Wednesday, December 19, 2012

the fat lady who never sings

On his blog, UU minister and Zen teacher James Ford wrote:
I have a vague fantasy that the great North American Zen scandals are pretty much over.
Because I lived through three of what I came to refer to wryly as "the Fuck Follies" and because I have been hotly vocal in the past about various aspects of what Ford refers to as "scandals," I claim the right to open my mouth. Not be right, mind you, just to chime in.

Ford's observation/fantasy struck a sympathetic chord with me. Gawd! The whole thing is so damned tiring, so endless, so suppurating, so pinpoint specific and broadbrush general, so closed to any -- and I mean any -- conclusion, solution or finale. It wears me out and yet when anyone (me included) even fantasizes about its being "pretty much over," the old lion raises his resting head, bears his fangs and roars,
It ain't over till the fat lady sings!
Not for a moment do I believe my smug or pseudo-healing exhaustion or my imaginative fantasy life could put a period on the sentence and end this dreadful, droning, interminable, ouching opera. I still want to puke when I hear various apologists bring "healing" or "compassion" or "vast oneness" to the Zen scandal table. Too often what they mean is that facing things honestly is just too painful ... or it might sully their robes. Like the child-abuse-prone Vatican, it's "let's not throw the baby out with the bath water" and "let's get back to making nice." And, coincidentally, "let's just agree to forget about those who have been egregiously wronged and to whom no honest apology and no systemic overhaul has been offered."

A part of me roars and a part of me succumbs to its own exhaustion.

I am praying for the fat lady and ... guess what? ... I honestly don't think she exists.

Piteous caterwauling from an uncertain and needy audience. More caterwauling with an occasionally delicious aria from the institutionalized Zen Buddhist stage. It really is touching in one sense.

But after a while, it does make you wonder if it wouldn't be better to go home and watch TV or pot a plant or wash the kitchen floor or indulge in something that might qualify as "useful."

1 comment:

  1. If, one more time, I hear "baby" and "bathwater" used in the same sentence in reference to Zen scandals, I'm going to hurl. "Don't drop your soap in the Zendo shower" might be better advice.