Another salvo on behalf of New York Times writer Mark Oppenheimer's "The Zen Predator of the Upper East Side" has been fired at The New Republic magazine.
Mark's long essay/short book on the malefactions of Eido Tai Shimano has received some applause in my email box, but that's hardly surprising since I have not made a secret of my own leanings. In fact, those leanings incline me to listen to the opinions of others ... I sit too close to the fire of events to trust my own reactions.
In general, I do like it when there is some push-back, some counter-balance when a thing or thought process or philosophy or religion gains too much applauded status. Zen Buddhism may be a very good practice, but its goodness can, and often is, overstated by half. Similarly, as with Mark's efforts, its thorns and corruptions can be, and often are, overstated by half.
Either way -- and I mean that literally -- I think Zen practice comes out a winner. Not a winner by praise and not a winner by blame, but a winner as one possible choice in a life seeking to calm the waves, straighten things out, and find a little peace.
I do have to admit, though, that I cringe and growl when those who praise and 'protect' it use Zen as a means of elevating -- in oh-so-wise-and-compassionate ways -- their own oleaginous and drooling stock.
But that's just my schtick.
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