Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Non-Real Estate Related Reading

In a comment on my last post, I mentioned I tried to take a Zen-like approach to problems and Trish asked for suggestions on adopting that approach. In actuality, I take more of a Taoist-like approach, but people are more familiar with Zen than Taoism, so that's the phrase I usually use. (FYI, "Tao" is pronounced "dao".)

Like, I think, many Americans of my generation, I was raised in one religion but have looked to others as I've matured and have ended up with sort of a hodge-podge of beliefs taken from various belief systems. Sort of a religion a la carte. This would probably be anathema to my parents or older generations, but it seems to work for me. Technically, I am Roman Catholic, although the direction the Church has taken the last several years has moved further and further away from my beliefs. I also am strongly drawn to Asian philosophies, mainly Taoism. Zen Buddhism has attractions, but I dislike it's use of koans (puzzles or contradictions) to attain enlightenment. Taoism basically tells you to go with the natural flow of things. There's more to it than that, of course, but if I had to sum it up, that's how I'd describe it. I also had the honor of working for a couple years with a jazz drummer turned software programmer who was a Buddhist. I have never met a more calm, centered, peaceful individual than him. He has been an inspiration to me, not only in programming methodology, but in behavior.

One of my favorite books on the subject is The Tao Of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. This gives a great explanation of Taoism by showing how Winnie The Pooh embodies the principles of Taoism.

The following are small books that I tend to leave in the bathroom for perusal there:

Buddha's Little Instruction Book by Jack Kornfield. Buddhist sayings with some nice Asian artwork. It also contains 8 mediations for those just encountering Buddhism to try.

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, translated by John C. H. Wu. These are the actual 81 teachings of Lao Tzu upon which Taoism is based.

The Little Zen Companion by David Schiller. A collection of Zen sayings and stories from all sorts of people, whether they are Buddhist or not. Quotes from John Lennon, Tao Teh Ching, T. S. Eliot, Yogi Berra, and others.

And, on a lighter note, for a fun movie, check out The Tao Of Steve.

As a simple Zen exercise, try this: when you get upset, imagine those who are upsetting you are enlightened instructors trying to teach you perfect patience.

1 comment:

Trisha#1 said...

Patience. Er, what's that?

Thanks, Shaun, I'll look into it.

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