it depends on how broadly you would define practice ;)
"Whether you are walking, standing still, sitting, or lying down, everything is Chan practice."
Source: http://chancenter.org/cmc/chan-practice/

Wishing all is well,

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:06 pm
by Grigoris
well wisher wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:45 am
Well Grigoris, I agree that is generally a great goal to aim for, to spend as much time and make as much progress as possible.
But I fear it might not be realistic in many layperson situations. Because we only have 24 hours in a day, with jobs, family/friends obligations to fulfill, etc.
It is completely realistic. You know how much time we waste unnecessarily on worldly activity?

Now if Dharma practice is a hobby for you, fine.

But if you are serious...

If you really don't have time for serious practice, then devoting your time to generating merit through Dana so that next lifetime... may be the best option for "you".

If you cannot hold samaya, then do not take them.
Can you 100% guarantee one will end up in a Buddha's pure land, or total liberation state, if one ends up dying prematurely via extreme practice?
When was the last time you met somebody that died prematurely from extreme practice? How many people do you know that died prematurely from indulging worldly activities?

Let's get real here and stop making weak excuses!

The lineage I currently practice in is largely a lay lineage (the founder was a lay person). My teacher is a lay person. You think he allows worldly activity override his samaya?

It is all a matter of priorities (and time management).

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:19 pm
by well wisher
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:06 pm
When was the last time you met somebody that died prematurely from extreme practice?
Some extreme examples below, sad unfortunate stories of premature deaths via extreme practice, even the practice is noble and good and on surface:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... alone.html
"Woman starves to death in spiritual quest to live on sunlight alone "

https://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/08/maga ... -body.html
"How Yoga Can Wreck Your Body - The New York Times"

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/21/us/21faith.html
"Trials for Parents Who Chose Faith Over Medicine"

Some of the above stories might need its authenticity verified. As we all should know, not all stories published on internet are true.
But clearly, extremism is not safe! Extreme asceticism that attempts to thwart reasons.
That is why the Buddhism's "middle reasonable ways", is so very noble and very correct! (in my opinion at least).

Anyways I would agree that the final death-gate needs to be conquered, preferably in this life time when the time and conditions are right.
Towards the final death-less gate! To full liberation, as the final part of the 4 noble truths!

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:44 pm
by Grigoris
This is a Buddhist site and I am talking about Buddhist practice, not New Age quackery...

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:42 pm
by Queequeg
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:05 am
Push your comfort zone to breaking point and beyond.
How do you square that with the Buddha taking gruel and recalling sitting beneath the rose apple tree?

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:05 pm
by Grigoris
Queequeg wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:42 pm
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:05 am
Push your comfort zone to breaking point and beyond.
How do you square that with the Buddha taking gruel and recalling sitting beneath the rose apple tree?
Dude, he almost starved himself to death before taking gruel. It is not quite the same as sitting one's ass down for an hour or so of practice a day (something well beyond most of our comfort zones). ;)

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:08 pm
by Queequeg
Ok, so we have a limit... Just probing to identify that limit.

I agree with that.

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:45 pm
by stevie
well wisher wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 11:45 am
I guess it depends on how broadly you would define practice ;)
There shouldn't be any doubt that practice should be uninterrupted. Otherwise relapse will occur soon after every practice session. So it's good advice to 'work hard' at being mindful continuously.

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:20 pm
by boda
There’s a huge difference between working hard and working deliberately. People tend to work hard just going through the motions, and consequently they stagnate or even get worse at whatever they’re trying to achieve.

People can loose focus and their practice will suffer. See this failing, they’ll often rationalize their poor practice or blame others for it. This is silly, because all they need to do is practice deliberately. Don’t do what feels good, do what you know is right.

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:47 pm
by Grigoris
boda wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:20 pm
There’s a huge difference between working hard and working deliberately. People tend to work hard just going through the motions, and consequently they stagnate or even get worse at whatever they’re trying to achieve.

People can loose focus and their practice will suffer. See this failing, they’ll often rationalize their poor practice or blame others for it. This is silly, because all they need to do is practice deliberately.
Your are just engaging in pointless word games.
Don’t do what feels good, do what you know is right.
This I have to agree with.

Re: working hard

Posted: Tue Mar 12, 2019 6:37 pm
by boda
Grigoris wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:47 pm
boda wrote:
Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:20 pm
There’s a huge difference between working hard and working deliberately. People tend to work hard just going through the motions, and consequently they stagnate or even get worse at whatever they’re trying to achieve.

People can loose focus and their practice will suffer. Seeing this failing, they’ll often rationalize their poor practice or blame others for it. This is silly, because all they need to do is practice deliberately.
Your are just engaging in pointless word games.
Don’t do what feels good, do what you know is right.
This I have to agree with.
Does it feel good to dismiss what I say as pointless word games?

There a lot of research to support the efficacy of deliberate practice. If you’re not opposed to feeling some degree of discomfort in being publicly proved wrong, google Eric Anderson and deliberate practice. Or just do what feels good.