Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Meanwhile, in a Pakistani McMansion...
...this happened. And immediately, in what some of its members pride as and loudly proclaim to be "a Christian nation," whooping and partying commenced. This despite Proverbs 24:17 instructing the faithful against such displays. This is to say nothing of Jesus' words in Matthew 5:43-48 commanding his followers to love their enemies. Really a central tenet of Jesus' teachings there... of his philosophy as Dubya would have it. I've had a longstanding fantasy of getting the chance to ask the former president one question in front of a televised national audience, quoting the abovementioned passage from the writings of his favorite philosopher, and asking whether he loved Osama bin Laden, with all his heart, as his accepted personal lord and savior commanded.
Aww, the Bible is such a buzzkill maaaan! We just want to rejoice in an act of vengeance. I'm sure Jesus would understand just this once. We can consider this one person not entirely human, beneath the worthiness of our compassion and deserving only of painful death. We can argue that he was a threat to us, to people around the world, and to our way of life. We can make all the justifications in the world, and never stop to wonder what justifications he made to be okay with his acts of terrorism, whether maybe they were all too similar. Never stop to think that maybe killing the killers does not make for less killing. Never stop to wonder whether there are bad people, or just people who do bad things with the best of intentions; because good people never do bad things, just look at the Millgram Experiment, or the Stanford Prison Experiment. Fighting fire with fire works, right? It doesn't just make for twice as much fire. Arguing by word or deed in favor of justifying murder in cases where it is expedient or even just especially satisfying couldn't possibly lead to more murder in the long run, now could it?
You can tell my level of indignation, at any point in time, by the shrillness of my sarcasm.
This is where I had planned to say more about the idea of America as a Christian nation, basically how it's so much easier to say than to live, and from there segue into some other stuff I find interesting... but I lost the link to the article that spurred my thinking in that direction, and this post has been growing stale while I fruitlessly searched for it. So I'll skip to the next bit and be done.
Meanwhile, in an Alternate Cognitive Dimension...
...this happened. Shortly after the news of Osama's demise, timed as it was so soon after the release of Obama's birth certificate, people began posting on Facebook demanding to see "the long-form death certificate." Once again, we see the impossibility of satire in the internet age, its inability no matter how hyperbolic to keep ahead of the sincere crazies.
So, Andrew Brietbart wants to see the body for himself, possibly lick it to verify its authenticity, as every free American has a right to do. Only in this way can we verify it legally, to see if he is morally, ethically, physically, spiritually, positively, absolutely, undeniably and reliably dead.
Now, I will try to refrain from the obvious mental munchkin joke (oops, didn't try hard enough), but if we were able to prove to Brietbart that Bin Laden is not only neatly dead, but really quite completely dead... would he offer President Obama a lollipop?
"You live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality, but you do not know it. When you understand this, you will see that you are nothing. And being nothing, you are everything. That is all."
Surrender Boldly to What?
Surrender Boldly to Whatever
Surrender Boldly to What Is So
Surrender Boldly to Whatever Is So
Surrender Boldly to What Is So: It
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May
Surrender Boldly to Whatever Is So-- It May Not
Surrender Boldly to Whatever Is So-- It May Be
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty
(Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Be Pretty)
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty Yet
Surrender Boldly to Whatever Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Path
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Only Path
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Path to Beauty
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Only Path to Beauty
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Path to True Beauty
Surrender Boldly to What Is So-- It May Not Be Pretty, Yet it Is the Only Path to True Beauty
Surrender Boldly to Whatever Is So
Friday, April 22, 2011
The coffee shop where I am now has a sticker in the bathroom advertising a website called Le Ninja. Leninja.com. The sticker has a silhouette of a guy doing a martial arts pose and everything. But every time I see it I like to imagine that it is actually promoting a Teutonic retro-Communist site:
...keeping the posts short, quick and dirty, and publishing them right away with minimal revision. So I don't have time to get bogged down in second-guessing.
The Vision Thing
"If you think you will get something from practicing zazen, already you are involved in impure practice. It is alright to say there is practice, and there is enlightenment, but we should not be caught by the statement. You should not be tainted by it. When you practice zazen, just practice zazen. If enlightenment comes, it just comes. We should not attach to the attainment. The true quality of zazen is always there, even if you are not aware of it, so forget all about what you may think you may have gained from it. Just do it. The quality of zazen will express itself; then you will have it."
-Shunryu Suzuki, "Zen Mind, Beginners Mind"
"If you hope to bring meditation into your life in any kind of long-term, committed way, you will need a vision that is truly your own--one that is deep and tenacious and that lies close to the core of who you believe yourself to be, what you value in your life, and where you see yourself going. Only the strength of such a dynamic vision and the motivation from which it springs can possibly keep you on this path year in and year out, with a willingness to practice every day and to bring mindfulness to bear on whatever is happening, to open to whatever is perceived, and to let it point to where the holding is and where the letting go and the growing need to happen."
-Jon Kabat-Zinn, "Wherever You Go There You Are"
"People ask what it means to practice zazen with no gaining idea, what kind of effort is necessary for that kind of practice. The answer is: effort to get rid of something extra from our practice. If some extra idea comes, you should try to stop it; you should remain in pure practice. That is the point toward which our effort is directed."
"It won't be sustaining enough to have a quixotic idea of yourself as a meditator, or to hold the opinion that meditation is good for you because it has been good for others, or because Eastern wisdom sounds deep to you, or because you are in the habit of meditating. The vision we are speaking of has to be renewed every day, has to be right out front all the time, because mindfulness itself requires this level of awareness of purpose, of intention. Otherwise, we might as well stay in bed."
“When a gaining idea arises in our practice, it is a sign that our practice is in trouble.”
Dueling gurus! So, is having a Vision necessary for practice, or is it an unnecessary hindrance? Every serious Buddhist teacher I've ever read or heard speak has insisted on the point that Buddhism isn't a set of rules so much as a framework for experiential learning. So, instead of approaching this as a theoretical or philosophical or East vs. West debate, (or trying to find some clever semantic way to reconcile 'vision' with lack of 'gaining idea') I'll just look at my own experience.
And, all respect to Kabat-Zinn, I think Suzuki has the edge here. After reading Kabat-Zinn's chapter on vision and trying out his suggestion of "asking [myself] why [I] meditate or why [I] want to meditate" I found my practice to be scattered and distracted (more so even than usual), to the point where I got frustrated and started skipping days. The question of "why am I doing this?" once brought up slid into "why do I bother?" Bother meditating, bother going to the store, bother getting out of bed.
Clearly there's more there to explore, and sweeping this under the rug is not what I want to be doing. For one thing, if the Enneagram Institute is to be trusted, a sense of overall futility is a hallmark of my personality type. Furthermore, it is a sign to me that I've been isolating myself too much, cutting myself off from social contact that could ground me more in my day-to-day life rather than having me drift off into nihilistic cul-de-sacs.
So to keep up with my practices, separate them from any gaining idea. Practice for its own sake, and trust that any progress will come or not in its own time and way. This includes writing, which is why I've decided on another attempt to revive the ol' 'Bblog. No fanfare this time, no promise of updating more often or any statement of renewed purpose.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Sad Truth
That Dr Pepper, he goes around calling himself a Dr... and he has a PhD and all sure-- but it's in Art History dude doesn't even know CPR! Basic first aid or nothin. Maybe if you were choking to death he could fumble through a halfassed Heimlich, but really in an emergency you'd be better off with Mr. Pibb, he actually dropped out of med school but after he made it through the first year. Now there's a guy can improvise a splint! Like MacGuyver some shit...
Thursday, July 08, 2010
Sweeping Your Butt out of my Bedroom
This afternoon as I swept the dust bunnies out from under my bed for the first time in what
has clearly been far too long a time, I found the end of a Parliament covered in dust
bunnies. I know very few Parliament smokers. Moreover, there's only one person I've ever
allowed to smoke in my apartment, let alone my bedroom. I could have learned to love the
flavor of Schlitz and stale Parliaments in your mouth, my dear, had you ever given me the
opportunity to acquire the taste. But if I were truly the arch-sentimentalist you're always
accusing me of being, I would have saved the butt, or perhaps kissed the end that your lips
had touched before throwing it away. In this round of the eternal struggle between sentiment
and hygiene, however, hygiene carried the day.