Thursday, December 18, 2014

blue sky and the maw of mediocrity

Skitter-skattering mind lays out a tray of hors oeuvres:

-- In spiritual life, there is always one more thing to forget. It may sound cruel or difficult or frightening, but I have a hunch it is pretty simple: There is just one more thing to forget.

-- The longing to be good and kind and understanding, especially when collected together with a similar longing in others, requires a bit of steel. Without personal responsibility, mediocrity and cruelty are bound to have their say and make a mockery of goodness, kindness, and understanding. This is no fucking joke.
A New Zealander and two Burmese men have gone on trial in Myanmar on charges of insulting Buddhism.
The trio, who run a bar in Yangon, are accused over a flyer promoting a drinks event depicting Buddha with headphones.
The image triggered an angry response online shortly after it appeared on the bar's Facebook page.
Burmese law makes it illegal to insult or damage any religion. Myanmar, also known as Burma, has also seen growing Buddhist nationalism.

In the United States and elsewhere,
(Reuters) - Sony Pictures has canceled the release of a comedy on the fictional assassination of North Korea's leader, in what appears to be an unprecedented victory for Pyongyang and its abilities to wage cyber-warfare.
Hackers who said they were incensed by the film attacked Sony Corp (6758.T) last month, leaking documents that drew global headlines and distributing unreleased films on the Internet.
No one gets to insult the great leader, Gautama (the Buddha)! No one gets to laugh at the celestial heights imagined for North Korean president Kim Jong-Un. The beneficence and decency of these men and what they represent to some is beyond reproach and deserves to be observed by all.

It is comforting to be part of a group that has its ducks lined up, its philosophies chiseled out, its deviations decried. And what is true socially is likewise true in the mind. The goodness is extolled and the potential for corruption is dismissed or worse. How many times has any Buddhist heard someone say they must "defend the Dharma?"

This hard-headed appreciation of what is loved is par for the course as far as I can see. With luck, the blood-letting of goodness will be minimized. But what interests me is the personal willingness to shoulder the responsibility that goes with what is praised. What is praised is often wide as the sky and yet treated as if it were narrow as the eye of a needle.

Who will take the responsibility for the very simple observation that people (and this assuredly includes me) fuck up. They may do so on behalf of goodness and they may do so on behalf of evil. Either way, they fuck up.

Without taking responsibility for the errors that arise, how is anyone to sift out the miraculousness of any personal or social goodness? Where the arms might spread wide, how fruitful is living within the confines of narrowed definitions and rules?

It may be tricky and it may be hard, but I simply cannot think of another more appropriate encouragement than that from Gautama: "It is not what others do and do not do that is my concern. It is what I do and do not do -- that is my concern." This is not a call for mindless, mediocre self-centeredness. It points to what anyone can actually do anything about when it comes to the feeling that mediocrity is not enough.

Agreements with others are pleasant.

But when will a (wo)man see fit to agree with her- or himself?

1 comment:

  1. If the boss don't have a sense of humor, get a new one. Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke.