Tuesday, January 11, 2011


What can be said for ambition? Probably a lot. One part of the dictionary definition of "ambition" goes like this:

a : an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power
b : desire to achieve a particular end

 I also thought the derivation info was interesting:

Middle English, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin ambition-, ambitio, literally, act of soliciting for votes, from ambire
First Known Use: 14th century

 To solicit votes. Is that because in order to achieve the goal of an ambition, support and accolades from others is necessary? I think so.

Little and large, ambition is quite a well-established habit, I think. But when applied to spiritual endeavor, ambition takes on a wobbly quality. Spiritual poohbahs often have to beat the financial bushes to get the church or temple built. And once it's built, they need to cast a wide net in order to get the votes and approbation that will continue the good works the temple is alleged to be founded on. And in the midst of all this laudable ambition, how much of the message is lost and how much of the guiding truth is gilded with lackluster pablum?

My teacher, Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi, once said, "Without ego, nothing gets done." A good observation, but it's only as good as the willingness to investigate if anything -- ever -- gets done. Without such an investigation, spiritual endeavor becomes just another pastime for merchants and other hucksters.

Ambition -- it's a ticklish one. But no one ever said spiritual endeavor would be easy ... of if they did, my money says it was just another huckster soliciting votes.

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