Sunday, May 4, 2014

"spreading the Dharma"

I'm not against it ... just noticing ....

Elsewhere I was reading about an effort on behalf of a new Zen Center. Soliciting money and interest ... the usual.

But there were words and phrasing that seemed to catch my eye: "With a contemporary perspective and old-school rigor..."; "a unique blend"; "We aspire to develop an energizing and inventive training center that will be creative, edgy and fun."

This morning, two people are planning to come here to do a little zazen. Around here, that's a throng. One is a fellow who came here years ago and then moved on with his life. The other is a relative new-comer. There are enough cushions for both of them and me into the bargain. But when I try to apply peppy descriptions of what we will do for a little while this morning, I fall back, needlessly exhausted.

A contemporary perspective ... old school rigor ... a unique blend ... inventive training center ... edgy and fun. There are people who actually believe in "spreading the Dharma," and perhaps there is something to be said for it. Deeeeep meaning! A guy's gotta eat, I suppose. But saying something for it just doesn't seem to be saying much from where I sit. As I say, I'm not against it. Go ahead -- knock yourself out. It just reminds me of the old horny enthusiasm that was once expressed as:
Hubba! Hubba!
Ding! Ding!
Baby, you've got
From one point of view, the guys who are coming here to sit today got out of bed. It took some rigor, I imagine, and it certainly was unique without any help from a silly observer like me. Did they need help? I don't know, but I imagine that if they did, they asked for it. Were/are their lives an average mix of ups and downs, sorrows and joys, tears and laughter? I imagine so. It's not exactly a new story, even if it is unique.

Oh well -- the sun is shining, the sky is blue and there are probably a zillion good reasons for creating and maintaining something called a Zen center... something bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, something top-heavy with its own "compassion;" something ... "good." And lord knows I think meditation practice or zazen makes some very good sense. I hope the center works out.

I am happy to practice zazen, but spreading the Dharma is miles beyond my (or anyone else's) capacity.

Contemporary? Unique? Edgy and fun?

Get real!

PS. And as I was writing the above, quite serendipitously and without my being aware of it, the following bit of humor arrived in email:
Ten signs of an unhealthy attachment to Zen:
1) "I just can't help myself, zafus turn me on!"
2) "I always bring up the Dharma when it's even remotely relevant to what we're talking about. 'Another commercial!' "All things are impermanent.'"
3) "Zen has made my life better than I thought it ever could be. Zen has chased all the clouds away. Zen gives me the strength to make my bed."
4) "We are all love. The meaning of life is to love everyone unconditionally. I should only speak kind words, and write my unkind ones in my journal."
5) "I should never judge anyone, except for other Dharma students who misinterpret scripture. Jeese, what idiots!"
6) "I sit zazen for ten hours a day. I've gotta get that enlightenment. Everything will be so much better after I get enlightened. I can even stop counting carbs!"
7) "I think I'm Maitreya."
8) "'Do you wanna go for a walk?' "No thanks, I've got to memorize the Twelve Nidanas.'"
9) "I can't have any opinions or views. Views are un-Zen."
10) "I don't exist."


  1. Zen makes me tired, it's as relentless as my monkey.

  2. Oh, come on! You know you really want to place a bid for a piece of Nonin Chowaney’s powerful Zen calligraphy. Empty those pockets for the dharma.