Sunday, April 16, 2017

"do you remember me?"

It's one thing to tease my advancing forgetfulness with friends or acquaintances likely to be suffering the same affliction. You can chuckle a bit or weep openly if necessary. This is cosa nostra, our thing.

But it is quite another to be bare-ass accosted ... out of no where ... by the same set of facts.

Yesterday, sitting on a low retaining wall outside the barbershop I had patronized some minutes before, I was enjoying the sunshine as I waited for my wife to pick me up. It was good to be outside, to feel the sun, feel the air, watch the almost non-existent activities as cars passed. And as I sat there, a man approached. Then sat on the wall next to me and said calmly, "Do you remember me?"

And I didn't, though his German accent rang some bells and it turned out Samuel's son and one of mine inhabited a similar high school class together. But I really didn't remember. He had the social-working demeanor of his profession -- taking care of 'challenged' kids in schools ... a poker face that remained in place even when confronting a serial killer. Texas Hold 'Em lips is what I think of. We chatted. He said I had once taken him to the zendo I built in the backyard here. I really didn't remember that, though I remember a general trend of trying to lure people in by giving a cook's tour of the 12x16 building. He wanted to know if I still did Buddhism. "I'll do Buddhism if you like," I said, feeling more at ease than when my cook's tour frequency had been in play. He laughed ... "you 'do Buddhism'" he repeated and we both chuckled. We had a nice chat and pretty soon my wife came and I wasn't a Buddhist any more ... or perhaps I was more so. How I loved it all once. And now .... Buddhism is sensible for those inclined.

But these days, my "finis" point so to speak refers back to a time when I asked a Zen teacher how to teach others. "Tell 'em 80%," he replied, "and let 'em find out 20." That never sat right with me, though back then I wouldn't have dared to contradict a "teacher." Then, by suspicion, and now by conviction, my feeling is, "tell 'em 100% and let 'em find out 100%."

As if there were some other choice.


  1. If you tell 'em what you think you know, they'll find out something.

  2. Loved this post. Thank you.

  3. There are many other valid guidelines besides 80/20 and 100/100.

    One is expressed in an Oriental saying, possibly Confucian. The best student teacher relationship is that the teacher teaches just one-quarter of the material and the teacher expects the student to figure out the other three-quarters.

    (This may be true at any level of teaching.)

    The other is only about the teacher. The teacher prepares to teach content for one-fourth of the time with the students; the other three quarters is devoted to entertaining the students.

    (Makes me wonder just how well modern American education programs have been preparing teachers.)