Sunday, December 18, 2011

trickle-down Zen

I was talking idly with a friend today about the privileged status both of us speculated lay at the foundation of Zen practice in America when it occurred to me that, if true (and I have no particular leaning about the truth of falsehood of the speculation), then perhaps there is a possibility that there will be a trickle-down effect ... down to those who are less materially and educationally privileged.

It's a snotty, vaguely Republican, approach -- imagining that because you were born on third base, you therefore must have hit a triple or that wealth accumulated at the top will somehow trickle down -- but maybe there is something in it.

And maybe what saves Zen from the depredations that can attend on trickle-down theories in a social realm (economics, politics, etc.) is suffering. Suffering is a reality check that no amount of privilege can paper over. True, the privileged expositors -- the good-news shills -- can twist and turn matters to their own uses (warm, cozy, boundless wonder, ineffable light, blah, blah, blah ... make your check out to ____), but the dis-ease of honest-go-goodness life cannot be assuaged with bank checks or smooth talking.  True, there will always be the true believers, those content with a cozy hug or a compelling belief system.

But suffering will always get someone's attention -- the kind of attention that Zen practice speaks to.

So maybe it's OK just to let the privileged lead the charge and ice the cake when it comes to p.r.

Not everyone is a sissy.

Suffering, uncertainty, unsatisfactoriness ...

Who knows, maybe even the privileged will take note and get to work.

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