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A "Should I do this?" Dilemma

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A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/10/11 9:01 PM
Hi All,

Thought I would try out a little dilemma that exercising my mind and practice at the moment on you forumites. I have gained enormously from reading this forum and I understand who I am talking to. All responses are very welcome be they scathing or otherwise!

OK, my dilemma is this. Since I have majorly encountered Buddhist Dharma I am literally filled with creative ideas. Not a bad thing in itself of course but most of the ideas are "big scale" things and range from ideas for films, books, aid programs, health programs, etc all the way to simple "products" which have a specific practical use (i.e. a better mousetrap - you get the idea).

Still not a dilemma in itself - BUT - what do I do with these?? Which ones do I follow?

A bit of background. I've always been a closet dreamer and backyard inventor and always interested in writing, ideas, films and simply solving problems. I have also been historically interested in making money so as I could retire. Now, post Dharma encounter, I am not interested in retirement but I am interested in having more supported free time to practice Dharma. On a wider level, my feeling is that the only things really worth doing in life are (a) practice Dharma personally so as to alleviate suffering of self and others (b) Relieve suffering of others by any means at disposal

Lets take a specific one.

I've had an idea to make a website that features incredible clay model creations (Bare with me!!). Clay modeling has been an interest since childhood and I still dabble. There are folks out there though that can make unbelievable things that just make my jaw drop. I would like to showcase these uber creations, and also the creators if they want, simply because I think they are amazing. The idea has developed and I have also devised a simple way to pseudo mass-produce these creations and sell them - making money for the original artist, the clay suppliers and builders. For my trouble, I would take a small percentage.

I have a stong feeling the site will be succesfull and considerable money could be made. If this happened I would pay off a current debt I have and take a small stipend to enable me to live and practice. All other money would be donated (or invested for future donations) to Dharma work that others are doing that I think is productive.

If I am brutally honest, I see that what I really want is to pay off my debt, live simply thereafter and practice Dharma. This is the personal motivation. The other stuff about making some money for the artists etc and to donate is secondary. I should stress that the debt is fairly crippling but I won't go bankrupt as long as stick at my day job for the next 3 years or so.

It all sounds kind of reasonable but my concern is that in my desire to pay off my debt I am encouraging greater attachment to an essentially "useless" endeavor in Clay Modeling. Clay Modeling is not selling guns and it is a valid form of artistic expression. However, the creations mainly serve to intrigue peoples' minds and do little to move their spirits. It is just another bit of eye candy in the great candy shop of the world and promoting candy is not helpful. Promoting watching what happens when we have candy is helpful.

Lots of other ideas I've had are easier on the personal ethics and I could simply do these but I'm wrestling with this one and can feel it will be good for me to come to some sort of peace with it.

Any/all comments welcome.

Cheers.

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/10/11 9:47 PM as a reply to Baggins Oddie.
I don't know if this helps, a quote by Ghandi:

"Everything we do is futile, but we must do it anyway"

Go for it, I'd say. Count yourself lucky that you have such a creative passion. Compassion is a sickness anyway, isn't it? Begone with it!

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/11/11 4:38 AM as a reply to Baggins Oddie.
Hi Baggins,

Baggins Oddie:

Still not a dilemma in itself - BUT - what do I do with these?? Which ones do I follow?


As for the practical nuts and bolts of the projects you come up with, I have nothing to say, because I know nothing of such things. And this forum is likely not the most adequate venue to discuss these particularities.

However, after reading your text, I suspect that here is where your dilema actually lies:

Baggins Oddie:

Now, post Dharma encounter, I am not interested in retirement but I am interested in having more supported free time to practice Dharma. On a wider level, my feeling is that the only things really worth doing in life are (a) practice Dharma personally so as to alleviate suffering of self and others (b) Relieve suffering of others by any means at disposal


Here are a few questions. I have made this sort of inquiry on myself and came to see a shady side of my own dharma practice: taking it as an end in itself. If you happen to have the same, maybe you will also benefit from this line of inquiry.

(1) Why do you want to practice the dharma? Did you know that it is possible to not only alleviate suffering, but also to completely eradicate it? Is this your actual goal or do you have another goal?

(2) What would be the point of alleviating suffering (in ourselves or others) if the only thing really worth doing in live was to alleviate suffering (in ourselves or others)?

Given that suffering can be completely eradicated, imagine the following scenario: you do it, you finish the path, you no longer suffer; now that there is no suffering to alleviate in yourself, is there nothing else worth doing in life? Or is the only option now to become a messiah/boddhisatva of some sort, given that only (b) remains among the two things (a) and (b) really worth doing in life?

Another scenario: suppose everyone is now free from suffering, maybe they discovered some pill that does the trick and everyone took it. Now (given neither (a) nor (b) apply) is there nothing really worth doing in life?

(3) Are you using the dharma as an excuse not to enjoy everyday living? What would be the point of ending suffering unless it was fun? (really, what would be the point?)

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/11/11 7:03 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Bruno,
Thankyou!

You are getting uncomfortably close to the mark. I had not been able to bring to consciousness some of the things you raise - but now I see they are very relevant for me.

I'll contemplate and get back to you.

Thanks again : )

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/11/11 7:49 AM as a reply to Baggins Oddie.
Hey you're welcome. The kind of discomfort you're referring to is always a good indication you're on to something juicy! Also be on the look out (and look forward to) feeling silly / ridiculous / goofily foolish, because that's what happens when you dispel misapprehension. ("Jeez, to think that I actually believed that was true," or "wow, I was doing that because of that? How silly!") This feeling foolish is really good stuff, be careful not to spoil the fun with guilt ("Oh my, why was I so foolish, oh why?").

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/11/11 6:13 PM as a reply to This Good Self.
C C C:
Compassion is a sickness anyway, isn't it? Begone with it!



CCC,

While I'm not sure I agree with this - it did make me laugh!

So, thanks

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/11/11 7:23 PM as a reply to Baggins Oddie.
Bruno, are you hinting at Actual Freedom here? If so, say it and don't just hint at it.

I still consider this website to be "The Dharma Overground" and not the "AF Overground", and this guy asked a Dharma related question, so why not have the decency to discuss it on the terms he's using rather than manipulating the conversation 'round to AF?

What would be the point of ending suffering unless it was fun?

Apparently taking crack cocaine is also marvelous fun.

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/12/11 4:32 AM as a reply to Tommy M.
Tommy M:
Bruno, are you hinting at Actual Freedom here? If so, say it and don't just hint at it.


As there is a hinting at AF, but most of my post is not AF related, let me specify clearly where it is (emphasis added):
Bruno:

(1) Why do you want to practice the dharma? Did you know that it is possible to not only alleviate suffering, but also to completely eradicate it? Is this your actual goal or do you have another goal?


Tommy M:

I still consider this website to be "The Dharma Overground" and not the "AF Overground", and this guy asked a Dharma related question, so why not have the decency to discuss it on the terms he's using rather than manipulating the conversation 'round to AF?


I did not label his question as a dharma related question, rather it seemed to be a question about supposedly conflicting interests (meditation/dharma/whatever vs. real-world stuff). Since, like I mentioned, I've had these dilemas myself in the past, I thought of lining up a string of questions relevant to that issue. I think that was pretty decent, at least I was trying to be helpful.

Tommy M:

What would be the point of ending suffering unless it was fun?

Apparently taking crack cocaine is also marvelous fun.


The comparison is absurd, really! emoticon Are you trying to manipulate the conversation towards your evil rock&roll hard-drugs psychedelic shamanism agenda? emoticon

RE: A "Should I do this?" Dilemma
Answer
4/12/11 7:31 AM as a reply to Bruno Loff.
Fair point, although I will be starting my own "Drug Fiend Rock n' Roll Overground" (which is actually just a cover for my devil worship cult, but don't tell anyone) site in the coming weeks.... emoticon

I know you're pursuing AF and, perhaps wrongly, I read your post as a sort of indirect suggestion to Bilbo. My bad. emoticon In fairness, it's probably more of a projection on my part as, even though I've had the pleasure of the PCE quite a few times in the last few months, I'm still a dharma-head with reservations about the current trend toward AF.

Do what thou wilt, and all that jazz.

The comparison is absurd, really!

I know, it was deliberate and I was going to add a comment after that but I thought it was funnier to leave it as it was. Ha!

Apologies for intruding Baggins, I'll get a more helpful reply in later today when I get a chance.