Saturday, September 25, 2010

Buddhist nudge

Having run into An Inquiry Into Master Xuyun’s Experiences of Long-dwelling in Samādhi
by chance yesterday, I read some of it and recognized that I probably never have been or would be a Zen or any other sort of Buddhist.

I gather that people came from miles around to visit the man who was said to have entered and remained in samadhi for 18, 9, and 9 days without a break. It doesn't sound as if Xuyun were uppity about it. It was just what happened and others were touched by these experiences or feats.

In another time, it might have been upsetting to recognize or even deeply suspect that I was not "Buddhist" material. What a lot of time had been spent warming myself by the Zen Buddhist flame. In another time, I would have wanted the support, the name, the awe, the family.

But not yesterday. Yesterday, it was a gentle breeze that refreshed the skin and mind. Even Ikkyu's soothing assertion that "I am not a Buddha. I am just an ordinary fellow who understands things" seemed like a protest-too-much overstatement in my case.

How then was I to account for my halting efforts of the past? If I put it into words, I guess I would say that profound understandings and etched experiences come and go. They are encouraging.

Encouraging and yet, honest injun, there really are dirty dishes in the sink as I type.

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