Thursday, April 16, 2015

Nothing Is Good For Zazan - Shokai


There is, of course, a corollary to this.  There are those who've had profound spiritual experiences, who have resolved the great questions of "what is self?" and "what is life and death?," and have awakened to the true nature of the universe, but who are not themselves charismatic or necessarily attractively calm, centered, and self-assured.  Their experience and their practice will not make them into someone else, into someone who is charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured, and ignorant people caught up in the surficial appearances of things will not listen to them.  "That can't be a teacher," they think. "That person is unattractive and isn't in great physical shape.  That person isn't caring for their own body, and obviously isn't hydrating and exfoliating properly."  

That person may talk funny, or that person may have quirks in their personality, or even a different sexual orientation.  The ignorant, caught up in the surficial appearances of things, wouldn't even recognize the Buddha when she held the door open for them.  

Emperor Wu didn't recognize who Bodhidharma was even when the patriarch was standing in his court and speaking the truth to the Emperor, and Wu regretted his mistake for the rest of his life.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Original Chuck D


"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."

- Charles Darwin

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Zazen Is Good For Nothing - Kodo Sawaki Roshi


There are some people that we meet in the world who are charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured.  These people make good spiritual teachers, but they did not become charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured due to their spiritual practice - they were like that before practice and even without their practice they would still have been charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured.

Genuine spiritual practice in general and zazen in particular does not make you something that you weren't before - it strips away the layers of what you're not and leaves you naked as you really are, and if you're charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured, you're in luck because you'll still be that way.  

It's a mistake to enter into a spiritual practice with the intention of becoming like that charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured spiritual teacher, because you're you or at least some sort of manifestation of you.  And if your charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured spiritual teacher holds out the promise that you'd be like him or her someday then run - they're not offering a genuine spiritual practice and at the end of the day they'll have your money and be wealthier, charismatic and attractively calm, centered, and self-assured spiritual teachers. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring


Albeit a bit sodden, spring has finally come to Atlanta.  Vines on the front step of my little brick Craftsman.