Sunday, June 20, 2010

no more mooching

I'm not a big fan of mooching off someone else's adventure, but I suppose it's par for the course, especially since, as this morning, there is no particular theme-bird chirping in my mind.

Today, I guess I'll mooch off the news report that a British doctor is in hot water for "shortening the lives" of some 20 patients, one of whom was his son.

It's not a story anyone hasn't read before, debated before, found sane or insane before, inveighed against or lifted up as enlightened at last. Death is one of the biggies, so it's always good for another journalistic ride.

Gautama Buddha was alleged in The Dhammapada to have said,

All fear dying
All fear death.
It's hard to imagine that his was an original thought. Everyone mooches and the Buddha was no different. Of course, what anyone does with their mooching is another question. Some mooch in order to raise their own status. Some mooch as a means of asserting their power. Some mooch as a means of instruction... and that's what I think the Buddha did -- mooch from common knowledge to encourage an uncommon understanding.

All fear death. Christianity and the like can use the notion to keep their constituencies in line. It's good leverage since death has a nearly-universal currency. And I'm sure the Buddha got people's attention with such a topic even if a glistening spire was not his intention.

When you fear something, eventually you have to turn around and face the fear, if for no other reason than that the alternative grows threadbare and boring over time. So, if I fear death and yet grow I-don't-know tongue-tied when asked, "What is death?" something is out of whack. It's not possible to fear what you do not know. You can only fear what you know. So ... what do you fear about death? If I'm so all-fired sure of myself about my fear of death, well, what is it I fear?

These are not questions for round-table discussions. They are personal and deserve personal and unfettered attention. If you cannot answer and yet you go on being afraid, then fear is an answer. But fear of WHAT? Isn't it worth your curiosity? Isn't it worth your effort? Isn't it worth setting aside the imaginative tapestries that others have and continue to weave?

Maybe that's a good way to describe spiritual endeavor: No more mooching. On the other hand, I probably mooched that from someone and don't even know it.

Mooch and smooch -- the way of the world.


  1. Even when we plumb the depths of creative originality, we still face the commonality of all experience.

    Encouraged by your tireless blogging, I have now attempted a few efforts in that direction at

  2. Hi BH -- I think that the commonality of experience -- what I sometimes think is just the fact that there is only one story, no matter how many stories we may tell -- comes before we sit down to beer, chips and plumbing the depths of creative originality.