Sunday, May 17, 2009

please lie to me

Yesterday, a chum and longtime Zen student sent me an email that said, "We both know zazen doesn't do shit..." James and I, each in our own way, had both spent a lot of time and effort on zazen, the seated meditation component of Zen Buddhism ... really, blood, sweat and tears. We have screamed and laughed and wept and imagined and been wowed and depressed... just like anyone else.

And yet....

Everyone thinks that their own life and the exercises of that life are important, sometimes "profoundly" important, and maybe the practice of zazen has an extra layer of imagined goodness or profundity or usefulness ... it's "Buddhism" after all and "Buddhism" is filled with a kind of common-sensical vision that can be heart-stopping in its wisdoms. And that's not to mention the fact that meditation practice can be literally painful in its applications: Let's face it, my pains are serious in my book and yours are in yours. Sitting cross-legged on a cushion over long hours is not for the faint of heart.

Zazen doesn't do shit. This is true, but there is no skipping over the shit in order to actualize such an appreciation. Everyone would probably like to be wise before they get wise, to skip over the devil in the details ... but it just doesn't work. And so Zen Buddhism -- which lays some emphasis on zazen or seated meditation, the actual-factual sit-down-and-shut-up function -- answers and fulfills our most fervent petition:

Please! Please! Please! ... lie to me.

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