“All the Buddhas and all sentient beings are nothing but the One Mind, beside which nothing exists. This Mind, which is without beginning, is unborn and indestructible.” ~ Huang Po
The Zen of…you name it. Golf, interior decorating—whatever.
There’s a zen way to do it—if you are interested.
Buddhists for justice
There’s a Buddhism out there for you if you are looking for it—the question is whether or not we need more than one.
And herein lay a great contradiction—to be Buddhist, ever resisting desires, in a society dominated by their propagation and fulfillment.
If the Buddha met consumerism in the street, would he cut its head off?
One certainly can be forgiven for any frustration that arises thereof. And it is tough, if not impossible, to dismiss the hypocrisy.
While most of us loathe to admit it, humans are not actually free.
If you live in a consumerist, tech-dominated society (like me), you are likely tied down in one way or another by the choices you have made.
To get to school, buy a home or car, to work even ties us to certain things and ways of being.
Living a so-called normal life can be tough because modern life has a pernicious way of destroying meaning.
Obtuse and fantastic expressions of this dilemma are the stock and trade of movies like “The Matrix.”
I tread carefully here. People love that film.
But to bend a spoon is not enough. The challenge of deriving a kernel of meaning from life today is perhaps more acute than it was for the old masters.
There was no television or consumerism in 12th century Japan.
The only way to experience practice was to show up on the doorstep of a temple.
Until quite recently, that experience usually involved a physical thrashing or two. If you got through that—then you would likely be sitting in meditation for hours on end, or washing floors, or ingratiating yourself to a hostile monk.
Honestly, a child who has read a tiny bit of Buddhism knows that none of this is necessary—and that is the way it was for centuries.
But meaning, in the sense of experience—was available.
Poems like this one wrote:
Spring is passing.
The birds cry, and the fishes’ eyes are
The meaning here is elusive. I believe that some readers may struggle to see the beauty—and I understand.
Life is crowded. Who has time for crying fish poems?
Today, you must be gifted to wade through the bullsh*t.
It is best not to hope for anything meaningful.
Politicians and priests conjure reasons to keep people from throwing themselves into the drink.
The marketplace signals that one should be satisfied with banality, gadgets, and novelty—questioning this is not popular.
You can be Buddhist-ish and have all the sh*t you want, right?
We prefer the charlatan and the elaborate ruse.
Whatever suffering we endure because of our desires is entirely our own. Not only is this true—it is scandalous.
People prefer to suffer. They prefer delusion. One cannot even be sure if seeking is necessary. Certainly, it is not encouraged.
Instead, fabulous wealth, uninhibited sexual pleasure, and hedonistic satisfaction appear to be just a click away, which is a mad sort of bait and switch, as they are clearly not a click away.
Lin Chi or Rinzai asserted that if one does seek to apply themselves diligently to a spiritual path—by some miracle of well-balanced parenting and an eager heart—you arrive at the fundamental truth that there is nothing to seek, and you have settled your affairs.
You are done, cooked.
So what’s the purpose of any spiritual practice at all? Herein lies everything and nothing.
First, there is no purpose in the normative sense of that word.
There is no conceptual reason to sit meditation or study Buddhism.
And that is the beginning of not being Buddhist.
There are many Buddhisms,
but only one Buddha.