Friday, January 13, 2006

On Thumpers

It matters not to me what holy writing a thumper thumps.

The problem with cutting a pasting little snippets of holy writings (the Koran, the Bible, the Sutras or the Torah) is that they can and have been used to justify any action the person chooses to be doing. They make every action righteous. Thumping clippings from the Bible made Apartheid and the Holocaust righteous, Thumping the Koran made flying airplanes into buildings righteous, Thumping the Sutras made the rape of China and the Aum terrorisms righteous.

Apartheid arose in the mind before the structures were built in society to reinforce it, just like a temple is built when it arises in the mind. Apartheid arose from the thought that others are beneath you and the Bible was used to justify it.......obviously such an idea can be ennobled from the Sutra's as well.

The problem with lifting little sections of the holy writings to justify your position is that pretty much anything can be justified in such a manner. If you read the whole Bible, you get a different idea than from "an eye for an eye"....or if you read the whole section that describes homosexuality as a would also not eat pork, or shrimp or lobster, your wife would be your property, and jerking off as much of a sin as ......well never mind..... and almost any male (and most females) are right there in sin with every gay or lesbian. The point being that the thumper is using the writings to justify their position. They do not care if that position is consistent with the rest of the writings, They are not looking for the way , they are only looking to justify their way. Thumpers are are dangerous. When they are alone they are even more scary, because there is no check at all on how crazy they can become...there is nowhere for them to get a sanity check....but then again..a thumper does not thump to have their ideas tested in crucible of a discussion, they thump to justify their position, their reality, created by their ideas. When challenged a thumper has nothing to say....all they can do it thump some more, and use some stolen wisdom to try and justify their own position, because by nature, a thumper has no wisdom of their own.

Before we get all holier then thou and pat ourselves on the back, we are all thumpers at times too, just like we all are pretentious sometimes too. A wise person recognizes this tendency in themselves, and works to minimize it in themselves rather then maximize the danger to themselves and others. A wise person gets a sanity check from those around them from time to time, just to make sure they have not wandered too far afield.

Before we get too down on ourselves for our tendency to wander off the path all too easily, let us remember that all do this sometimes as well. We also are sometimes wise, and sometimes noble as well. There is nothing that arises in any person, be that nobility or ignorance, that does not arise in us as well. To pretend otherwise is just lying to ourselves. Every decent Zen teacher I have ever met has someone they respect to check themselves with so they do not wander off too far afield in their life. Power corrupts, a wise man or woman gets a check on this corruption from time to time.

Wisdom is not ignoring anything...ignoring anything is ignorance. Ignoring it in others is not kind, ignoring it in ourselves is dangerous.

English is a tough language...there is no pronoun for the you that is me, and the me that is you, because it is really different then "us". Us is more our separate beings gathered together. The big "I" includes you and the big "you" includes me. When anyone calls anyone on anything, they are indeed calling themselves on it at the same time...there is nothing we dislike more in others, then what we dislike in ourselves. Ask anyone who has lived with a former smoker, a former drinker, a former addict, a former intellectual, a former anything.

The point here is one is beneath us...they are exactly us. No matter how much we huff or stomp away, or use the sutras to justify our position, the basic point of the whole thing (any holy writing) has been missed the moment we think we can leave. The moment the thought arises that there is indeed a they that is not us, that can be left, we are lost. One of the basic points of Jesus' teaching was that he was exactly the beggar you treated poorly, he is exactly the "homo" or the "terrorist" you deny basic human rights to. (oh wait..we already did that to him didn't we??? wow...Deja Vu all over again.....) He is exactly the "least of my brothers "(what ever you do to the least.... you do him...exactly).....hmmm a most Buddhist of teachings........None of us is alone in missing these teachings, most of us miss them most of the time. Whatever we do to anyone, we do at the same time to Buddha, Jesus, Mohamed, Bahula, Moses, Shiva, Zeus, The goddess, the green man, to Hitler, Pol Pot, the republicans and the democrats.

Be Well