"Lucky" 6 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniature of a Zen Master.

In this miniature, Aitken Roshi uses two aphorisms. One to point out how precious this existence is and the second to kick us in the butt as a form of encouragement to hunker down in our practice and be responsible for our own advancing or back-sliding.

I see a parallel with Uchiyama Roshi's "Seven Points of Practice", particularly with point 5.

1. Study and practice the buddhadharma only for the sake of the buddhadharma, not for the sake of emotions or worldly ideas.

2. Zazen ( sitting meditation) is our truest and most venerable teacher.

3. Zazen must work concretely in our daily lives as the two practices (vows and repentance), the three minds (magnanimous mind, nurturing mind, and joyful mind), and as the realization of the saying , " Gaining is delusion, losing is enlightenment. "

4. Live by vow and root it deeply.

5. Realizing that development and backsliding are your responsibility alone, endeavor to practice and develop.

6. Sit silently for 10 years, then for ten years more, and then for another ten years.

7. Cooperate with one another, and aim to create a place where sincere practitioners can practice without trouble.

- Uchiyama Roshi (1975)

I have this printed on one of my HipsterPDA cards and refer to it often. It is a form of encouragement. Seems to me that Aitken Roshi is providing this same kind of encouragement. Miniatures are his 'points of practice'.

My word for today is encouragement. Encouragement everywhere. May the fruits of your practice bring you encouragement.

I'm encouraged by the response I've gotten here and for the comments. Being new to 'Blogger', I'm moderating comments but can't figure out how to set things so an approved commenter doesn't have to have their future comments individually moderated. Tips anyone?