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.


Jeff Albrizze said...

Hey Shokai, I am a big fat guy...there, I said it. And believe me, I am fully aware of this fact. I have struggled with this obvious issue since childhood, with varying degrees of success. I have had people judge me for this physical characteristic, and feel it should eliminate me from teaching. Other times, I think it makes me a better teacher, because many people who struggle with physical problems feel I relate to their struggles with more empathy and compassion.For me, there is no definitive answer, I just continue to sit zazen, and vow to save all sentient beings.

Shokai said...

Well said, Jeff.

Perhaps your karmic benefit is not having shallow students caught up in the superficial appearances of things?

Jeff Albrizze said...

You have a point, no $100 yoga pants at my sangha. I also don't have dharma transmission, so I don't do jukai and give out cool Japanese names. What I do share is sitting zazen, and practical application of the Dharma. We study the Denkoroku, Lankavatara Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra, Book of Equanimity, and Dogen. When people ask my teaching credentials, I tell them I am just one beggar telling other beggars where to find bread.