Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I have apparently been alone in wanting my daily life to have the quality of life that one finds in a monastic setting. At least, alone recently, since this notion comes to me not from speculation but, rather, from experience: once through Roman Catholicism (in a "formation house", where individuals considering the priesthood lived together in anticipation of their vocation) and once in a Soto Zen Priory.
I have never wanted any other form of life, and know this again from experience: in the 70s, enjoying the fruits not only of having had a high paying communications job in the arctic but also the profit from some rewarding investments ... all this on top of the good salary from a responsible position with this country's national broadcaster (CBC Radio); no joy ... lovely home, vehicle, clothes, diet, entertainment, travel ... no joy.
Having raised 5 kids in the hills of glorious Cape Breton, I know the splendour of the lord in his manor house ... but no joy.
Without suggesting that a practice environment is for everyone, I can help but wonder aloud why and how it is that this situation seems to be available /to nobody/! I have, for these decades muttered (under my breath, most times) that a world without communal living would be the death of me. Well, things have come to pass where this may be the case. After 11 years on disability, I am not so empoverished as to be in continuous suffering (though the short rations do damage quite on their own), but I'm vulnerable to situation ... and without a communal instinct, the world is one of "devil take the hindmost".
Is nuclear family and rugged invidualism the only expression of dharmic life? Is the only alternative traditional monasticism? Have we not learned that /beyond independence is _interdependence_/? Can we pretend that this small planet will support billions of splendid individuals? /Who/, I ask, can dissolve the chimera of individualism if not engaged buddhist?!
At 49, with bad feet, after a pretty hard path, I'm looking at the prospect of homelessness. Let there be no talk of sane society or compassion here: what I see is self-serving cant and hypocrisy, just the sort of thing that one would expect from a souless cult. Is that what we really have? Isn't seeing things as they really are a key principle? Is the Buddhist project motivated only by personality politics?
Perhaps I am alone in seeing the great good of living communally according to a set of fine principles such as those offered as abhidharma ... but I can't believe that to be so. And those others who feel as I do, shall they as well be drowned in an ocean of egoistic consumerism?
Saturday, October 20, 2007
It comes down to this: not only what we do, but how we do it. Ultimately, "why" becomes the point. (Which is another way of saying that in the end our actual motive manifests ... it comes to be ... it creates karma.)
The number of "errancy modes" is beyond estimation. Either our motive is some variation of "for the good of all sentient beings" or it's in error. Necessarily. Inexorably. Like physics. You can fly, for a while, in any number of ways, but you will come down at some point.
Gain, or resentment ... passion or aggression ... both entail solidifying concepts, and that puts a spin on things that works out badly because it's out of synch with ?what? ... heh ... the ultimate nature of reality.
If I humble myself and act as a modestly self-interested drone then, well, I end up empowering and enabling the worst oligarch. My web of denial and willful ignorance fosters the worst lies and shelters the worst psychopaths. If, otherwise, I act more assertively and drive for my own fortune and wealth with all the creativity that ambition gives rise to ... well, what then?
Prajna is our very natural intuition concerning what's not "right" ... it can be honed and tuned and nurtured, or it can be muted and dumbed down. When I act deceptively, or act as though unaware of some deception, I detune myself. And more: I encourage others to become as though objects. And in the end my activity obstructs those with the best of intentions. Step by step, day in and day out, I make myself into an agent of entropy. How can I expect any sense of well-being from that? That mode of being is simply unwholesome; it creates conditions quite opposite to "profound relaxation".
It's bodhicitta or it's dis-ease ... there is no way of escaping reality.
Do not choose a coward's explanation*thanks to LJUser barrygraham for the quote*
That hides behind the cause and the effect.
-- Leonard Cohen
Saturday, March 31, 2007
How stupid is google's treatment of blogspot/blogger? (Of course you think I'm kidding ... likely you haven't had a serious thought in your entire life!) How about this: I "upgraded" this template. Immediate consequence? The Profile "widget" SHOUTS MY NAME AND ADDRESS. That's dumb. What's dumber? There's no title on this Post Edit form. No title. On a blog post form.
Earn your money from google? You're contributing to the collapse of western civilization. Yes, of course you think I'm kidding ... or delusional.
"Tell a fool he's foolish and likely he'll call you a fool."
Title: Blog Claim