Friday, May 4, 2012

Zombie Zen

          A zombie is the body of a dead person given the semblance of life, but mute and will-less, 0r just a person whose behavior or responses are wooden, listless, or seemingly rote; automaton.
         Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism which originated in China during the 6th century CE as Chán. From China, Zen spread south to Vietnam, to Korea and east to Japan.  The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Middle Chinese word Dzyen (Modern Mandarin: Chán), which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "absorption" or "meditative state". Over the years many forms of Zen have come and gone.
 It is time to ask if you and I are practicing Zombie Zen!
           A living religion is the one which changes according to the needs of the times keeping its essence.   Is our Zen a Zen that is doctrinally rooted in the past?  If a Religion hasn't changed since it's inception, or continues to cling to dogma that is obviously out of step with the time it's in, or it's social environment, then it is no more living than a stone.  It is doomed to irrelevance simply because society changes and it doesn't.
          Is our Zen simply the animated corpse of a Zen long dead?    Teachers are you responsible for this voodoo.  Do you spend your life trying to reanimate that which is long dead?

   It seems to me too many Zen Masters focus on the trivia of Zen as a way to avoid risking their reputation by exercising their own judgement. If you assume your self a teacher don't pratice voodoo trying to recreate what is long dead.  If you are a master stop trying to  raise the dead, give birth to a living Zen

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Right View

             For some reason people today ignore Buddha’s first sermon. It dose not promise enlightenment. It dose not promise magical powers or omniscient insights.  The first and only promise Buddha ever made was that he knew how you could reduce the suffering of this life.

The Four Noble Truths
  1. Life means suffering
  2. The origin of suffering is attachment
  3. The cessation of suffering is attainable
  4. The way to the reduction of that suffering is the noble eightfold path
The Eight Fold Path

  1. Right View
  2. Right Intention
  3. Right Speech
  4. Right Action
  5. Right Livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right Mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

               When considering the Buddha’s prescription for reducing the suffering of this world the first two admonitions Right View and Right Intention can be called wisdom. They are in fact referring to our fundamental world view, how we see the world and what motivates us to do what we do. Right view is the fundamental cognitive orientation of an individual or society encompassing the entirety of the individual or society's knowledge and point of view, including natural philosophy; fundamental, existential, and normative postulates; or themes, values, emotions, and ethics. In fact it is both the beginning and the end of the path.
              The physical and social world we live in can be brutal, merciless and random in how it treats us.  Too many modern Zen practitioners think that they can achieve this without teaching or guidance.  They often see this as “belief” and equate that with superstition and nonsense. What they ignore is the simple fact that they are not changing themselves.  No matter how many hours they sit in meditation, no matter what hoops the have jumped through to gain recognition, until they change, they have achieved nothing. Under their robes they are still whoever the have always been.  All the teachings and all their words are just a coat of paint smeared over their surface self.
             It is not until the world begins to squeeze you hard. Not until the suffering gets to a point where it is unendurable do you begin to see what you have done. When you reach for the support that that world view grants and find your hands grasping nothing but air. Then the world will show you the arrogant crap that glib statements like, “I don’t believe in anything” are made of.   If you really think you don’t believe in anything, you are both unaware of how your mind functions and perhaps just a self deluded fool.  Buddha was not such an arrogant fool.
          You have a world view it is the fundamental basis of your mind.  If you don’t change that view, not coat it with a coat of paint your wasting your and everyone’s time.  No good act without true good intentions will generate good results. No Dana given will have any value.
          Are you obsessed with money? Do you worry more about buildings and cars and robes than about people?  What do you really care about?   The Buddha said you must make the Buddhist world view yours. You must as they say make it real.  This world view is usually called the Dharma. You must do more than take refuge you must make it the world you live in.  If it is not your reality your just fooling yourself and eventually your real world will come calling and there will be no place to hide.