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July 26, 2015

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Susan what you describe does seem tedious. I often find myself thinking buddhist organizations do more harm than good which is why I steer clear of them. Maybe for some people it makes sense, I don't know. As for me it is not about adopting a lifestyle but cutting off desire. Buddha said in the nirvana sutra it was hard to explain, but it's just better not to rely on meat. Not to be a pendant, but I think he understood how this question is difficult. I didn't/couldn't just keep on devouring other beings. That' how i live now. I'll actually eat fish once in while or a single bite of chicken or if I'm really sick or something but I don't like it (and make no claim to be anyone's role model). But the same goes for alcohol, which I haven't had much taste for a long time. I avoid drugs too. I guess I just felt how strong these kinds of habits lead to an unfortunate condition, and it was a joy to give them up.

n. yeti: Maybe sometime in the past I got upset with you replying to a post of mine--don't remember when. We've both been on this site a long time. My intention was to write an encouraging letter to the Zennist. Of course he's a teacher of Zen! He's probably read and thought about more sutras than my double-Phd. Chinese-American abbot. Whether either of these guys are bodhisattvas are anybody's guess. Technically, bodhisattvas, as well as being awakened themselves, have the ability to lead others to awaken. However, what he's doing here is definitely a bodhisattvic activity: it is a generous sharing of his understanding of the Dharma. It takes time, money and effort, and it doesn't profit him in any way.

If I could see any reason for surviving on carbs and leaves, I could be vegetarian, no problem. It works well for you & others, and that's good. However, here in the USA it's gone the "precious" route. There exists, in fact, no simple vegetarianism. Now the "real" or "pure" vegetarian is a cultist: non-GMO, non egg & milk, "natural", anti-additive, gluten-free vegan. I'm simply not getting involved in that socio-political nest of worms. It's another food game, just like Paleo or raw-food. I'm not a monk--I won't eat like a monk. If others want to, fine. I like meat. But I eat meat-mostly chicken-for one simple reason: 5 hours between meals. Vegan meals are okay, but cause bloat and wear off after 2 1/2 hours. When our vegans get together for potlucks, what do they bring? Mostly gooey sweets. The rest of the world probably thinks we've gone nuts, thinking "Gee, I wish I had meat available every day like the Americans do!"

Anyway, the garden visitor birds & animals aren't afraid of me or my husband either. (Except for the lizards!) At present I have 3 goldfish, 3 Bettas, one official cat, & a stray cat I feed. I'm afraid that we all enjoy being carnivores--or rather omnivores-- together.

Susan,

You got upset at me before for replying to you, but i will try again as what you say actually resonates with me, and I want to just voice my encouragement. No criticism implied, ok?

First I don't get too hung up on the teacher thing. Zennist has had some profound realizations, but we are all, ultimately our own guides through ignorance. I think he has made it clear the path he took was one of solitary inquiry and meditation -- something that I also practice. So he has been very helpful, but i disagree with much of what he says, and see him more as a bodhisattva (as we all can be) rather than strictly speaking a teacher. If he has taught people something, great, but his role as "teacher" seems to be different than what is conventionally presented in the zen/ch'an world.

Second, I was very attached to the idea of not being vegan, so no judgement from me! Now that I have abandoned meat, not only do I feel better, my mind is clearer and not even the fire ants sting, and animals don't seem to fear me. It has been interesting to see the outer world transform with the inner world. Have you tried eating less meat if you don't want to give it up altogether? Eventually it is a gift to oneself, but like I said, it took me a long time to appreciate that.

Anyway none of my beeswax. Good luck on your path!

Look, I have sympathy for you but you're making the mistake of getting attached to results. Your job, as a teacher of Zen, is to put the Dharma out here to the best of your ability. Some will receive it with rejoicing, and others will-with more or less consciousness-resist it unto death. However, even with the MOST resistant and completely oblivious individuals (IMHO those immersed in the murky depths of second-hand "spirituality") you are doing YOUR job. They ARE getting exposed. And, sooner or later, in this life or the next or hundreds of years in the future, that little "virus" of the Dharma will invade the system and all the BS that's being carried around will be recognized as it really is: a distraction or temptation away from truth & reality. Ultimately, that's what I have faith in. When people are happy and successful in life...it's actually harder to change. Who knows what you will lose by taking practice seriously? Probably everything! Including your ego! Can the "rich man get to the kingdom" any more than a camel go through the needle's eye? And, here in the USA--let's face it!--we're ALL rich! We all have lives full of useless crap that we just want to hang onto.

So you nailed it: the non-believers are going to have "fun with religion" while enjoying their sense of superiority over the superstitious masses. They'll adopt the "seeker" mentality & screech to a halt as far as change is concerned.

But let's look at the "cart before horse situation." I get idolatry thrown in my face every day of the week: "you must make vows...take precepts...be a vegan." This from people who can't pass a statue without bowing to it. Isn't THAT idolatry? That's the situation the Westerner lands in when they're involved in Chinese Zen (Chan.) And that's what makes it all the more difficult for us.

What I figure is this: If you're seriously dissatisfied with life, it will take hold. And if you're contented and well-off, you'll eventually get interested in something else. But you will still have been exposed!

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