Posted by: Michael Rickicki | 01/09/2015

What is the Goal

Last night was the first night of a three month series at the Dhamma group that I consider to be my first spiritual community. The teacher and group members all consist of very dedicated practitioners of the Dhamma as taught in the Thai Forest lineage of Ajan Thanissaro. I happen to be volunteering as a manager so I get the joy of serving the community and the teachings as well.

This first class, the teacher asked us all to pause and consider what we think our goal is in arising the Dhamma and if it is really in line with the Path taught by the Lord Buddha. Are we practicing to have less stress? Are we practicing to learn how to be more effective leaders? Are we practicing under the idea that there is no goal?

Why are we practicing? Do we believe, as the Buddha taught, that the way of the Dhamma goes in one direction while the way of the world goes in another? Or do we think we can have our cake and eat it too?


  1. Good questions. I wish I had some answers, but mine are always changing. Sometimes I feel like I can have my cake and eat it too, sometimes it feels like I have to choose between the world and my spiritual self. I think that finding balance is the key.

    • In Zen we talk about the goal-less goal. Any sort of division between secular life and ‘spiritual’ practice is duality! Easier said than done!

      • Thank you for your thoughts. I think the point is the same. There should be no division and ask that we do in our daily life should be in service to the goal. But, as you sagely say, this is easier said than done. Be well!

    • Hi Lorien,

      Thank you for your thoughts. I didn’t mean to give the impression that we have to choose between living a secular life and a spiritual one. What I was trying to get at was that the Path is built from skillful actions aimed ultimately at release whereas the way of the world is obsessed with gain, praise and delusion. I think we can have our cake and eat it too as long as we choose the cake that is in accord with our aims and actions. Every good blessing to you!

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A hub for the music, culture, knowledge, and practice of Irish stick-fighting, past and present.