A friend sent along Eido Shimano's latest version of a teisho. It was delivered to a group calling itself the Rinzai Zen Sangha, a group that alleges it has wide connections in the world of Zen Buddhism and yet is not beholden to that world ... taking credit without shouldering responsibility, that sort of thing.
I freely admit my failure to penetrate any imagined deeeeeeeeeeeeeep understanding in this matter. Truth to tell, I don't want that understanding. I am putting my reaction here because, in other times, I can imagine taking such presentations with heart-felt seriousness.
I tried to watch the video. Really, I did. But I got no further than the first couple of lines....
I felt like a man who has been invited to a pleasant walk in the woods only to get bogged down in ankle-deep, warm caramel along the way. Was this man physically debilitated in some way that would account for his ponderous speech and self-referential delivery? That was the kindest understanding I could come up with.
The only other alternative I could come up with was a profound lack of faith and corrupt understanding.
A walk in the woods is light and easy. Sights come and go. Conversation is companionable. It's no big deal and yet it's really quite pleasant. No one in his right mind lays on importance ... be it the moment at hand or the self-aggrandizing sort: That would fuck up the perfectly-pleasant pastime. There is a difference between offering and demanding.
What was this man afraid of, for heaven's sake?!
Walking through warm caramel.
Sure, there are endless explanations and wily bolt holes of response.
I just prefer walking in the woods. If I get it, I get it. If I don't, I don't. The trees and sunshine don't mind.