Saturday, November 27, 2010


There is frost along the west side of the houses on this street and, where they are still in shadow, the cars too are rimed with white. It will be nippy on the peace picket line this morning, but it looks as if there will be sunshine to mollify the nip.

An email from a college student who once visited here in an academic effort to "decode" Zen Buddhism said yesterday that he would like to come tomorrow to try a little practice. I gave him my knee-jerk response -- sure, come ahead; you're welcome. And then I wondered about my knee-jerk habit: At about the time when my interest in Zen Buddhism is waning, people seem to show up ... or maybe I am just noticing it more and hoping they will go somewhere else. But then, that's a bit knee-jerk as well.

It's nice to make nice, but having practiced that a bit, I have seen its allure subside. Making nice is not the reason for making nice in spiritual matters. There seems to be some imperative ... and I hope no one will start flonging their "compassion" dongs. It just seems to be the way things work. Or, as someone put it aptly, "It can't be helped."

Maybe some good counsel can be found in the Zen teacher Rinazi when he was quoted as saying, "Grasp and use, but never name." Things are knee-jerk right up until they are no longer knee-jerk. "Nice" is not a very nice name. When did ego-tripping ever work very well?

And as for knee-jerk ... well, in the time it took to type these words, the skies have clouded over and the nip in the air seems to have gathered intensity. Looks as if there will be no sunshine on the peace picket ... but of course that could all change in the time between now and the actual gathering.

Time for breakfast.

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