Originally, I wanted this blog to kindasorta center around zen (whatever the hell that means). Secondly, if you have read, skimmed, or even taken in a cursory glance at my "Lost at Sea" post you may have noticed that there was no explicit reference at all to buddhism or zen. However, the following quote from my post is in fact a very explicit reference to buddhism and zen: "…the unwillingness to honestly question the whole of our experience."
I am simply going to point out the three HUGE things here and in no way shape or form am I going to waste my time explaining them (there are plenty and I mean plenty of websites, podcasts, books, pamphlets, tv shows, movies, bathroom wall graffiti, bumper stickers, etc… that do a grand job of expaining the following)
3.The (drumroll please) Whole of Our Experience
Why do these three things even matter? Because I have found (but I could be wrong) that they form the basis for zazen--I have been doing zazen (sitting meditation) somewhat consistently every day for the last 8 months or so (I was mostly inspired to do so by a nice little book called 'Hardcore Zen' by Brad Warner). I don't have much more to say about this here except that it has been quite helpful in breaking or loosening my addiction to mental states such as depression and anxiety and that it is a helluva lot cheaper than medication and therapy.
I'd also like to quickly discuss something that has been bothering me for quite sometime. That being whether or not to vote. I posted a comment on the aforementioned Brad Warner's blog: 'Hardcore Zen' that I was unsure of my decision not to vote in the recent elections. I was hoping that someone could strike me with "the (drumroll again, please) Zen Sword of Clarity". First off, I have since realized that there is no zen sword of clarity*, it just sounds cool, but it is merely a metaphor which is ultimately misleading.
It is like saying there is something out there which will give you the "right" answer. Zazen among many other things has taught me that there is no "right" answer. If you truly think there is a "right" answer then you will consequently be compelled to have to defend and promote the "right" answer, and ultimately attack and eliminate the "wrong" answer. This is, however, an infinite process since it is grounded in duality--mathematics tells us this: if you take a length of say, string and cut it in half and keep cutting it in half there is no end to this process: you will always be left with half of what you just cut!
If we constantly hold on to right and wrong we will always fight and eventually kill each other. Some people believe this is just the way it is, that war will always exist: that we must always fight for what is right. I say this: "Been there, done that. Let's move on." Plus, I really don't like fighting and arguing much less killing and maiming people (to be fair I haven't actually had this experience). Do you?
If you don't, then I suggest we find a way not to do it anymore!!! If you do like it then I'll make a deal with you: if you honestly and sincerely examine why you like it or might like it then I will honestly and sincerely examine why I might like it too (that's right, why I actually might enjoy killing a person--I'm not screwing around--this is serious shit). The only catch is that to be honest about it you constantly have to keep on questioning. But alas, you are probably unwilling to do this sort of thing ( I know I am).
My suspicion is that it is because you actually have the itch of a feeling of intuition that you will find that lo and behold deep down inside you really don't want to fight and kill-- but for some darn reason our reality, their reality, God's reality, reality in general keeps forcing us to--so that in the end you are subject to forces out of your control and let's just accept that and move on, like I said earlier. But wait, we are not really moving on! We are still fighting and fucking each other over--so what is that darn reason why our reality keeps forcing us into these situations?
I firmly believe there is an answer and it is not "right" or "wrong" or even a conventional answer and here is where it gets really strange: the answer is just another question and another and another-- just like the infinite cutting of a string-- and (I am totally going out on a limb here) eventually we stop needing to have an answer…. I think that this conclusion which as you can see is not really a conclusion just doesn't work for most people. We need certainty, we need a conclusion, otherwise we are just lost at sea.
Therefore, in conclusion I will vote in the future. Just probably not for anyone who purports to have answers to our problems. I would also like to make it clear that I am not saying never fight or kill, just be aware and honestly question what it is you are fighting and killing and why--that is all. I sincerely apologize if you now have a headache from reading, skimming, or cursorily glancing at this post. If you now do have a splitting headache may I suggest trying the new and improved Zen Sword of Clarity--they say it works great on headaches.
*just google "manjusri" for the real deal