Sunday, June 26, 2011

Responding to Criticism of Buddhist Practice by Practicing



I almost never delete a post once I put it up, but after reading and responding to a comment by Robyn, a regular reader here, I realized that most of this post needs to go. It's excess talking. So, I'm taking down the original post, and offering a few pithy statements from it that get at what I wanted to say without the confusing attempts to continue the discussion from yesterday's post.

1. Respond to criticism or perceived criticism of your spiritual practice by practicing.

2. Many of us "overdo" race talk. Few of us are willing to sit with race like a koan, listen for whatever wisdom is there "behind the curtain," and then speak from that.

3. Minimizing, denying, blaming, trying to "fix," and/or judging are the standard forms of acting out in response to something we don't like, or don't want to hear. Knowing that, now what?

4. If I choose to not listen to the pain and suffering beneath someone's words today, they’ll be someone else expressing something similar tomorrow.

5. Forget trying to get all your ducks in a row. You have to act, or not act, as it is, moment after moment.

4 comments:

Robyn said...

Gee Nathan, I feel like you did a little "bait and switch" routine on us! Your post about that woman's writing seemed to be asking for your readers to comment - to reflect and respond. Now I feel a bit scolded for doing just that! Maybe it is just how you are working through it but it feels kind of confusing to me.

Noticing my own fear of difference. Paying attention to how I create the other as separate from myself. It is my practice, always. So simple, so impossible. Just like our vows...

Nathan said...

Hi Robyn,

Both posts emphasize sitting with and listening, above all. Looking back at my post yesterday, the last paragraph there feels more like scolding than anything I wrote today.

In fact, when I wrote the post yesterday, I wasn't sure what kind of response I would get - if any. It seems that those who really disagree with my take on all of this are commenting to me on other posts, whereas when I initially wrote the post, I figured some of them would come here - as sometimes happens.

Anyway, I can understand your confusion. The two posts are trying to get at a similar set of points in different ways that might be contradictory. I'm trying to get at how so many of us "overdo" race talk. How so few of us are willing to sit with it like a koan, and listen for whatever wisdom is there "behind the curtain." And then speak from there.

I'm still plenty muddled about it all myself. And that's probably hindering a more clear expression of the little bit of understanding I have.

So, I do apologize if something came off as simply scolding. That wasn't my intent. I though the points you made yesterday actually were pretty much demonstrating the "not overdoing it" approach. They were reflective, but not trying to fix, defend, or judge.

Best,
Nathan

Petteri Sulonen said...

Well spoken, Nathan.

Robyn said...

Thanks for responding to my comment, Nathan. I think your revised post is much clearer. It is such a thorny issue and sitting still with it for a while seems wise.