Monday, 7 May 2012

Kapwing! Saving All Beings! Kapow!

In being Buddhists and particularly Zen ones, part of our modus operandi is about saving all those sentient beings. Or perhaps realising that they are inherently saved anyway. This is quite a weighty proposition for a person whose normal level of responsibility lies in buying in the pastries on Sunday mornings, and ensuring that he wears matching shoes. Well, pretty much. I have tried being an ironic Buddhist, that's to say one who is cool with the idea but doesn't feel the need to do anything about it. It is not an approach that works for me, as I have come to realise that I am a person who likes to be involved, which is quite a shock. The taking of the Bodhisattvas Vows is in some ways a dumb idea: what does it matter to the Universe if you make some sort of promise and get given a mini-robe thing? It doesn't, not one jot. On the other hand, intention is all. Sometimes doing a dumb thing is just what is needed. Sometimes we just have to allow ourselves to be fooled: not all the time, I'm not suggesting we should give up our intelligence, or our reasoning. On the other hand, it's too easy for us to keep our cool-hipster ironic stance on things, whereby we observe and hang back, and comment, but don' t throw ourselves in.Much of our culture is geared towards keeping us at a distance from life. Rituals, oaths, promises: these things confound the normal hands-off approach: "I'm going to do this thing even if I look silly, and turn out to be foolish in my aspirations." This is a leap towards openness. It's my turn to jump, silly rakusu robe and all, into this ridiculous world of vow where I pretend to be Superman, to master teachings and encounter Buddhas and save all beings, and join the ranks of those nonsensical folks from ages past and present who have done the same. Here I come!


David Musgrove said...

congratulations on your decision. best wishes for you.

be well,

Nick said...

Thanks man! Geez, sorry for all the danged typos...blogging before bed is not advisable...