The Buddha stops him and says, "You have 83 problems."
The farmer says, "That sounds about right. How do I fix them?"
Buddha says, "I can't help you. You’ll always have 83 problems. Maybe you solve one, or it goes away on its own, but another pops up to take its place. Always 83 problems."
The farmer says: "Well, what good are you?"
Buddha says, "I can help with the 84th problem."
The farmer says: "What’s the 84th problem?"
Buddha says, "You think you should have no problems."
For the person with good boundaries, problems don’t bother them. Problems arise. One responds to them as well as one can. This is life. Whether you call them problems or challenges, there’s always the next one to meet.
Having good boundaries doesn’t keep out your 83 problems, but it does keep out the 84th problem. With good boundaries, your problems don’t define you; you aren’t consumed with the thought that you shouldn’t be having this problem.
The 84th problem is the extra. Your problems (or challenges) are enough by themselves; you don't need to add anything extra. But we often do add extra problem to our problems. Whenever we're annoyed by the problem, when we think it's wrong that the problem exists, when we let the problem trigger our reactivity and upset our equanimity, we are adding extra problem to our problem. Good boundaries keep out the extra.
Yours in the faith we share,
Practice of the Week: Come Back to Basics Keep commitments, don't be outrageous, and be patient and fair. On the spiritual path, over and over again it is a good idea to keep coming back to a few basic principles. By doing so, you can bound your actions with discipline. You can keep your practice on track. READ MORE
Your Moment of Zen: Are You Ready? In #87, Raven said, "Things just come in. Do you listen, or do you hear? When you listen, you are paying attention to something out there, but when you hear, the sounds just come in. You are sitting there with your ears open, and the dove calls out. That sound defines you. Once you are defined like that, the cedars can define you, the faraway skunk can define you."
The whole universe continually defines you.
After Raven's response to Mole [see PREVIOUS], the community fell silent.Verse
Finally, Woodpecker spoke up: "A while back you said that the call of the dove defines us, and now you say that when Owl hoots, the whole forest hoots. I'm confused. Do the two sounds have different functions?"
Raven said, "When Owl hoots, the whole forest hoots. Are you ready to be defined?
"Ready or not, here I come," says Definition,
And I, having not found a satisfactory hiding place,
Dive behind a near and inadequate concealment.
Pretending otherwise, I have long since been found.
Pretending otherwise, I relish re-discovery.
Pretending otherwise, Definition is neither ready
Case by Robert Aitken; introduction and verse by Meredith GarmonRaven Index ☙ Zen Practice at CUUC