Sunday, September 4, 2016

authentic lineage cesspool

[Reuters] Mother Teresa of Calcutta, known as the "saint of the gutters" during her life, was declared a saint of the Roman Catholic Church by Pope Francis on Sunday, fast-tracked to canonization just 19 years after her death.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims packed St. Peter's Square at the Vatican for a service to honor the tiny nun, who worked among the world's neediest in the slums of the Indian city now called Kolkata and become one of the most recognizable faces of the 20th century.
A Nobel peace laureate, her legacy complements Pope Francis's vision of a humble church that strives to serve the poor, and the festivities in her honor are a highlight of his Holy Year of Mercy, which runs until Nov. 8....
Critics say she did little to alleviate the pain of the terminally ill and nothing to tackle the root causes of poverty. Atheist writer Christopher Hitchens made a documentary about her called "Hell's Angel".
She was also accused of trying to convert the destitute in predominantly-Hindu India to Christianity, a charge her mission repeatedly denied.

The bad stuff, the good stuff.

The saints and the rest of us.

How much longing goes into such matters. How much opprobrium. The need for good guys and the need for bad can be heart-rending and hence not easily denied.

Lately, it has occurred to me that not one of the people I know or have known -- the ones who had their authenticity as Zen Buddhist teachers OK'd -- was not touched or inescapably beholden to Eido Tai Shimano, a poseur and thief of some stature lurking behind his robes and accolades. If there is muck from which these latter-day acolytes have arisen -- sometimes to critique Shimano volubly -- was there any denying Shimano's manipulative wiles? They are who they are thanks in part to Shimano's blessing. Yeah, me too, though with fewer of the accolades.

I'm not especially interested in the dust saints kick up that leave others gasping. I am not interested in Hitchens-like alcoholic critiques. There is dust that others are left to choke on... such is the nature of saints.

What I have vaguely wondered of late is whether the 'authentic lineage' Buddhists and Christians might lay claim to was nothing so much as a linking from inescapable corruption to inescapable corruption... each saint benefiting from the laying on of hands from a muck-soaked predecessor. And I don't mean "corruption" as some insult. Corruption is just the way the world goes around and creating or announcing saints or Zen teachers or priests is part of it.

Each saint receives his or her brief from the saint that came before. Each is convinced s/he can purify and not get trapped. Each goes boldly and with good intention into a much-perceived muck. It's a kind thought and it is sometimes attended by kindly deeds ...

But nobody can outflank the muck any more than they can outflank their saintliness and the muck they leave for others.

This is not very well thought out, but I thought I would give it a shot.


  1. I'd say come to the dark side Luke, come to soto... but we've got Zentatsu Richard Bakers little peccadillo. When e-sangha blew up, my teacher pointed out the error of my expectation that buddhists might behave better. Again, can't people proof nothin'.

    1. ..or as Adam taught me approximately after e-sangha blew up (and still remains dead hehe), "Take care of oneself and let the world take care of itself." This may prove to be the best way over these years as far as I had experienced, imho!