Sunday, February 21, 2010

stop pussyfooting

The Zen teacher Rinzai once tried to build a fire under the monks at his monastery with the (approximate) words: "Your whole problem is that you do not trust yourselves enough!"

This morning, I was reading elsewhere a question about whether an idea expressed in the Tao Te Ching was in any way linked to a similar idea in a particular Buddhist sutra.

And all I could think, in my usual, undiplomatic mind, who gives a shit whether such things connect or don't connect, whether wisdom of a particular kind pops up here and also there ... and how curious that might be, given the time and distance between the two places? What matters is that the wisdom appeals to you, whether it emanates from prince or pauper.

Trust yourself! Don't worry where something comes from ... worry about whether, since it appeals to you, it is true. Find out. Who cares if it's a rest room graffito or a profound holy text, trust yourself: Find out if it's true. If all you can do is laud one thing and disdain another, if all you can do is elucidate and make convincing connections, how the hell will you ever know anything but confusion?

Isn't it the finding out that counts? Sure, prop yourself up with wisdoms you find convincing or alluring or reliable ... but then, trust yourself and find out.

Rest room graffito. Profound holy text.

Never give up.

Find out.

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