Monday, November 15, 2010

eat your dinner!

Funny how when friends go into a restaurant together, no one is surprised or outraged or concerned or upset or corrective about what the others order. But when it comes to spiritual life, whether subtle or gross, all sorts of heels can dig in.

When people tell me that their Buddhist adventure began with the television series "Kung Fu" or that Alan Watts and the Beats pressed their buzzers, I can sometimes feel my mental eyelids tightening with protective doubt. "Kung Fu" struck me as a magnetic (kick-ass) presentation of Buddhism, but utterly smarmy -- a Stepin Fetchit Buddhism. And Alan Watts and the Beats sometimes strike me as deliciously, socially rebellious without much serious flavor or nourishment.

So, it's not my taste and more than that, I may even feel my own taste rising up protectively: Stick with the heavy hitters, with Huang Po and Hui Hai and Huineng and Dogen and Rinzai and Ta Hui and ... my laundry list goes on and on and on. I may not enunciate my tastes -- such a good Zen Buddhist, dontcha know -- but they can be there on the inside, upright and combative and -- god save me -- virtuous.

What a lot of energy it takes to be "right." What a lot of training it takes to let things alone. When I let things alone, my importance and sense of self is somehow diminished and I become just another daisy in a daisy chain. It's a come-down and yet over and over again, life whispers, "That's right. You're just another daisy -- indispensable, but not indispensable."

Imagine how much energy there would be for more important things if you stopped stipulating what was important. Sure, you like chicken and the other person enjoys spaghetti. State your taste and enjoy your food -- isn't that enough? It takes a tremendous weight off your shoulders and more, it lines up with life's whispering.

Buddhism-lite, OK. I prefer the Buddhism with the Marsala sauce. You came in your door and I came in mine ... now let's chow down! True, there is a right way and an wrong way to go about things, but what's wrong with being wrong? What's right about being right?

Just thinking it lightens the load to be a daisy when you are a daisy. It's more than a relativist matter of taste. It's just the way things are. And hell, you don't even have to think about it... which leaves more energy for hop-scotch and laughter.

1 comment:

  1. I dunno, I mean my "intro" to Buddhism was Kung Fu. I was a kid, I was fascinated. Obviously today the Buddhism I know is totally different from what I saw on the show. Or is it? Long answer no with an if, short answer yes with a but.