The non-doing paradox
Michael Fisher

I”m going to take a stab at comparison of these concepts of doing and desirelessness between Zen and Yoga — this is what helps to make sense of it all for myself as I live in the world of yoga. When we are able to develop a tranquil, evenly balanced state of mind that isn’t disturbed by either pain or happiness (a pretty tall order, that!) then we are led to the unchangeable ever-new joy hidden in the soul. That happens through meditation and through non-stimulation of desires and attachments. That’s where desirelessness comes in — desires attach us to whatever the desire is, and ruffle our consciousness with wanting. Hence, loss of even-mindedness.

However, it doesn’t work to embrace non-action instead. We want to find the middle path, right action without ego attachment. Paramahansa Yogananda’s Gita translation, verse 47, is as follows (spoken by Krishna):

“Thy human right is for activity only, never for the resultant fruit of actions. Do not consider thyself the creator of the fruits of thy activities; neither allow thyself attachment to inactivity.”

Thus, right action without the motive of personal gain. In complete accordance with the 8-fold Buddhist virtues above. What a wonderful opportunity to have a life stripped of all outer wanting and trappings, in order to investigate this process in its simplicity.

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