Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Conquering Ol' Pointless

I mentioned before that it can be tough to “go against the stream” of society. Let’s be honest, being a Zen Buddhist is hardly what most mothers would choose for their precious offspring:

“Oh yes, she’s doing really well, sitting on her little cushion for an hour nearly every day! The other day, she got to ring the bell which signals the start of zazen, so the Godo must trust her. Another few years, and she might be allowed to lead the chanting. Hours and days of her life, she pours in to it, finally she’s learning to go nowhere and do nothing. We’re so proud.”

Of course, most parents are happy if their children are happy, I don’t mean to imply that all parents want is for their children to be bankers and lawyers. Zen revels in pointlessness, however, and in our culture that’s pretty subversive. We’re used to chasing after something or other. Perhaps if we could make out that we were chasing enlightenment, it might make people feel more comfortable.

“Yeah man, I was just paddling about in No-mind, everything was groovy, thought and body were calm, posture was good, then out of nowhere comes this big mother of a kensho, man this baby was ripping apart all concepts, beliefs were being eaten up like sardines at a shark disco! I tell you, it was goddamned satori, nothing more nothing less. It was all I could do to cling on and ride that sucker out to the edges of my existence. What a damned rush!”

Sigh. But it doesn’t really happen like that. There is only one consolation, though as soon as I say it I’m in danger of saying too much: zazen makes things better, for me, and for those who deal with me. I don’t know how, I don’t know why. It just does. I hear sirens in the distance….the Zen police are coming for me. Until next time, Zen fans.

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