Achievement and Competition

“The problem with the rat race is that, even if you win, you’re still a rat.” —Lily Tomlin

Suzuki’s teaching can liberate us from working in an anxious or grasping mode:

Usually when you do something, you want to achieve something, you attach to some result. From achievement to non-achievement means to be rid of the unnecessary and bad results of effort. If you do something in the spirit of non-achievement, there is a good quality in it. So just to do something without any particular effort is enough. …you will become proud…involved in some idea of practice or attainment…(p. 59). Try not to achieve anything special. You already have everything in your own pure quality. If you understand this ultimate fact, there is no fear. There may be some difficulty, of course, but there is no fear. If people have difficulty without being aware of the difficulty, that is true difficulty. They may appear very confident. They may think they are making a big effort in the right direction, but without knowing it, what they do comes out of fear. Something may vanish for them. But if your effort is in the right direction, then there is no fear of losing anything. Even if it is in the wrong direction, if you are aware of that, you will not be deluded. There is nothing to lose. There is only the constant pure quality of right practice (p. 61).

Suzuki, S. (1999). Zen mind, beginner’s mind (1st rev. ed.). Weatherhill.

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