Gil Fronsdal – BHNN Guest Podcast – Ep. 8 – Nothing Needs to be Done


Gil examines the Buddhist teaching that says nothing needs to be done.

Attachment comes in many flavors. Even as we begin to ease our clinging, our expectations and judgments in the moment still control us. Gil explores how practice allows us to move away from this and begin to appreciate that nothing needs to be done.

Show Notes

Nothing Needs to be Done (Opening) – There is a profound teaching in the claim that nothing needs to be done. We waste so much time and energy with our expectations and judgment in the pursuit of doing. Gil challenges the idea that we constantly need to be doing and explores why this simple concept is so difficult to wrap our heads around.

Let Go of Clinging (10:33) – Buddhism comes with all the trappings and complexity of a religion, but at the time when the Buddha was teaching it was no such thing. Gil introduces the Atthakavagga, which is a teaching from this time. This book, also known as The Book of Eights, shows a path to peace that does not need religion. It teaches that the primary way to attain peace is to let go of clinging. Not clinging includes letting go of our attachment to any view. This means not holding on to any attachment to doctrine or dogma, not measuring our beliefs to anyone else’s.

A New Way (23:03) – With an understanding of how multifaceted our attachments are; we begin to see how they steer our lives. From this perspective, we can genuinely see that nothing needs to happen, and meet the world more fully and be a more present person.
Gil talks about the difficulty of approaching things without expectation. We have to trust what emerges within us when we drop the safety net of preconception and be ready to fail.

“Nothing needs to happen. So many times by pausing and waiting, giving the situation a chance, something reveals itself. Something comes out that wouldn’t have happened if we rushed ahead with our desires, expectations, wants, aversions, resistance. Nothing needs happen gives space for something to emerge.”

Tipping Point (34:33) – This transition from clinging to non-clinging is not a light switch. The change is a slow upheaval of our conditioning. Eventually, there comes a day when we reach a tipping point where the gravitational pull of non-clinging becomes stronger than the pull of clinging.

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