Friday, August 5, 2016

a serious silly

Over time, I suppose everyone comes up with personal yardsticks or touchstones for gauging people and events that occur. One of mine, in the realm of spiritual adventure, is this: Steer clear of the gurus and philosophies that lack a sense of humor -- or, more precisely, a sense of humor dipped gently in a batter of common sense.

In this regard, I think the Hindus have probably got the best track record. That's not surprising when you consider that their spiritual adventures are arguably the oldest in the world and they have had plenty of chance to collect the experience and texts that would allow them to smile or ... who knows ... perhaps laugh.

Take Ramakrishna. Sri Ramakrishna was a 19th century guru. Some revered him as an avatar or emanation of the gread god Vishnu. But Ramakrishna was not intent on buying up great swaths of the United States. He didn't wear crowns. He took care of his devotees and gave what he could ... and sometimes whatever he gave had a smile on its face.

There was a time, for example, when Ramakrishna corralled a very devout following and instructed him with some seriousness: Please take the holy texts you revere and put them in a room. Bar the shutters, lock the doors and make dead certain nothing could get in or out of the room.

Wait two days.

Return to the room.

Unlock to doors and windows.

See if anything had changed.

A pretty serious silly, I'd say.

Tokens and talismans, texts and robes, oils and unguents ....


  1. You call that silly? That ain't silly! I'm sillier'n that afore i get outa bed in the mornin'!

  2. I was just sitting on a simple koan because of the huge life expectancies of Japanese and Singaporeans, homicides in these two countries are also the lowest in Asia or even the world. As I sat and I sat, I got brought back to this dilemma of sorts about the 1940s. Before World War 2 there was already the Great Depression, we knew it was suffering back then particularly in the States. What I don't understand - and probably don't need to - is if on one hand we have an entire planet at war, so loads of GIs as young as 18 years old are sent packing to the warfronts, many dying at the bullets of one another, yet like what John Basilone saw when they sent him back to US from Guadalcanal for a propaganda publicity stunt, on one hand there are loads of kids dying at warfronts, on the other hand there are loads of old men and women dancing at ballrooms.

    Why I think in this way is because of Obama's state dinner with Lee of Singapore. Whether in WWII or the ongoing war against ISIS, again we have got loads of young American men some women as well in Iraq, some in Syria, some in Afghanistan, I don't know about Libya or Somalia, but you see these are American boys that are fighting for their lives. Yet there we have it, two state leaders old enough to be grandfathers, enjoying their champagnes.

    It's not confusing, as Genkaku may put it approximately, what scares people is not what's wrong with the world, what scares people is that this planet is perfectly alright.

    American GIs being killed yesterday and today, perfectly alright.

    Presidents and Prime Ministers enjoying a nice dinner in near perfect comfort, again perfectly alright.

    What is funnier, is when suffering itself is also perfectly alright. In the past I couldn't sit because the suffering was unbearable as an angry youth.

    Today, I wonder how to sit when suffering is perfectly alright :)