Sunday, November 14, 2010

Something to think about


"One of the great lessons of Zen is to take total responsibility for your own life. Unfortunately, many of us have been conditioned to believe, feel, and act as though the world owes us something. We complain that, as George Bernard Shaw put it, 'the world will not devote itself' to making us happy. Zen says, 'Why waste time and energy with regrets and whining? We have the gift of life and the opportunities of this moment.'

I once asked a Zen master for his philosophy of life. In reply, he said simply, 'I do not regret having been born.' For me, it was a moment of illumination. When we truly celebrate and do not regret our birth, we embrace the whole of our lives."

-- Laurence G. Boldt --
from Zen Soup

Of course, if we take responsibility for our lives, then we can't blame our parents, the government, society, the police, or some other group. We must take responsibility for our sins and failures as well as for our virtues and successes. I see many who attempt to shift responsibility for the evil they have done or for their failures on to their parents or society or anyone in the vicinity, but I've never heard anyone refuse responsibility for the good they have done or for their successes and shift the credit to their parents or society.


  1. Sounds like Nietzsche's "amor fati!"

  2. Love of one's fate, come what, come may, is to not regret being born; it's to be grateful for it, I should think. Cheers, Kevin

  3. I wonder if there's a difference in not regretting being born and love of one's fate. I go along with the first, but there are some fates that I definitely would not love.

    Job would understand what I mean, I think.