Monday, November 8, 2010

One Liners on Buddhist Practice

I'm feeling a bit scattered, and a little bit sick as well today. So, instead of a post on a particular topic, I'll offer some one liners that have been bouncing around in me, some for awhile now.

Too many convert Buddhists seem to divide the world into "inner" and "outer," and then over-focus on their "inner life."

Inner and outer are really just expedient labels to describe the relative.

Everything has a political dimension to it, so let's get over the phobia towards being "socially involved" already!

I've been thinking lately of Dogen's "practice realization" as more of a skillful means to spur on our trust in the moment as awakened on its own terms, rather than as him saying that we are literally enlightened in the moment of practice.

What "lay practice" means in Zen is kind of a mystery.

It's foolish to assume that years and years of meditation practice will bring about boundless wisdom, and yet this is one of the major criteria being used to determine who should teach and who shouldn't.

As our teacher at zen center recently said, the way we Zennies practice probably would look different if women had had an equal or greater share of the decision making power to determine what it all looked like historically.

People tend to not know shit about the actual workings of karma in their lives.

Convert Zen students are too serious. We need more joy and fun in our practice!

Contrary to what Neil Young once sang, it's not better to burn out than to fade away.

4 comments:

kevin said...

maybe I haven't been around as much as you, but I find many of those statements to be inaccurate.

Dean Crabb said...

"It's foolish to assume that years and years of meditation practice will bring about boundless wisdom, and yet this is one of the major criteria being used to determine who should teach and who shouldn't."

The idea of boundless wisdom is interesting here. I remember years ago looking at my teacher going "Oh wow! So wise", I was in awe of him. I couldn't believe how insightful he was on everything. And now 10 years on I have people say to me "Wow, that's really wise" but I don't feel wise at all. I don't feel like I have some boundless wisdom flowing out of me like some river of insight, in the way I use to look at my teacher. It's so much more commonplace that it feels just common sense, and simple. Reflecting on this it's because we wake up to "how things are", so what appears as wisdom is really just stating things as you see them. The contrast in people viewing it as wise is because they get caught up in false delusions about how the world works.

Any just some comments on this little point, thought it was an interesting choice of words.

With Metta
Dean

Nathan said...

Hey Kevin,

They could be inaccurate. Partly, I'm just feeling cranky today. And nothing is flushed out so that you might see where I am coming from. So, perhaps they are too partial. But I'll stand by them as is for now.

Dean,

Mostly, that line was about a sense of not knowing where, or from whom, wisdom will appear. And I'd agree that there are a lot of stories about what "wise" is, and expectations about whom might be counted on to "dispense" said wisdom.

Nathan

kevin said...

I certainly don't hold them against you. It's all about perspective.

Sometimes it feels good to let out some demons so that others will help you question your own perspective.

@Dean, that's been happening to me lately, a lot.