I BITE MY NAILS
I bite my nails. It's a bad thing,
I know. But it's not easy being good. In truth, it's a field of
landmines. Being good, or trying to be, means making judgments:
this is right while this is wrong. When doing this we tend to
think, I am right and you are wrong. This makes us judgmental,
which is wrong. The element of trying creates its own problems.
Trying requires willpower, and if we have it we tend to look down
on those who lack it. And this again is wrong.
Being successful in our efforts
to be good can also put us in the wrong. We can become proud
of our achievements, even self-righteous. But then, beating
ourselves up about that, or beating ourselves up about how bad
we are - both are wrong. It makes one want to give up - and
yes, that's wrong too. It's a Catch 22.
It's like my relationship with
the nembutsu. I know that saying it as a ritual is wrong; it
should be "a spontaneous expression of gratitude". But relying
on impulsive outbursts doesn't seem to get enough nembutsu done;
it just feels wrong. Yet again, if it is our nembutsu, not Amida's,
it is a false good. Which makes it wrong. It's a Catch 22.
Right or wrong, disrespecting others
or beating ourselves up… Amida looks beyond these to the Buddhas
and bodhisattvas we will become. When we see our muddled, foolish
selves from the perspective of infinite compassion and patience
the Catch 22 is revoked. If only for a short while. Then I start
biting my nails.