Right Effort

Right Effort

In life's seamless succession of this present moment
each action and thought is immature and impulsive,
determined more by chance than by merit or effort,
so what chance is there for right effort?

Shunryu Suzuki's right effort is effort to get rid of what is extra,
such as pride of accomplishment, attainment, and achievement,
and just to practice, just to live.

Suzuki also talks about the contamination of effort
by hope for personal gain, getting ahead, getting better,
for getting enlighted, or more crassly for wealth, fame, or sex.
Such hopes can block one's practice, and progress.

Thich Nhat Hahn says, if you want to help, it is probably right
but, as long as you want something in exchange for your effort,
such as attainment, recognition, fame, success, or money,
it is unlikely to be entirely right effort.

So do no wrong,
welcome and acknowledge your habitual thinking
that takes over when you forget to be mindful,
and return to mindfulness.

Let compassion be your guide, and try to help.

Various aspects of Right Effort are addressed in

Zazen Instruction
The paradox of right effort
The Pitfalls of "Getting Better"
My challenge, from Zazen
My history, of delusion
Longfellow, rewritten
Projects, and mindfulness

This page is partly taken from my Right, According to Buddha,
that roughly outlines Thich Nhat Hahn's book "The Heart of Buddha's Teaching"

Basic Buddhist guidelines are listed in my Buddhism in a Nutshell
Back to Preface
Back to Mind and Meditation