Jun 25, 2023
Michael Haggiag

19. Daily Life Practice


Jizo's instructions for daily life practice leave Dylan less than thrilled.



It’s Sunday again. Cold and grey. Not too many of us on the skateboard track under the National Theatre. I meet Jizo for a noodle lunch at his favorite restaurant. He’s been moving plants indoors.

The first thing Jizo always says is: “How’s it going?”                                   

At first, I thought he wanted to know how I was doing at home or at school or with my ADD, but Jizo isn’t too interested in ADD. He hasn’t talked about Mara again either. What really interests Jizo is what he calls The Practice. And by this he doesn’t mean anything grand. In fact, it’s the little things that really interest him. 

 “Do you jump out of bed in the morning when the alarm goes?”  Big pause while I try to figure out my answer. Jizo smiles. “Or do you lie around until you’re late for school?” When I mumble that I don’t know, he explodes in laughter.  “The first answer is ‘No’ and the second is ‘Yes’. Is it not so?”           

The man is a mind reader. I nod my head. It’s true. I lie around in bed. I’m late for school most days and if there is any way out at all I will skip school altogether. Jizo seems completely o.k. with this. It’s exactly what he expected me to say. Why would a boy who has so many problems in school want to jump out of bed to go there? Nobody wants to suffer. He says the only young men he knows who jump out of bed in the morning are soldiers in the Army or monks in a monastery. But there was one important difference between the Army and the monastery. In the Army if a soldier doesn’t jump out of bed immediately the sergeant drags him out of bed. In the monastery the monk has to do it himself. Then Jizo gives me one of his long hard looks, so I’ll know he’s about to say something important. 

“You’re going to practice jumping out of bed in the morning.” 

I nod vaguely, hoping he’ll change the subject, but he won’t let it go. He tells me that there is another side to Buddhist practice that is as important as meditation. In the Buddha’s time it was called Sila practice, but Jizo likes to call it Daily Life Practice. Jizo says he can’t speak for other schools of Buddhism, but he’s quite sure they all have some sort of Sila Practice. It means giving yourself wholeheartedly to whatever you’re doing at this moment. And since the first thing I do every morning is get out of bed, Jizo wants me to learn to do it wholeheartedly!

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