Monday, April 13, 2009


A little higgledy-piggledy:

-- My older son wears size 14 shoes. Is it any wonder I live from paycheck to paycheck?

-- My Zen teacher, Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi, once told me that if he had not gotten into the monk business, he would have liked to own a noodle parlor: Easy work, high profit margin, and offering people nourishment they actually needed. I'm not sure what my version of Kyudo's noodle parlor might be ... something more companionable, I think.

-- Funny how we rely on the unreliable to seek out the reliable. Ethics, morals, experiences of all kinds ... all have potential redeeming value in a social sense and yet all reside in the past while we ourselves live in the present. The present is its own thing -- sui generis -- and offers no real handholds: Anything could happen, any circumstance could arise. Sometimes we meet such a wide-open plain skilfully. Sometimes we screw the pooch.

But whatever we do, we often rely on what we learned from the past (which was once present and wide open as the sky). We imagine we know the past, when the present makes it perfectly clear that what we remember is just a fragment of the truth or perhaps "figment" is a better word. The past is boxed in morals and ethics and certainties that inform the present ... and yet the present laughs up its sleeve. If the past were really all that informative, there would never have been another war and none of us would ever have made the same mistake twice.

The past cannot be grasped or relived or relied on and yet, when coping in the present, it's what we've got, somehow. So we have laws that rely on past experience ... laws and rules and policies that have social consequences. But the present makes it abundantly clear that rules were made to be ignored, broken and revised. If we break the rules as a rule, that is just another rule to be broken, ignored or revised. If we don't break the rules as a rule, that is just another rule to be broken, ignored or revised.

And through it all, the present titters behind a politely-raised hand. "Past? Present?" it seems to ask. "Relax ... and don't be ridiculous."

1 comment:

  1. Then again, we may find that true ethics are embedded in our present being, and actualised in a moment.

    Peace, BuddhiHermit