Thread: Can Buddhists Hope ?

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    Can Buddhists Hope ?

    Here's Soto Zen teacher Brad Warner again, this time for approx. 9 minutes with "Can Buddhists Hope?"




    Any comments about what he said?

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    It's like a lot of terms in Buddhism translated into English. Existing English terms have meanings which are then attached to the Buddhist words, and which can bring confusion. I can't think that hoping that people make progress along the path could ever be misunderstood, though. In the puja we used 'may all beings..' and so on, instead of 'I hope that all beings...' but I don't know if that was deliberate or not. Use hope in the sense of may and I don't see any problem. I have to really stretch my mind to get into the mindset of people who object to it, to be honest, unless they attach some magical meaning?

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    I suppose the first objection to 'hope' is that it invokes the future and takes our mind away from the present moment. Brad covers this, by saying that hoping helps him be more relaxed about the future, helping him return his consciousness to the present.

    The second way of thinking of 'hope' is that it states an intention. This, I think, is the kind of hope expressed in "May all beings have happiness..." There seems nothing wrong with intention.

    But 'hope' is also closely concerned with wishing for change. That leads to attachment to some particular outcome. I think that we need to be very careful with our use of hope, not so much in speech as in our mental processes.

    For example, the progression from "I hope that noise stops soon", to "That noise has been going on too long", to "I can't get any rest until that noise stops!", that can easily arise.

    Without invoking 'hope', the thought process could become "There is a noise", and "that noise is outside my sphere of influence".

    I'm not claiming to be that skilled myself, but I can aim high. I hope that one day I shall achieve that level of mental calm. Oops.

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