Thursday, March 19, 2015

spiritual life -- the nutshell

After enough years of practice and affection, it seems reasonable to ask for a summation of any given interest: What nutshell punchline would you offer to those evincing a similar interest for the first time? What hand up? What warning?

In Zen Buddhism, for example, one of the old guys suggested
          Do good.
          Refrain from evil.
          And purify this mind.

And that's pretty pithy -- a decent admonition if ever there was one.

One of the flies in the ointment of pithiness, however, is that the longer the experience and affection, the greater the age. It's not a sob story, just a fact. And the older and 'wiser' and more toothless anyone becomes, the less likely it is for pithy stuff to taste very good. The pithy bit may not be exactly wrong or stupid, but it doesn't roll with assurance off an assured tongue.

And so, in the process of challenging my own tongue when it comes to a spiritual affection and sometimes-furious practice that has lasted for years and years, the honest-injun best I can come up with when offering a blessing to those setting out on a spiritual path is this:
Go out and sin some more.
This admonition may not sit well with those who are boisterously 'kind and caring,' but when you get to be my age, perhaps there will be a foundation worth standing on. Just don't come mewling to me when "goodness" comes a cropper.

1 comment:

  1. I like "clean your clock". It might be a bit dated though.