Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Anchovie Questions

I'm not quite sure why I dislike Facebook as a way of communicating. It may be that I figure if someone has something to say to me, they'll send an email. Or maybe it's that how much anyone says is limited, so it's a venue of sound bites. Or it may be sheer laziness. Somehow, I just don't care for it much. This is not a criticism of what anyone else might like.

This morning, for example, I got a notification that someone had posted on my "wall." Jack wanted to know why I no longer posted on a Buddhist site called "Dhammawheel." It was what I think of as an Anchovie Question -- something I don't really want to get into or am reluctant to or uncertain about answering ... you know, an ego-nudging query. I always do my best to answer the Anchovie Questions.

But even at a distance -- on a blog where I have unlimited space to blab ... still I have no sure or assured answer. Taste is taste is the short answer.

But there is also the matter of being somehow afraid of upsetting someone else's apple cart. Buddhism is a wonderful way of approaching the difficulties of this life, but there are different tastes and schools, none of them in any way "wrong," but each of them serious to the followers involved.

Suggesting that people don't have apple carts to upset is a nice hope or a factual truth, but what are the schools of Buddhism if not apple carts -- tentative ways of finding a way home?

So my apple cart is "a teaching outside the scriptures," and someone else's is a "teaching within the scriptures." Both carry with them a promise and a lot of dangers. But whatever the apple cart, spiritual endeavor is not just some philosophy or religion ... it concerns actual-factual human beings whose tender places deserve respect and kindness. True, their tender places are sometimes armored with a granite-hard bias, but it is up to the individual to wear away the rock. A religio-philosophical tussle is unlikely to do much more than harden the rock.

Sometimes people will say, "S/he convinced me." But this is not true. I convince me. You convince you. There is no getting around the responsibility. It's not "right" or "wrong," it's just a factual responsibility. But for all that, we can discuss one aspect or another, one problem or another, one teaching or another. And that's what Internet bulletin boards help with.

Still, I do not belong to bulletin boards devoted to motorcycles or Trixie's fail-safe suggestions for a Saturday night. I don't join such sites and then play the nay-sayer. It's too fruitless and tiring and needlessly wounding. Maybe motorcycles and their intricacies are a truly useful tool when seeking a little happiness. And maybe Trixie and her devotees have a true-blue understanding. For all I know, the riders of motorcycles or the riders of the Trixies of this life are on track.

A teaching outside the scriptures seems to suit my taste. A teaching inside the scriptures is also fine, but does not fit me as well. My apple cart is just my apple cart ... no need for me to run over your toes with it.

Oh well, I'm not answering the Facebook query well at all. I guess it will just have to remain as an Anchovie Question. I will try to answer questions anyone might ask ... but that doesn't mean I will be much good at it.


  1. What are you trying to teach?

  2. I noticed a post by you at yesterday. Seems a fertile site and growing community there.

  3. One thing you might take advantage of on face book , is the ability to see which words you use most in your posts . For instance I notice as an example that you use the expression "actual factual" frequently as well as the word Its interesting to see just what the repetition of certain words is saying to are reading audience :) Anita