Don’t Get Comfortable

During our summer meetings back in July, Ven. Samu Sunim instructed us:

Don’t get comfortable in your practice. When you get comfortable, your training dies! Practice dies!

The specific context was about being frugal and efficient, especially in one’s use of natural resources. His remarks were prompted by our morning practice session. It was humid and we were sweating while prostrating, so we turned on the fan. When we sat, we left the fan on. In neither case was the fan necessary, but especially while we were sitting. We got lazy. And our practice suffered for it.

I want to explore Sunim’s remarks across various posts in the coming weeks. There is physical comfort and psychological comfort and both are dangerous to practice. Also, there is a contradiction in this for me that must be explored through practice. I live a comfortable life. I have shelter, food, a dog, friends, a partner, part-time employment, and good health. And yet I see truth in what he says – I see it because I experience it in my training. So how can I engage uncomfortable practice with the comfortable life I live?

Of course, I will also post about my studies, which now include the Diamond Sutra, the Platform Sutra, and the Awakening of Faith. These have changed my perception of and engagement with practice, Zen, and Buddhism, primarily by disabusing me of previous beliefs – or at least bringing out that I was fond of getting stuck and calling it progress. One way of getting stuck was that I was about to leave this blog altogether. Well, here is my practice of pulling my feet out of the mud.

But, reality is what it is, and I have teaching and job searching and many unexpected things that are calling me. So I will post as regularly as possible, which may be infrequently. Thank you for reading when you cross this blog’s path. Thank you for practicing. Thank you.

One thought on “Don’t Get Comfortable”

  1. Glad to have you back, however irregularly!

    The desire for comfort is one of the dread “five desires” that lead inevitably to you know where. I’m a sucker for this one more than any of the others – although that’s like comparing brown and white eggs.

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