Friday, October 22, 2010

shadow and light

Today, I got an email from my older son telling me that he had sent in his absentee ballot from college and thus voted for the first time in his life. Now he, like a lot of young people, is old enough to vote, old enough to drive, old enough to be conscripted and killed in the latest war, but not yet old enough to drink legally.

Another email described carefully the corrupted nature of Zen Buddhist lineage and the damage such corruption can do to its adherents. Teachers manufactured out of whole (or damn near it) cloth; lineage relying on gizmos and gadgets to fill in the historical gaps between today and the time of Gautama Buddha; the authoritarian proclivities of those chosen to guide this spiritual parade ... all offered in a factual, quiet tone that I enjoy. I like it when someone points out the nose on anyone's face -- the down side of what otherwise might be an up side in someone's life. Emotional whining or hand-wringing (like hymns and hallelujahs) never convinces me well. Careful examination does ... and I like it when someone upsets whatever apple cart I may have loaded.

Is there anything so good that it does not cast a shadow? Is there such a thing as a shadow that does not refer to the good light?

It's impossible to make anyone hear what they can't yet hear and still I like the words of some old Zen teacher:

Wishing to entice the blind,
The Buddha has playfully
Let words escape his golden mouth.
Heaven and earth are ever since filled
With entangling briars.
"Playfully" ... now there's a good word.

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