Cultivating Dao: Working Toward Pledges

8293651258_a7af505508_bI may have mentioned quite recently that I “obtained” Dao and that I was in the midst of processing all that I learned during the 3 Day Seminar I attending in conjunction with my “activation”.

I am still processing.

Perhaps that’s why I haven’t been as active on here as I was for a time.

See, the information didn’t stop coming in after that 3 Day Seminar. I’ve also been active within our local budding community ever since. Between attending an “etiquette” class, in which we learned the behaviors and motions associated with a respectful cultivator, our weekly Dao class, and the New and Full Moon gatherings…

There has been even more to process.

I believe what has been first and foremost in my mind, though, are the pledges we can make as cultivators.

There are 6 possible actions we can choose to pledge.

  • Cultivating
  • Propagating
  • Full-time Propagation
  • Lifetime Vegetarian
  • Starting our own home temple
  • Travel to propagate

I have already pledged to the first two because I didn’t have any reservations that I could uphold them.

Lifetime Vegetarian, though… It is “key” to steps I see myself taking in the future (Full-Time Propagation and Travel to propagate) and is the one I’m currently working toward.

There are those, I know, who don’t imagine it would be too difficult, and if it were only pledging to stick to a “lacto-vegetarian” diet for the rest of my life, it wouldn’t be that difficult for me.

There is, however, a good deal more to it than that.

Yes, the Lifetime Vegetarian pledge requires us to give up meat and eggs, but also requires us to:

  • Give up the “onion family” (ie onions, shallots, chives, garlic)
  • Keep our thoughts and words clean
  • Stick to the 5 precepts established in Buddhism which means refraining from:
    • harming living things
    • taking what is not given
    • sexual misconduct (adultery as a married individual)
    • lying or gossiping
    • taking intoxicating substances (ie drugs or drink)

I think that’s all of them. At least these are the ones that are of most concern to me at this moment in time.

Keep my “thoughts and words clean”…

I have gotten better over the years, but have been known to curse up a storm in the past, and judgment… Well, that is something I admittedly do tend to slip up on from time to time. Though, I have gotten better about it as well.

Giving up the onion family, including garlic…

My family and I love garlic. In any recipe that calls for 2 cloves of garlic, we add 2 more. At least!

And we put onions (or onion powder) into almost anything we cook.

Then, with regard to the precepts… Well, quite honestly, there’s only one that I could possibly have difficulty with.

“Taking intoxicating substances”.

Not because I seek to become falling down drunk. (I outgrew that a looooong time ago.) But, Dh and I do very much enjoy having “cocktails out on the veranda” in the evening. In other words, adult beverages on the back patio. And maybe a glass of wine with a nice meal.

Alcohol has become a part of our “culture” and an aspect of “life well-lived”.

Dh came from a Methodist family where they were taught “everything in moderation”.

Still… As I said, this is something I’m working up to. I have gotten through the thought processes, gotten beyond having to know “why is this necessary?”

For me… Well, I have known for a very long time now that I have a “mission” to carry out. I’ve known this since I was young and strongly believe that I have finally found the location, even if I still don’t know what steps I will take in the future. That will come in time, I know.

Heck! I’ve been guided this far! I have no doubts that I will continue to be guided in the future as well.

And, if giving up garlic and onions and alcohol is a necessary part of the process as is watching my “colorful metaphors” (Trekkies will ‘get’ that lol)… Then, so be it. Because really? Those are such small sacrifices!

For those who are not familiar with the Dao, it is said that by “obtaining” Dao, we discover ‘who’ we are, where we come from, and how we may get back there.

Then, by cultivating it in our lives and propagating it to others we “earn merits”.

By knowing “the way” and showing others, we are able to break the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (ie reincarnation) and return “Home”.

Feel this to be true. At least for Me. (Probably everyone else too, but I can only speak for Me.)

This is a big incentive to accomplish all that I came here to accomplish, even if it requires giving up some minor things I have come to enjoy. Because I don’t know about you, but my spirit often feels “older than dirt”. I’m ready to go home.

Why haven’t I taken the pledge yet, then?

Because – before I’m even eligible to make the pledge – I need to learn and memorize the words for both primary and secondary speakers in 5 ceremonies… In Chinese (Mandarin).

I’ll get it, I know. It will just take time and patience. With an emphasis on patience. With myself.

Always my greatest and most challenging lesson.

With that being said, I must get back to it.

May you have a wonderful weekend, my friend, and – as always – may you walk in love and light until our paths cross again.

~D

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