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The Career of Enlightenment:
Just Do It
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"The Career of Enlightenment: Just Do It"
Transcript of a talk delivered by Br. ChiSing
Awakening Heart Sangha (Community of Mindful Living)
March 1, 2007 - Dallas, Texas

Good evening, dear friends. Thank you so much for participating in our wonderful gathering tonight for mindfulness practice.

Over the last few months we have been looking into the Buddha's four noble truths and the Eightfold Path. The Eightfold Path of right or skillful views or understanding, skillful thinking or intentions, skillful speech, skillful action and last month it was skillful livelihood. But because of the scheduling we didn't quite touch on that very much. And this month it is on skillful effort, or diligence. So I will combine skillful livelihood and skillful diligence tonight.

And I'd like to start off with reading something from my journal writing practice. A couple of years ago, as some of you know, I began to write, after my sitting meditations in the morning, whatever came to me from the deepest part of me as if it was the Buddha in me speaking to me. So this reading is about right livelihood:

Right livelihood.

This is one of the spokes of the noble Eightfold Path of liberation. In the traditional enumeration it is number five, and yet, in fact, it is like the eighth; this is the culminating point of your practice, of right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration.

Right livelihood.

You are a Buddha, and you are here to embody and manifest the truth of who you are in this universe of form. Your right livelihood is an expression of your right purpose and right mission in this world. Your career is the career of a Bodhisattva, an awakening being. Your work is the work of embodying and manifesting your Buddha nature, your true self, right here and right now, in this realm of time and space and energy consciousness. How you sustain your physical life is intimately connected with how you sustain all of life.

The whole Eightfold Path is contained in right livelihood. It is your job to bring right view and right intention into your work, to bring right speech and right action into your career, to bring right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration into your livelihood. This is your job behind your job.

Your true work is to be here now, and to bring your true presence into daily life. Your true work is to bring loving kindness into the world, to radiate peace in places of disharmony, to be the wisdom that you are, applied to all walks of life. Whatever you do to sustain yourself, your family and your world—whether it is farming, teaching or nursing—or whatever profession, remember your true profession: YOU ARE A BUDDHA. And this world is your workplace, and you are here to embody and manifest your true nature in an infinite variety of ways: through art, music and poetry; through religion, education and politics; through sexuality, culinary cuisine and architecture; through community building, ecology and medicine; and through all the ways you work to sustain yourself and all of life.

Be the Buddha that you are. And just do it.

It is time now, my sisters and brothers, my Dharma friends. It is time now to remember who we are and to allow our lives to reflect that knowing. We are not simply here for the reason we think we are. Our true career is the career of awakening, the career of love and kindness, the career of wisdom and understanding, the career of Bodhisattvas and Buddhas. It is time now, here and now, moment to moment, to breathe, to smile, to sit and to walk, to speak and to listen, as the Buddha that we are. And to radiate and share from a generous heart of abundance: a knowing and a remembering with all beings. Because all of us—no one excluded—all of us are the Buddha.

You don't have to become a minister, or a priest, or a monk, to live the life of your Buddha-hood, the career of enlightenment. In the very midst of being a mother or father, a teacher, a worker, a garbage man, a flautist, whatever your profession, you can be the Buddha in that place. Doing your work with love and mindfulness, serving all beings by serving one being, loving all beings by loving one or two beings, embracing all beings by embracing three or four or five beings, here and now.

Just do it.

And you don't have to do it with strain and struggle. Right effort is not about creating more suffering and pain in your life. Right effort is the effort of effortlessness. It is to commit yourself, to make your vows, to live the life that you are meant to live in the spirit of graciousness and grace, in the spirit of knowing the abundant support of the universe, in the spirit of what Thich Nhat Hanh calls "busy-less-ness", and what the Taoists call "effortlessness": effortless effort.

You do do it. You do create mindful action, but it is not the small separate ego self that's doing it. When we're relaxed into our vastness, our true nature, then it is the whole universe working through us, as us.

So, in that spirit, dear friends, just do it.

Transcribed by Alessandra and Chelsea German

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