Insight of Scarcity

Scarcity: 1. An insufficient Supply of something.
2. An infrequency of occurrence of something.
Or, Shortage, lack, dearth, insufficiency, paucity, etc.

Having a feeling of scarcity toward the Buddha-Dharma is perhaps the worst possible crime against the three treasures.

There are a few stories that put a fine point on this, and I think most of the readers here are fairly well versed in them. If you are coming from one of the Zen Traditions, the Shobogenzo and the Gateless Gate/ Blue Cliff Records may provide some perspective.

I won’t point you to the specific stories; you should just go ahead and find out for yourself. I would add that for me personally I would not stop there. One thing I have found interesting is that in the early days of Zen in China, monks that were truly seeking the truth rarely stayed with one teacher or sometimes even tradition. I think there may be good reason for that. The truth transcends dogma.

Anyway, the story that comes to mind at the moment is one with a kind of ridiculous idea of guarding the Dharma. I had for a long time considered myself a “protector” of the Dharma. I have since realized that the Dharma is all grown up and can take care of it self.

Admittedly, I have come from a place of scarcity.
The other day Barry commented that “If your goal is happiness than you are likely to be disappointed.” I agree with him happiness is not the goal, but I have found it to be a recurring byproduct of authentic practice.
Recently I have been spending a lot of time looking my practice in terms of a much larger frame work and I find that there are a lot of people across traditions that do not harbor a feeling of scarcity. They have something in common; they show signs of being present, genuine investigation of the Dharma, Zeal, Joy, Focus, and Equanimity. These are also known at the seven factors of enlightenment and these factors manifest themselves in different ways. I should learn to identify them.

I think that it is important to be able to see these factors in people that manifest these traits and enjoy fellowship with them. But at the same time it is also important to not give up on those that do harbor scarcity. In the Xtian tradition it might be said “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I have some faith that as we learn with people that we might begin to recognize these traits developing in place of what was once scarcity. Kindness is a good place to start. Isn’t that what the Mahayana vow’s are all about?

I start with acknowledging the scarcity I have harbored, forgiving myself and learning to inhibit the hindrance of scarcity for myself and others.

I think that we are coming into a new era of enlightenment. Or, at least I am. I do not think I am alone. Your experience may vary,and that’s OK.

I came across this today and think it is relevant:

If beings knew as I know the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.


Yamakoa said...

Thank you for the great post.
You certainly provided a lot of food to chew on.

There are certainly ample stories of ancient as well as modern "dharma teachers" that have studied from multiple teachers. One need not look past "Old Shak" himself. "Truth transcends dogma." Amen, brother.


Barry said...

Yes, indeed, happiness results naturally from authentic practice.

In my own experience, when I can stand with both feet planted in the truth, even the most difficult of things can reveal an abundance of joy.

The truth has no truck with dogma and does not exist anywhere outside of our own minds.

Earlier today, Ted quoted Lin-chi on his Dogen blog:

"If you want to be no different from the patriarchs and buddhas, then never look for something outside yourselves."

That's where our work must occur, a place of great abundance!

Thank you, Jordan!

SlowZen said...

Glad you found the writing ample.




I heard of a story of an old Japanese monk who said something like "Some people say there is mind, but I say no mind, but never mind."

Would you consider that perhaps even the mind is nothing but another transient phenomenon pulsing in and out of reality only capable of creating an impression?

Work occurs, transiently!

Anonymous said...

Really nice post, Jordan. Thanks for sharing your insights, those coming from authentic practice. Thank-you for your dedication to the truth.
With Deep respect,

SlowZen said...

Thank you for your generous comments.

Thanks for looking!