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August 12, 2014


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One may cultivate faith without dogma. I am rather skeptical of any approach to spiritual awakening (toward the unsurpassed awakening) which shuns this or that tradition or clings with frenetic obsession to such crystallized notions of "one true dharma". It is of merit to have dedication to one's school or wisdom cycle, but i see the essence of the Buddha dharma as not this. I do not grasp too tightly to ritual, scripture and such phenomena, nor do I overlook their relevance. I have expressed this before in other ways but i do not recognize truth as any form or any kind of static state, and the provisional conditions which can be employed to shed the veils of delusion are not themselves the truth though they may be of it. Once settled upon a path of dogma, we lose suppleness and barter ignorance for ignorance. No, to dogma I say "not this", even the dogma of faith.

I've practiced with my Mahayana community for almost 4 years now, and I see exactly the same danger of "joining religion" that I saw in the evangelical Christian community. The monks are very strong on veganism, and I've noticed that those practitioners who have taken the 5 Precepts find themselves subject to the same sexual restrictions that the monks practice--whether or not they are married! BUT...when you confront them directly, which I have on several occasions, they will admit that diet & celibacy have little or nothing to do with enlightenment.

Now, why do I bring this up? Because spiritual attachment or religious "maya" is the most subtle and most dangerous of all the temptations away from awakening. It doesn't reveal the falseness of ego, it builds up the ego, and underlying it is the false view that imitating monks will make you become more Buddha-like, just as in the Christian faith, there's the idea that imitating Jesus will make you more Christlike. Any way I look at it, it's "bompo zen": the zen of self-improvement and religion.

Zenmar, I know the secular zen of atheistic Protestants bugs you...it bugs me too! But there's a wider scope of corruption going on. Do we really need to look any further than the Three Poisons?

What is real Zen? Awakening. How do you get to awakening? Light the fuse. Resolve to see reality *at all costs* The hardest thing that we, who are coming from the Judeo-Christian culture, need to admit is that it's a helluva lot harder to go from grace to will than it is from will to grace. And as our Abbot describes it, Buddhism is inner directed, not other directed. We get the whole load of responsibility for "salvation" dumped back on the shoulders of--let's be honest, since we're talking about pre-awakened human beings--the EGO. This is why, no matter what the practice, simple or diabolically complex, most human beings end up taking the Blue Pill to remain in an enhanced, more "virtuous" version of illusion, rather than taking the Red Pill and risk having their entire world exploded by the bomb that is Zen.

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