Buddhist Mental Nudists

I saw a story in Newsweek about nudist colonies. Now, I do not advocate a special Buddhist nudist colony. However, the article in the magazine said this is the natural way of being and it is much better, very open and healthy . This article made me think of being a mental nudist, a Buddhist mental nudist. In the privacy of our own thoughts, we would be healthier if we did not have pretensions with our self. A mental nudist would feel constricted with ideas of, “This is what I am like, this is what I am not like, I have to always act this way, I have to be this,” We could drop pretensions and enter inside to where our more real identity is waiting.

In the privacy of our own space, we have choices that are not available in daily life. The pressures of office and the judgments that need to be made are like a teacher standing among seven-year-olds screaming and vying for attention. If the teacher could slow down and watch the children jumping slowly, to see what is actually happening, we might also slow down to be able to see our daily life and the pressures we experience in a new way.

You might lose sight of the fact that career and business life rents your mental faculties; they are paying you money to do things. Others pay rent on you and your life force and give you money so that you can use that money for other things you want and need. Aside from ideas you might hold about loving your job or not, you are paid to perform a function. If you identify so much with your job that you cannot stop renting your mind for free after business hours and switch over to your own personal life it never seems like you have rest at all!

Even returning home after work, we have habits at home. You have a certain way you like to eat, as well as strong likes and dislikes in food choices. Some people even have the new kind of electric bed that needs to be told how soft or hard to be. From the first moment you get up in the morning until bedtime again, you are making decisions, choosing and making judgments on a seeming endless array of subjects.

The whole day passes like this, either for your own comfort in your house or for your job. You are running, “Yes no yes no yes no yes no. This I like, I one I hate.” Those things have to be done. Even what does not concern us is made into objects of our judgment. Do I like the color of that car passing me on the road? Yes? No? Am I happy with the array of clouds to open sky today? Is there too much sun? Too little?

This is not our natural way of being. It is not actually what is happening. Human life was not like this in the earliest times. Beings lived by internally participating in an external exhibition of behaviors that had something to do with them. When alone, they retired into an inner world, their inner being. They were substantially satisfied in them self. Those who had an even greater awareness participated not just in their own personal being, but participated in a vaster process of which this world they lived in was only a small part.


  1. Hello Rinpoche. I am reading your book "Mystery of Emptiness & Love; a Buddhist Exploration The Intimate View" which I received from Gretchen Jacobsen in Illinois. It's a wonder, full of "ah-has!"
    I have nearly finished the 'Novel' and starting on the second reading, but already great insights this morning: "What is transitory is not intrinsically real" [p. 117] and this hit me like a brick. It somehow resonates with your comment that if we could be mental nudists in a Buddhist way we would not rent out our minds after work. Work itself is not intrinsically real either, although it surely feels real at the end of the day. But only the being who emanated into my body is 'real.' My bodhichitta, although it is not intrinsically real either in my innate view, still feels like a very true desire.
    Thanks so much for this page and your wonderful book. I hope to take one of your retreats, perhaps in New Mexico; I live in Switzerland. Gordon Nicholson [cresceno21@bluewin.ch]

  2. Loved the article; it rings with my reading of your book Mystery of Emptiness and Love. I hope to attend your retreat in NMexico at years end.

  3. "This is not our natural way of being" - Rinpoche, could you develop this interesting subject. What is our natural way or state of being ?

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