Thursday, June 07, 2007

do not seek an easy practice

Dear Readers,

I am going to have to ask some of you who have been around for a while to forgive me for repeating myself again and again...but I think it is time for another crack at post number 3. (sometimes I feel there are maybe five posts I just write over andover.....(1: get a teacher 2: yes you really need to bring this into your real life...and on and on a few more numbers.)

We seem to think there is a shortcut...that all we need do is to think the right thoughts, see the right things or even feel the right things......and if we read enough books by Thich Nat Hanh or the Dalai Lama then we can be just like them. But Thich Nat Hanh's practice was tempered in a real war zone with grenades and bullets, and the Dalai Lama was driven from his country that he was responsible for and watched those friends under his protection tortured and killed.

Those who pretend to walk around as holy as the Dalai Lama and have not had their practice tested as deep and as hard have no idea whether or not they could respond like he or Thay did to their life practice. The fact is ....none of us knows what will hold up when push comes to
shove...we can only hope we will have the strength to stand as these men have. They have what some of us call "street cred"(cred is short for credibility)......they have proved themselves in the toughest going......and we simply have not. Even though what the Dalai Lama faces in his daily life now seems like a piece of cake compared to what happened only seems so relatively. Without the hard stuff that went before...this is still the hardest thing we know....and if the hardest thing we know is living in the richest (or one of the richest) countries in the world ...then that is really not so hard after wonder it seems difficult to have to deal with a flat tire in rush is the worst thing to happen to us in ages.

When we have a practice that does not work even in the mildest of conditions to keep us on a stable footing on the path......then we lack "street cred".

The native American elder who I used to work with always says "If your religion does not grow corn...then it is useless". If when you are depressed and looking at that bottle of wine...or when your friends are over and you have a hard time saying no...and you wind up drunk on the
floor and in some trouble...then you lack the "street cred"....your religion does not work for you when the going gets rough...and what you are offering to others is a fraud. The problem is ...the only way to know if your way works when the going gets tough is to actually practice in some tough places. This does not mean that we need to deliberately seek out difficult has a way of handing us difficult things to deal with even in the nicest of places. What we need to
understand when we talk about how abused we were as a child..........we are not going to have much street cred with some 12 year old girl who has had her clitoris cut off and has been a sex slave for 6 years already in some third world we have to also
take a look at our credibility when we speak. We have to gain an understanding about the depth of our own practice and seek our own level and not try to preach to those who will not believe we have any credibility to speak to them.

The thing is......the more we have suffered, the more credibility we have when we talk about how to relieve suffering. The Dalai Lama and Thich Nat Hanh have a whole lot of street cred.....almost anyone wants to have the results of their practice....but no one wants to have to go through what they did to get it.....the problem is cannot borrow someone else's credibility is not yours to share or can only offer your own....and if what you have does not work in a warm apartment on a gloomy does not have much credibility to a pregnant child in a planned parenthood matter if you borrowed one of Thay's books to hand out ....or the latest wisdom from the Dalai Lama. I doubt even Thay would hand out one of his books in that situation ...even though he has more right to do so than we do.....he would probably sit down and hold a hand and stay till no one needed to hold a hand any longer. If he said anything it would probably be words of comfort....spoken in his own words directly to the heart of the person who's hand he holds.

So .......when push comes to shove ...and we are calm...and able to pass through it without getting stuck....then we gain a little credibility....and we then can help others through that particular situation.....because it is not the way that fails if we cannot is
us.....and no matter how well we negotiated the last trial...we still have no idea how well we will negotiate the next one....and we must, if we wish to lead others through it...inspire confidence in those we wish to lead. I do have faith through my practice that this way works in some
pretty tough you want one way that works......this is one.

I have had too good karma to have passed a test in a battle...or to have starved in a third world country.....I cannot really speak to post traumatic stress syndrome, or slavery, or even imprisonment. (though in my naivety I have tried in the past). This stuff we end up dealing with
here is basically a kindergarten practice.....I do not aspire to be the Dalai Lama because I do not wish to be tested as deep and hard as he was....I am fine with being a kindergarten teacher. I will never be great as these men because my karma is too good......a thing I am thankful for every day.

I was raised in a violent and abusive family father drank all the time and beat my mother almost as frequently; we were physically abused. Yet I lived in a free country in a warm house, with clothes to wear and an education for free within walking distance ........Compared to some in the world....this would have been the best childhood they could imagine.

It is not a surprise to me that compared to Thich Nat Hanh...I lack a little street some it seems a surprise to them that they do.

So...I do not care what you think ....I only care if you can walk your path through a little difficulty.....because compared to some..if you have a computer and access to electricity your difficulty is going to be little compared to theirs. If you cannot handle an email list, you
cannot handle life, and if you cannot handle life, you have no business in other people's business. So now you "have seen the light" about you go about and get a little street cred before you try and thrill an audience that has seen the same show before....before you comeon here and try to sound like the Dalai Lama about you demonstrate a little bit of his actual practice?....otherwise you come off as an actor playing a a con....a liar.......dishonest. If you do not talk about moon being moon with your not put it on here for just sounds fake because it is.

If all you can really talk about is how you could stub your toe and continue walking the path...then talk about that...and those who might stub their toes will benefit.....and you will have the benefit of sounding and being authentically what you are.

No..... I do not sound like a Japanese Zen master....I do not talk like the Dalai Lama...nor Thich Nat Hanh.......I never will........if you are looking for that....go someplace else...if you feel that is lacking here fine...but if you are going to say something say something
not borrow Thay's wisdom or the words of the Dalai Lama. Perhaps it would be better if you go off and develop a practice as tried and tested as Thay's and then bring your own wisdom here.....then we would honor it.........In case you have not noticed......we only pick on those who
try and come off like the Dalai Lama is their younger spiritual sibling after they have had a whole five minutes of insight, and little or no actual practice.

Interesting isn't it? Thich Nat Hanh had a teacher..the Dalai Lama had a teacher, Dogen, Bodhidarma, Nagarajuna and Ananda had a teacher....the Sixth Patriarch had a teacher....and for those in the know (a little esoteric secret here) even Shakyamuni had a teacher....he is the Sixth
name on my lineage chart....not the first.....seems a little bit....well ....arrogant to think we can get it by reading a book and pondering a bit on our own doesn't it?

All right...this got longer than I had planned it to....and maybe a bit of post #1 and post #2 got worked in there as well.....but I guess it is what it is. It took pretty much all my free time today to get this whipped into some sort of shape....the grandson was needy today.......what an honor to be the one who can offer comfort in a time of difficulty.....makes passing through a bit of difficulty yourself seem like a small price to pay.

Be Well


Friday, June 01, 2007

a little brad warner

Here is a quote from an article by Brad Warner on the common ground
website. for the
full article.

"Nobody's tricked you, you moron," they'd say. "You know what the
truth is. Stop being such a bonehead, and take an honest look at
yourself." Gensa didn't need a Learned Zen Master to tell him he was
in pain when he stubbed his toe that day. And you don't need anyone to
tell you what your life really is either. You sure as heck don't need
me. I cannot possibly tell you anything you don't already know. You
probably agree, since, if you're like most people, you think I'm an
idiot. But you probably also think that somewhere out there in the
land where books are written is someone way cooler and tons more
spiritually advanced than me who can tell you something you don't
already know. Keep right on looking. The publishing industry loves you."

Brad is recounting the tale of Gensa, a monk who gets all upset and is
ready to leave the fricking temple when he stubs his toe on the way
out the gate....and finally understands that he has been deluding
himself that his body is just an illusion, and there is only one who
can delude him...and he will no longer be able to do that anymore.

I just thought I might share this ...for those of you who think the
word moron is not something a Zen priest should say....That no kind of
Buddhist monk would talk like I do.....not only does Brad say it....he
says his teacher's said it to him.

Maybe some of us can fool ourselves into thinking that all Buddhist
monks are sweet and tender, loving teachers who wrap their arms
tenderly around everyone who shows up at the gate.....Here is just a
little point to who is really deluding who.

Many people come here and think that because they fool themeselves,
they can fool me, and all the rest of the rest of the list.

All I ask is that you come here in honesty...and do not ask questions
intended to decieve, muddy the water, or keep yourself in your
delusion because you can delude yourself into thinking you can blame
someone or something else for your misery.

Do not come here and ask questions like "If a man has no teacher, no
sangha, and by chance wakes up, is it not right that he should seek
confirmation from the sources available to him?" ...who exactly do you
think you are fooling? No one really honestly talks like that. The
language is designed to deceive.

Being real and honest.....that is one mark. "I just can't be deceived
by others." and the corollary....I no longer wish to decieve myself
nor others.

Sorry...but anyone with a true awakening would run not walk to the
nearest person who might be able to confirm, and present themselves as
honestly and fully as they could. The internet would leave too much
room for even accidental deception. It could never be sufficent. So
then answer is in the question. A man who by chance wakes up..would
not be without teacher nor sangha for long. teacher no demonstration of awakening...ergo no realized awakening
(awakening made real...realization). All that has been demonstrated by
chance is a dream of realization...and the dream is not enough.

Perhaps we might look to the Sixth patriarch...who awakened (perhaps
by chance) to a monk's chanting of the Diamond sutra. He left as soon
as he could to find a teacher and a temple to practice in. When he was
not found suitible to practice with the real monks...he cut bamboo in
the garden just to be near the teacher and the temple, when it came
time to pick the teacher's was his poem that won the
robe...and he had to sneak off in the dark so as not to cause the
"real monks" to murder him in their jealousy. Even so they gave chase
and could not find him. In the story there is never a hint that there
is something wrong with the system......the sixth patriarch could not
be deceived. His teacher could not be deceived...certainly not by others.

Be Well