We humans have certainly, throughout history, proven our ability to make a good situation worse, turn peace into war, wealth into poverty, and wisdom into foolishness. And when we have some leisure left we waste it upon the trivial, not caring about looking within for true reality which has been shrouded over by our many mistakes.
The Buddha put it well when in the Dhammapada he said, “You who are shrouded in darkness, why do you not seek the light?” (146) Perhaps the reason is that it takes a long time to seek the animative spiritual light, the kind the Buddha sought when he was only a Bodhisattva. It is much easier just to seek food, find a mate, procreate then die and hope there is nothing further (certainly not rebirth).
I dare say the human tendency will be always to bring to ruin that which is the highest and most noble while, at the same time, entirely ignoring the spiritual side—to smother it to death. And if by chance we cannot kill it, we will make sure that we dumb it down, sufficiently, so that it ends up becoming quite mundane—maybe just a matter of living in the here and the now while still doing all the things we ever wanted to do.
Let’s face it, most of us are degenerate having fallen from the physical, mental, and moral standards that we hold to be important.
Soon we reach a point where we either descend into drugs (by physician or by street vendor) or we find a Tony Robbins, a yoga teacher, a Zen center, a Tibetan Lama, or any popular guru. The dirty little secret that we don’t want to hear when we undertake this kind of path, is we are looking for the easy way out—the quick fix. And why are we doing this? We don’t want that part of us to be challenged which is always fucking us over.
In a way, we are trying to protect this fragile little monster inside of us. If our sensei or teacher gets too close to this part of us we don’t want to be revealed or challenged we will find a way to escape. Escape is easy. And our escape mechanisms operate almost at an unconscious level. We have no idea that we really don’t want our fragile little monster to be exorcised! Where would we be without it?
Over the years, watching people interested in Zen Buddhism come and go I also watched Zen Buddhism change in an effort to try and accommodate itself to people who didn’t want to have that part of themselves challenged which is fucking them over. I can’t do anything about that except stay out of the way of such people.
Now here is a warning. We are at a period in human history where we can no longer afford to pity our fragile little inner monster becoming like a helicopter parent always making sure it is protected; that it won’t be confronted lest it is forced (painfully so) to pull itself up by its own bootstraps.