Admonitions to Beginners
by Chapak Patrick Smith
Finish what you start.
Pick a path – any path – and stick with it.
Examine your motives: If you’re doing it for yourself, you won’t see it through.
Never forget, there was a time before you knew how to breathe.
Cry. Not just weeping, either, but hot sobbing tears and dripping snot. People are dying, goddammit!
You think it will get easier, but it won’t. You, however, will get stronger.
You really don’t know what to expect.
Enlightenment is not the goal. Changing diapers – and I mean really changing diapers. That’s the goal.
There’s no difference between you and me. Except of course, I’m me and you’re not.
The Dalai Lama is totally and fully awake, but if your car won’t start you’re better off with a mechanic.
No teacher – no matter what – can sit for you.
It’s all part of the process. Even – no, especially – spending a 20 minute meditation period wondering what happened to the kid from “Growing Pains.”
Persistence is sufficient.
No one deserves your kindness more than you.
It matters. Even if no one ever knows or cares, it matters.
No one can tell you who you are. Some people, however, can tell you how to find out.
Karmically speaking, you will someday have to pay for eating that bacon. Do it anyway.
Nothing teaches compassion like suffering.
You can’t run from the circumstances of your life. No matter where you go, it’s going to be there.
The earth will hold you up. The earth will never fail to catch you, no matter how far you fall.
Everyone dies. You are not the exception.
Don’t worry about what happens after you die. Try to figure out what happens before you die.
It’s more useful and at least possible.
When you want to sit, sit. When you don’t want to sit, sit.
Five minutes every morning is better than 6 hours on Sunday.
It’s important to screw up. That’s what the rules are there for. No, seriously.
You’re never done. As long as you’re drawing breath, there’s work to do.
Everyone is holy, sacred, and precious. That includes George Bush, whether we like it or not.
Whether you sit in the front of the room or in the back; whether it’s full of people or you’re there alone; it’s the same damn room.
Don’t waste time. You’re going to waste time, you can’t avoid it. Try to avoid it anyway.
You can’t wash a dish so well you never have to wash it again.
That asshole who cut you off in traffic is a better teacher than Thich Nhat Hahn. When was the last time you and The Thich shared a road?
The path will get hard. It won’t last.
The path will get easy. It won’t last.
The best way to learn to sit zazen is to sit zazen.You can do this. I will help you. We all will.