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February 18, 2014


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This is a brilliant post for its simplicity and honesty, and it does seem to describe what is going on quite accurately.

Western Zen is likely the best thing Zen has going, in so far as Asian Zen seems to be limited to some basic perspectives on life and the wedding/funeral business. Even so, it seems that the Western mind is not content with Buddha's teachings, much less the hard path of early Zen, which is so different than today's mellow and comfortable sitting practice.

Perhaps it is because well meaning teachers over time have offered a kind of half-way point between material psychology and the true mystical nature of Buddhism, in order to soften the teachings or make them more acceptable in today's world of total obscuration and obsession with logic, profit, and appearances.

But for whatever the reason, it seems that today when people encounter the perplexities of the sutras and have trouble understanding spirituality beyond any material dimension, they choose to convince themselves they can perhaps add a little Zen in between their aerobics class and masters of business program, hoping to achieve equinamity, but all the while failing to recognize the ever-tighter entanglements of the skandhas and material existence, which Buddhism has always exposed as a false (conditioned) reality, and not true in the ultimate sense.

The mystical nature of Zen is thereby watered down and presented as an optional feature, on par with believing in ritual if you want, but not really making the profound leap to understanding Zen as something beyond all that, neither separate, nor really part of the world of the six senses, nor something to be grasped in mind as an intellectual object. At least this is how it appears to me.

It is a difficult conundrum, but perhaps over time, some will begin to perceive how little Zen has to do with psychology and bettering our golf scores. It never hurts to keep reminding them.

My master told me;

"There are worldlings, demons-to-be, that claim the born is a body of truth and should be revered as such. I tell you here and now, nothing born, subject to pain and suffering, can find peace in a burning house. To worldlings, although this is a house of lies, they call it truth.

Avoid such sentients until your path is complete."

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