Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: "Do good, avoid evil, nourish the spirit"

  1. #1
    Anton S.'s Avatar
    Anton S. is offline Sifu Anton Schmick - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Germany
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hamburg / Frankfurt / Zürich
    Posts
    1,122

    "Do good, avoid evil, nourish the spirit"

    Dear Family,

    I am sure almost everyone knows the quintessential saying of applied Buddhism that goes "Do good, avoid evil, nourish the spirit".

    However, I wonder how you implement this in your daily life?
    Where do you put your emphasis on?
    And what are the pitfalls in doing good, avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit?

    Looking forward to an inspiring discussion!

    With best regards,
    Anton
    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

    May all of you get the best benefits from what you do.

    Anton Schmick
    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord

    shaolinwahnamchina.com
    http://chikunghamburg.wordpress.com
    http://shaolinwahnam-nord.de
    http://kungfu-luebeck.de


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Utrecht, Netherlands
    Posts
    11
    Dear Sifu Anton,

    I hope you are doing well! These are three beautiful universal notions that Sigung has shared with us. From the Zen tradition, these three seemingly simplistic directions are in fact very profound, not at the level of logic, but at the level of practice. I wrote to Sigung asking him a personal question and one of his responses was this: "A sure way is to develop good karma, or cause and effect. Do at least a good turn every day, no matter how small it may be. Do it not because you want to have good karma, as it will inevitably occur, but do it because it is the right thing to do."

    This is a wonderful way of following these three tenets of Buddhism. I often apply it just by doing a small favour for some friends or even strangers. I also joined a Buddhist temple and plan to voluntarily teach the nuns at my temple English. Of course it is important to expect nothing in return, as Sigung stated we must conceive doing good as our duty. As we continue our practice of doing good, I am sure that avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit will occur simultaneously. We are lucky in Shaolin Wahnam because these 3 tenets tend to develop naturally through our practice, this is the reason why we start our practice with Smiling from the heart (a simple, but great way of strengthening the 3 tenets). I additionally have been chanting the Medicine Buddha Dharani, or simply the Medicine Buddha's name in my spare time. I feel a great benefit from it. Here is a link to the sutra, it is a great read: http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/medbudsutra.pdf

    Kind regards,
    Miguel

    Last edited by Anton S.; 19th November 2017 at 11:42 AM. Reason: link added :)

  3. #3
    Anton S.'s Avatar
    Anton S. is offline Sifu Anton Schmick - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Germany
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hamburg / Frankfurt / Zürich
    Posts
    1,122
    Dear Miguel,

    Thank you for asking, I am doing good.
    Also, it´s great you are doing good and the English teaching project seems very interesting.

    As we continue our practice of doing good, I am sure that avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit will occur simultaneously.
    But let me ask if doing good does contribute to avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit, why did the old masters not condense the essence in simply "do good"?

    With best regards,
    Anton
    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

    May all of you get the best benefits from what you do.

    Anton Schmick
    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord

    shaolinwahnamchina.com
    http://chikunghamburg.wordpress.com
    http://shaolinwahnam-nord.de
    http://kungfu-luebeck.de


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Valparaiso, Fl
    Posts
    83
    Perhaps because they knew there are more direct and effective methods of nourishing the spirit than simply doing good and avoiding evil.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Utrecht, Netherlands
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by Anton S. View Post

    "But let me ask if doing good does contribute to avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit, why did the old masters not condense the essence in simply "do good"?"
    Dear Sifu Anton,

    I believe the answer to your question can be discovered within a basic understanding of the philosophy of Zen Buddhism itself. As you know Zen Buddhism aims at letting go of the illusion of duality. Good and Evil are clearly a duality. However, the destruction of duality is not for all practitioners, it is mainly for monks searching for enlightenment. These instructions are probably best suited for laymen, those who do not decide to live in the monastery. I am guessing that the Buddha (or whoever else gave these directions) did not combine them into only good because he did not want to act as if what he what he was saying was not subjected to duality. Better to demonstrate that the two ideas are duals and therefore subject to creating cyclic existence. Why pick only one when you know that there are two? Duals are the common distinctions that us laymen make because we know no other way of conceiving of reality. However, I believe that it is a very useful tool for us. Simply because we might not be ready for enlightenment in this life, but if we cultivate "good" karma and not "evil" karma than we will be reborn in the next life with conditions more suitable to attaining enlightenment. Why did i say that doing good will eventually help avoiding evil and nourishing the spirit? Because by doing good, our mind will eventually create a karmic reality or change our circumstances for ourselves in a way that will allow us to overcome the duality dichotomy. Alex's point is interesting and must be correct, although those direct and effective methods of nourishing spirit were reserved for practitioners dedicated to attaining enlightenment here and now, and not in the next life. Sigung likes using this simplistic conception of Buddhism because as he says, our school is not for attaining enlightenment. We are not monks but lay persons who are dedicated to practicing good in this life so that in our next life we can go to heaven and then reach enlightenment . I would guess that Jesus also made the same distinctions between good and evil because he wanted people to go to heaven where they would have an eternal and better life. The Buddha also shows us this option: we can chant Amitabha Buddha or even Medicine Buddha and they will accept us into their heavenly realm. Or we can simply also just do good and we will arrive at a better existence. I hope I answered the question well and clearly and did not make any false assumptions. I believe our practice is simplistic and beautiful and through it we will more easily get the benefits of doing good, avoiding evil and nourish spirit.

    Best wishes,
    Miguel

  6. #6
    Anton S.'s Avatar
    Anton S. is offline Sifu Anton Schmick - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Germany
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hamburg / Frankfurt / Zürich
    Posts
    1,122
    Dear Alex, good point!

    Dear Miguel, thank you for your reply! You have made interesting points.

    I understand the phrase "do good, avoid evil, nourish your spirit" as three instructions. Obviously doing one, does not make you achieve doing them all.
    No need to mention that distinguishing good from evil (as well as distinguishing each from nourishing the spirit) is very useful.

    What are the traps? Hypothetically you can do good and create evil (like being good at your job, which is to produce weaponry; or running a good company, which runs on child labor (without your knowledge) etc.). Or you can nourish the spirit but fail to do good (like being self-absorbed with your own cultivation), also you can avoid evil, without doing any good or nourishing the spirit (like avoid stealing for example, but not engaging in wholesome activities or nourishing the spirit). You can combine these possibilities and get myriad options, realize that doing all three is not simple and conclude that life is complicated.

    That´s why I think it is interesting to share this.
    So coming back to my question maybe some members would like to join our discussion

    I wonder how you implement "do good, avoid evil, nourish your spirit" in your daily life? Where do you put your emphasis on? And why?

    With best regards,
    Anton.
    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

    May all of you get the best benefits from what you do.

    Anton Schmick
    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord

    shaolinwahnamchina.com
    http://chikunghamburg.wordpress.com
    http://shaolinwahnam-nord.de
    http://kungfu-luebeck.de


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Utrecht, Netherlands
    Posts
    11
    Dear Sifu Anton,
    Thank you for your response. I would also like to mention the discussion I had with one of the nuns at the monastery in my city. Today I was telling her more about our Kung fu practice which she was very interested in. I told her that we do not practice sitting meditation because it is quite powerful and that Sigung doesn't teach it because of the moral implications that could go with it (meaning that students could both easily overtrain or deviate in their practice) thus for our needs this is why standing meditation is better. She told me that actually sitting meditation was not the main area that the Buddha concentrated on in his teachings. Instead he wanted most people to concentrate on moral practices. She said this was because when doing sitting meditation, if you attained a high level quickly and were not morally upright, you would very easily deviate from the path. She said this is why having a master is key in practicing sitting meditation because the master can keep you on a beneficial spiritual and moral path at all times. Sigung has mentioned this himself and has organised the arts in such a way that we can slow down our level of spiritual progress and work on our health and morality which will then contribute to our happiness and ultimately our spiritual cultivation. Why I am mentioning this is because I too would really enjoy and benefit from hearing the more practical side of the argument, meaning implementation, from students or masters who have been in Shaolin Wahnam longer than I have.

    Kind regards,

    Miguel

Similar Threads

  1. "Microcosmic" Discussion with "Wu Jing"
    By Wu Jing in forum Other Styles of Chi Kung
    Replies: 176
    Last Post: 13th September 2008, 01:55 PM
  2. " Spirit Boxing "
    By hakfudisciple in forum Other Spiritual Systems
    Replies: 23
    Last Post: 23rd May 2004, 02:47 AM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •