Free Your Pen

Buddhist Writing Prompt: Don’t Pass the Buck

Don’t Pass the Buck is about taking responsibility for the commitments you have made to yourself and others, and not passing the buck onto somebody else.

The original lojong slogan is: Don’t transfer the ox’s load to the cow, in other words, don’t transfer your load onto others. It’s written like this because the ox is stronger than the cow and can carry a heavier burden. So you are the ox and others are the cows. If you’re the strongest in any situation, you should carry what is yours.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t share your problems or seek support when you’re struggling. If you’re not strong and you need help, then you should ask for it. There’s probably an ox around somewhere who will share your burden.

But if you are strong, this slogan encourages you to be honest with yourself, but also realistic. You don’t have to take on so many responsibilities that you can’t cope and feel overwhelmed. Just make wise choices about how to manage your life.

You must carry your own load and deal with your own problems. It’s your life, after all.

Apply this slogan to your writing practice by not making excuses when you don’t write. You are responsible for making sure that you live up to your commitments. So if you want to write, you can’t blame others when you don’t.

When you find yourself blaming other things for getting in the way of your writing, have a closer look at what you’re really saying. Do other people really have more control over your life than you?

This slogan encourages you to carry the burden of your choices. You must take responsibility for doing whatever you need to do in order to write. Don’t pass the buck onto others. You are responsible for the choices you make. Only you can choose to write.

For more thoughts on taking responsibility, refer back to slogan 12.

Your writing prompt this weekend: In your slogan journal, list all the excuses you have used to avoid writing.

More in the book: Free Your Pen: Mind Training for Writers


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