Jody,

You ask a very good question, and one I know troubles many people.  We have 
been taught all our lives that goals and aspirations are good, in fact 
indispensible to a life well-lived.  But, as you've pointed out in your recent 
post attached below, Buddha's teachings stresses living in the present and 
suggests disregarding the past and future.  This is also documented in the 
Christian Bible to be a teaching of Jesus:

Matthew 6:25-34
25"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or 
drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than 
food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; 
they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father 
feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying 
can add a single hour to his life?  28And why do you worry about clothes? See 
how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you 
that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If 
that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and 
tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of 
little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we 
drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32For the pagans run after all these things, 
and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom 
and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. 
Each day has enough trouble of its own".

Both Buddha and Jesus definitely stress living in the present.  I think one of 
the keys to fully understanding what they both mean are the qualifying words 
they both use to describe your perspective of or relationship with the concept 
you believe is past and future.

In the quote above Jesus says, 'do not WORRY about...what you will eat or 
drink...', '...WORRY about clothes...', '...do not WORRY...', '...pagans [the 
unenlightened] RUN AFTER all these things...', '...do not WORRY about 
tomorrow...'.

In the quote below Buddha says, 'They do not TROUBLE over the past, nor do they 
CRAVE for any future...'

I believe they are warning about exactly the same thing.  'WORRY' and 
'TROUBLE', and 'RUN AFTER' and 'CRAVE' express the same perspectives.  This all 
has to do with their core teachings:  Buddha's teaching of ridding yourself of 
ATTACHMENTS, and Jesus' teaching of giving yourself completely over to FAITH.  
In both cases you would not have attachments to the past (trouble/regrets), nor 
attachments to the future (expectations/cravings/run-after) - and not having 
any attachments you would be living your life in the present and completely by 
faith.  This is how Buddhist monks (theoretically) live.  They live their life 
a day at a time and beg every day for their food, clothes and other 
necessities.  They live their life with complete faith that their needs will be 
provided by Buddha acting through the people in the community.  Isn't this 
exactly what Jesus taught in the quote from Matthew above? 

Since not everyone is a monk, and to help aspiration-addicts and goal-driven 
people adjust to this, you could ameliorate these teachings noting that 
LEARNING FROM EXPERIENCE is not the same as WORRYING or TROUBLING about the 
past, and PLANNING is not the same as CRAVING or RUNNING AFTER the future.  
Every journey starts with a first step.

Zen actually takes this as far as teaching that you do not practice zen with 
enlightenment as a GOAL.  In zen there are no goals.  You are already 
enlightened - that is why you practice zen.  You practice zen for the same 
reason you eat when you're hungry and sleep when you're tired.

No goals, no worry, no cravings, no aspirations - Just THIS!

...Bill!   
 

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Jody W. 
Ianuzzi
Sent: Friday, October 31, 2008 9:51 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Zen] Question?

"The Blesses Buddha responded:
They do not trouble over the past,
Nor do they crave for any future,
They live just with what is present,
Therefore are their looks so serene!"

I understand this and I understand how important it is to practice. 
By letting go of the past it is possible to let go of so much that 
bothers us.

My question is: if you don't crave for a future then how do you have 
goals and aspirations?

JODY


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