“The Buddha remained silent when asked these fourteen questions. He described them as a net and refused to be drawn into such a net of theories, speculations, and dogmas. He said that it was because he was free of bondage to all theories and dogmas that he had attained liberation. Such speculations, he said, are attended by fever, unease, bewilderment, and suffering, and it is by freeing oneself of them that one achieves liberation.” Taken from Wikipedia.
If asked what type of Buddhist I am now, I will answer Zen, but if asked which Buddhist dogma I know about and the answer is Theravada – I am in transition. So when Brad Warner talks about the existence of life here, I immediately react by saying that the Buddha considered it an unanswered question. In the above wiki quote, which I find consistent with what I have studied, it basically says that the question doesn’t lead anywhere, is headbanging and doesn’t help. Perhaps zen takes a different view. Consider koans, they are headbanging. And they lead somewhere in the sense that they unhinge the intellectual mind allowing truth in. Would zen consider the unanswered questions in a similar vein – “koanic”? I would like help in resolving this issue of zen and the unanswered questions.
One important point about unanswered questions is that they can never be proven, and to accept one or other theory or dogma concerning any unanswered questions means accepting something that cannot be proven. In the Kalama sutta, a Theravada sutta – is it accepted by zen/Mahayana?, the Buddha says you have to know for yourself – that is the proof. For me this sutta was important in considering all the discussion of reincarnation. How can I prove reincarnation? I don’t accept it, many Theravadans do – amongst others including some Mahayana and zen? Reincarnation is covered by unanswered questions.
Buddhadasa, a now-dead Thai monk, discusses reincarnation when considering consciousness (vinnana) one of the 5 khandas. “In Thailand the Hindu teachings came here first, way before Buddhism came. When the Hindu or Brahmanistic teachings came, they brought this idea, this teaching, of vinnana in the sense of the soul or spirit that inhabited all kinds of things, not just people but trees and rocks – all over the place. All things had this spirit, and when the body died, that thing died, vinnana would go to be reincarnated. This is a Hindu teaching which existed in Thailand long before Buddhism came, and it was very firmly and deeply implanted in the Thai religious culture. So later when Buddhism came, everybody already had this Hindu understanding of vinnana, and so many people have been unable over the centuries to understand the Buddhist teaching of vinnana. It must be understood in light of the central teaching of Buddhism, anatta, that is that in life there is no self, no soul and no spirit in the Hindu sense; Buddhism denies that there is any such thing (self, soul or spirit),” [here and scroll]. He considers Thai belief in reincarnation as Hindu, and as many of the western Theravada monks have trained in Thailand – Forest Sangha, this “Thai-Hindu” thing has become a Theravada thing.
So to life as an “unanswered question”. Buddhadasa uses a device to examine the suttas in which he talks of truth and relative truth (truth in daily life). With regards to life I try to understand it in a similar vein. There is Unity, One life that I often refer to as Gaia; I specify that Gaia is not just the ecology of earth but Gaia includes all lives (relative) including humans. We are all One. In description of life there is a theosophist phrase that Annie Besant uses that “there is consciousness in every atom”, similar to the Hindu view of vinnana. Every atom is part of Gaia. Because of the schism of knowledge into religion and science I feel science rarely has anything to offer on such matters. Whilst science demands proof as discussed above with the Kalama sutta, science does not accept subjective experience and the empirical proof of meditation. However in this case (quoted in Brad’s blog) the scientist has come up with an interesting comparison. “Consciousness resides … in the microtubules of the brain cells, which are the primary sites of quantum processing.” Without getting into the question of mind and brain, this is similar to what Annie Besant says. However it would have to be if we accept the universal description of life as Gaia.
As to relative truth this is more the question that Brad is asking. The relative truth says that Brad and I are different lives – separate beings. Then there is life animals, bacteria, microbes and other small stuff. The smaller you go the harder it is to establish the meaning of life, but as the universal truth of Gaia there is no separation, no unity, only One life – and all is alive “universally” but not relatively.
Science works on an unwritten axiom, and acceptance of this axiom leads to many of the problems to do with the separation of scientific knowledge from other knowledge – such as insight or zen. That axiom is that we are separate beings as opposed to the Unity – Gaia. Science does not see ant but separate ants and wonders how they communicate. But as part of Gaia there is no need for such an explanation. In Brad’s blog the quoted science has all subscribed to axiom of separation, and so can only determine definitions and conclusions within the realm of relative truth.
With universal truth of Gaia Unity or ONE planet there is no need to be confused by that – there is existence of ONE life.
No blogs since 14th March but writing on website.
New project – reading Pirsig and writing my retrospective reflections.
And this week I have tidied up Wai Zandtao leading to my working on Sannadee.
I am totally enamoured with Brad’s style – despite the political issues, his style typified in this post on enlightenment and virginity. In his talk on sin sex and zen in “some Brad stuff” the manner in which he discussed the dharma was human – as opposed to what might be called sanctimonious dogma. OK, that’s an exaggeration, probably unfair, and is against this Dogen Sangha precept:-
but still …. I haven’t retracted it.
This post is going to be too arrogant so I will take my time before putting it up. I have spent my retirement time looking at Theravada, and it has been a great help – no doubts. Coming to terms with all the dogma has helped understanding but of course it has fed my intellect – and I am too intellectual. Too full of ideas, stick too much to idea sets – even sticking to realisation sets that are past their sell-by-date.
In searching for the esoteric I have determined that appears to be an answer. To be fair to my underlying dharma I have spent much of my time with the intellectuals arguing for insight, and have had some nasty encounters with intellectuals because of this. Brad just sits there and says zazen is finding intuition – no mu, no jhanas, just experiences and intuition. Intuition – a fine word by me.
My first monastery attendance amuses me with irony now. I applied to the guest monk who normally asked for a stay of a few days. For some reason I could only stay overnight and he was kind enough. I have no recollection as to why in a Summer break of maybe 6 weeks or more I could only stay one night but that was it. I had a litmus test, and in the middle of the night there they were, the guys, the muse, the visual vibrations that I associated with experience – that I now relate to or the innate dharma from this Dogen quote:-
“Consequently, those who sit in meditation will, beyond doubt, drop off body and mind, and cut themselves free from their previous confused and defiling thoughts and opinions in order to personally realize what the innate Dharma of the Buddha is” Shobogenzo[p35].
In the morning before I left the guest monk asked whether I had got anything, and I was so pleased to tell him that the guys had visited me – and that I had got it. He was polite, I don’t think he’d got the guys, but that monastery was my spiritual home in the UK.
Over the years I associated with Theravada I don’t know how many of the monks got the insight, I think they got the lifestyle. In the lifestyle there was freedom from wage-slavery and steady sustenance, there was study and learning from senior monks, and there was meditation. For many the routine of meditation controlled their lives, gave them insight, but – here comes the arrogance – some might not have realised the importance of insight – maybe it just came with the package. Some monks repeat the dogma, have touched the insight, and gained from it, yet have not released the intellect or the need for faith – continuing to accept the idea set of dogma, maybe seeing this as the source of the insight. Other monks will have got it, the experience, , but they are caught in the lifestyle, the institution, and accept the experiences within those parameters. To be clear the lifestyle can confuse meditation, dogma and insight, how much does this matter? For the monks probably not but for me it is the insight and not the lifestyle that matters, and that insight is not from a lifestyle but from meditation and understanding. When it is confused it allows intellectual proliferation however, something that Theravada has in abundance.
Where in Theravada is ? I cannot answer that except for one person – Buddhadasa.
And here again is his quote from the Ariya Sacca that reinforced my jump to Zen:-
“For example Theravada Buddhism is very straightforward, and is kept within certain fairly strict limits. People who don’t have enough intelligence and wisdom are unable to understand the Theravada teachings properly. Mahayana has tried to open everything up and simplify things so that even foolish people (old grandmothers in the street the ordinary man in the road) can have access to Buddhism with the idea that Mahayana, being the great vehicle, can take even the foolish people along. And then in Zen. Zen knows it’s never going to work, and narrowed it down and made it an exclusive refined teaching for only the most intelligent people. If one isn’t very sharp and clever, one can never figure out Zen Buddhism. It is the most direct teaching but it’s also only for the most intelligent. In Vajrayana, in all those things – tantra and all that, they have kind of packaged the teachings in the most attractive, most colourful, most enticing and interesting way. So you’ve got basic approaches to presenting Buddhism, the direct approach, the big approach, the quick and fast approach and the attractive approach, but even though there are these distinctions, all of these come to the same point – to the same fact, which is “removing attachment from the 5 khandas.” Ariya Sacca.
I so much like Brad’s minimalising of the mu effect – the experience. It reminds me of Jim Carrey’s excess, I hope he is still effusive but I don’t know. The experience does not bring with it sila I am ashamed to admit. It was only when I began meditating regularly that sila was added – and it has been a virtual bone of contention with Openhand – who seem good people to me.
I have a question. Meditating old-style on sila or the 4 brahma-viharas was beneficial, I feel it suffused me with their attributes. Zazen doesn’t do this focus on a “concept” leading to suffusion, do zen monks do this sort of meditation sometimes? Should I introduce it?
I liked Brad’s comparison with virginity, I do not however remember my own the same way. I was young and stupid – and very lucky on that day. After the drunken night when the “loss” happened, the next day I must have been exuding a glow because others spotted the breaking of the duck – I responded with typically chauvinist cameraderie. I am ashamed of the details but I can remember later an encounter with the lady concerned with a new boyfriend – and he glared but was good enough to leave it at that. I apologise to the lady in the comments and all the women who have suffered from the ignorance that is male sexual development in the West. If my then friends were anything to judge by, their own breaking of the duck might also have left other women with regret. I never had serious sila until 20 years or more after my first “bells and banjos”, and I regret this. And there were those with morality I belittled because of arrogance coming with that experience. These belittled probably never had any bells banjoing – still never have, but they do have some sila hard-wired and with whom women never had to hold regret at their losing of virginity.
Diet has struck again. I have put on weight, and this week have had digestive problems that have woken me up. Because of the lungs I have stopped eating raw food, somewhere in my blog I had a raw food phase and concluded 50% raw food. The lungs threw that out of the window, and now I am 10kg over BMI – 5-10kg weight, knew I had a problem and didn’t know why.
I thought the problem might have been fermented foods, and made a token effort with this but the digestive issues waking me up made me get up at 04.00 today and work out what the problem was. Hence this blogentry.
Because of my lungs all my food was cooked, this has been for at least two years. I have taken some probiotics but nowhere near enough. But of course the real issue is salads – raw food, because of the lungs I haven’t had a salad for more than a year.
I have also not taken account of the natural day:-
Snack on nuts.
Just before 17.00 snack. Poached egg. Fish. Fermented with every meal. No rice or tatoes. Drink water before eating. Have papaya or pineapple before the protein. Yoghurt.
Shopping:- plant-based enzyme supplement, salad food.
|Books:- Treatise, Wai Zandtao Scifi, Matriellez Education.
I am confused as to why I stopped zazen last time – and surprisingly I did not blog the decision. First reading of the Dogen Sangha’s precepts definitely shows that morality cannot be the issue – see here [p4]:-
The first thing I looked at when retiring was sila and order link . The rest of the precepts bring sila with them. Maybe it was the 4NT that was why I stopped. On reflective retrospection I did not get from zazen what I am getting now so maybe that was the reason.
Amongst some Brad stuff is a talk on Zen and Politics. Here is a clip.
In this he describes Zen as doing the little things because the bigger things lead to frustration – the frustration that was at the basis of punk rock. Let’s examine this in the context of the 1%. The 1%-system includes the control of change. Colonialism changed to neo-colonialism primarily because maintaining a colonial presence was too expensive – this was before the politics of the MIC and before a shift in economics. Let me try to explain this shift in economics. As ordinary people we understand economics as we pay for something, if we don’t have the money we don’t have – unless we borrow. If we borrow we have to pay back and this is a millstone around our necks. The 1%-system does not work like this. Over time economics has changed, and let’s consider the MIC as an example. War is big business. He amounts of money are spent on war products that creates a flourishing economy in the areas where those products are made. The money for such products come from governments, and that money they argue is taxes but in reality most of it is fiat money – money created. America has a huge amount of debt because of this fiat money that it keeps creating but who do they owe it to? Who is going to make them pay it back? Through the MIC the 1% get vast amounts of money, and the economy ticks over. This is a pack of cards, totally unstable, but where will that instability come from? It requires an awareness of the instability. In 2008 the 1% wanted to control the economy, too many people were getting rich through hedge funds. Through the media the crash was engineered – see the Two Johns for an explanation of these hedge funds and download Money Masters for an analysis of the crash. Much instability was exposed then and since 2008 the gap between rich and poor has increased, to understand the hand of the 1% we have to examine what happens and not what they say; this is now economics. The instability is still endemic in the system whilst the 1% get richer. This is what economics is – a mechanism to make the 1% richer, and not the delusions of the textbooks.
Colonialism changed because policing was not financially effective, it is cheaper to get people to police themselves. In the West this is what we do. We live in the 1%-system, and we accept the benefits of that system; previously in “Am I extreme?“, I have examined how those benefits arise. We collude with all that is wrong. In this audio clip Brad says that Zen deals with the little things and avoids the frustration of the bigger stuff – I surmise because the frustration causes suffering. The little things are part of the 1%-system – they allow you to have small victories to give you the delusion of effecting change. Typically unleaded petrol came in when it was practical for them to make a profit from it, health and safety regulations were first used by unions to make better working situations now they insist on them so profits are made from sticking to the regulations. Whilst winning little things can be beneficial to the winners, in the bigger picture they don’t matter. In the bigger picture Snowden is in exile, Assange is under arrest on trumped up charges, and Manning is in prison for 30 years – all for telling the truth.
So the zen issue is as Brad describes it, (paraphrasing) accept the status quo and work for the little things. Morally this is unacceptable because of all the hurt that is caused by the 1%-system, but can it be accepted because it reduces suffering? In my life I found less frustration by being true to myself, it was frustrating but I was not deluded. I definitely feel this was better for me, would it be better for all? Or is accepting the status quo better, accepting delusion? I do however completely agree with what he says about the speed of change, but I would maintain that if that change grew out of a grassroots movement in which all participants owned the change then the speed would appropriately change.
As for political leadership I feel that spiritual people should lead in spiritual matters only, that is their field of expertise. Brad sees Zen as not being spiritual, that is his decision. However he is not a wage-slave; he chooses what he wants to do, his zen teaching and writing, and hopes he has sufficient money to live. If you have not learnt from the life of being a wage-slave perhaps you are not equipped to understand the struggle, and politics in the 1%-system is fundamentally about controlling the wage-slaves. Can someone not in the struggle lead those who are struggling?
Such people as monks end up advising because they are respected for their spiritual knowledge; some advise about sex when they are celibate!! I have difficulty accepting this but it is up to those concerned.
So where does this leave me? On the question of morality and zen I was confused. On the 4NT that is not zen but there is nothing to say I can’t do them …. so far, and as zazen is helping I continue. I have to work on Dogen’s Shobogenzo whilst continuing with zazen.
This morning I was without direction looking for zen stuff and clicked on this interview between Brad and Nina Hartley . I read through but didn’t study the article; it made me think. This morning I failed in zazen and kept thinking about the article, and gradually came to the realisation that the last time I had tried zazen I had given up because “where is sila?” and “where are the 4NT?” I couldn’t get away from that this morning, and the sitting was over – time up.
I have just reread the interview again, and it was better!! There is so much good sex advice in there that I have grown up with since the 60s, and which needs to be said – I leave aside the feminist discussion for the moment. The older I have got the more I see how peoples’ sexual needs are so different. Reading Nina Hartley I see a woman who appears to know where she wants to go – even though she is focussed much on sex. And then I look at myself and see someone who has enjoyed sex some of my life but I have never been sexually fulfilled. And this is because my spiritual desire is so much more important, and I have never been able to marry that important desire with the less important sexual desire. Example, in my30s I had an enjoyable sexual relationship, but in this relationship the woman brought so much baggage I was in pain with all her stuff. It came to increasingly dominate the relationship, and my spiritual needs were suffering. The baggage was human suffering, so how could I say screw them because my spirituality was suffering? In the end I was so unhappy I left.
Throughout life women have seen me as a good catch because I am a good man and faithful. I have tried a number of times – driven by my dick, but have never been able to attain spirit/dick balance. In the end I have realised I don’t offer most women anything. I have my own ways, and whether these are right or wrong they help me in my spiritual direction. How can I live with someone, love them, care for what they want, and drop everything for my spirituality? It doesn’t work. Many women take pride in their homes, my own ways got in the way of that especially when I was expected to pay. They wanted the home their home their way but it was my home to pay for. One user accused me of wanting a housekeeper with sex. From a certain detached viewpoint that was true but a limited view. For me the issue was freedom. In a relationship the two people need to be free to do their own thing including paying for the thing they wanted to do. If the money in a relationship is not equal then their thing becomes your burden and a financial burden limits your freedom, freedom that you have earned. In the same relationship where my spirit made me leave, there were additional problems. I went into the relationship feeling that I loved her so I accepted her burdens as mine. Her burdens required me to completely change my lifestyle including taking on different work that I had previously given up. Gratitude became an issue. I felt she should be grateful that I had accepted her burdens, but she expected it. I just wanted a feeling of gratitude, I never got it; I suspect she never wanted to feel indebted to me yet she should have accepted that because she was. My freedom was severely curtailed by her burdens, I was not free and left. I later realised that she never loved me. Whatever love goes for when you are young – early 30s, I loved her, but the negatives gradually just completely weighed me down. I know I had no choice but to leave – I was dying as a person, in a world where those in relationships accept burdens and the curtailing of freedom many saw me at fault. I also confused love with trust and that came back to bite me financially in a big way.
Not only is Nina’s sexual advice good it is clear she has a good 1%-consciousness. But what about her consciousness about the need for trust – about the problems caused by promiscuity and the lack of faithfulness. Quite rightly she sees it important to fulfil her sexual needs and those of her husband, and the way she describes this she has fulfilment. Well done, it is hard to find. If I were sex police and tried to force her and her husband into a standard monogamous situation there would be a legitimate reaction. But how many people are attracted to her lifestyle or similar when they would be much happier with standard monogamy – perhaps with a bit of Nina Hartley sexual education to help with their fulfilment. Most people do not have awareness of their desires – being led by the dick is one result of this. As she says “Watching the men, just showing them my vulva, I realized how sad it was”, there is a lot of sadness in the way sex goes down.
Desire creates envy. People see others “having fun”, and desire that façade. For many it is desire that destroys families, and not love nor need. How much damage is caused by the failure to stay within monogamy, damage to children, divorce and all that ensues?
The above was consideration of sila – sila desire and awareness. Does Nina Hartley hurt anyone with her style of relationship? The way she describes it – NO. But in relationships, men primarily, choosing to wander without agreement does cause hurt. With sila hurt is not caused. I am not giving the 10 commandments, only one – compassionate sila.
Nina describes herself as zen, does this mean she has compassionate sila? There is nothing in the article that says she doesn’t – but significantly as Brad is interviewing her there is nothing that does. She talks about compassionate awareness and acceptance as far as she can, is that sila as well? Here Buddhadasa describes sila as the basis for practise in Anapanasati:-
I just found Brad in an interview describing how Zen gave him morality. Confused.
Sila is a serious problem in western society. Muslims talk about the decadent west, and many laugh but it is decadent. Fulfilment of desire at whatever cost is a significant drive that is considered legitimate by many. The individual emphasis, that is encouraged by all that is west – all that is 1%, means that many try to fulfil desires irrespective of what happens to others. It is important to understand promiscuity in this way. For many men they approach promiscuity as a freedom, men and women being equally free to enjoy each other sexually. But for how many women is that sexual freedom something they fit into – or are they seeking a long-term partner? How many people get hurt in one-night stands? Do one-night stands lead to partnerhip? How much does one-night stands produce a coldness that takes a long time to break down? There is no doubt in my mind that western relationships do not encourage an openness and freedom despite what they say. I am not saying that elsewhere in the world relationships lead to fulfilment. In the end people need to be aware to get good relationships, and even then it doesn’t always work. What about the number of issues of sexual abuse that have arisen with “gurus”? It’s complicated.
And this brings me to the 4NT, and what I remember from my last zen time? Is there a priority on the 4NT? Now I am too ignorant of Dogen to answer that. What has happened to me so far with zazen has been an improvement in me but has not had any relationship to 4NT? Maybe I have done enough on that recently, and the dharma wants me to focus on zazen. I have been too intellect so that is good.
But this morning it wouldn’t let me stop thinking, and I had to focus on the 4NT. Later I began to think. What zen is for others does not matter, it is what matters for me. This blog is evidence of the potential trap of intellect for me, so zazen is particularly important for me. Why not zazen and the 4NT? Zen takes precepts, I suspect this is their sila – their conduct; I have to examine the precepts of the Dogen Sangha link to overcome my confusion.
Completely differently I love what she says about feminism, I am rereading just to perceive her relationship with feminism. What has the man-hating aspect of some feminists got to do with her lifestyle? And of course most women prefer to have a relationship with men – as she says. People standing up to represent the interests of all women need to represent ALL interests. Equally I support her empathy towards men who are lost following their dicks “Watching the men, just showing them my vulva, I realized how sad it was”. “But I see men as human, I see men as equally victimized by the system. Men are also victims of the patriarchy” of 200 families – as she puts it.
Brad just wrote about envy, and it sparked me on envy; it didn’t spark me but I felt I should consider my own envy.
My biggest envy is “being a spiritual teacher” and then nowhere near as big but far bigger than any other envy “being paid for what I write”.
“Being a spiritual teacher” would presumably be based around my treatise, even though it is not finished I have moved on from where the Treatise is at. But no matter. I would like to be invited to places and attempt to have some impact on peoples’ lives – what I consider for the better. But then I wouldn’t want too much of that. I wouldn’t want to lose control of my life. I just want to be able to give a little spirituality. It is frustrating not being listened to a little when there is so much horseshit (Trump?) around. But then I know that horseshit is just paid for – when you have craziness in the mainstream (Trump) what appears more tolerant (Hillary) would be palatable and she could then do the 1%-dirtywork. It is about spectrum, there is Trump and Bernie and the middle of the road – Hillary. And Hillary does 1%, so she will still deliver hell. When Jesus or Siddhartha are lost in Conscious Life Expo there would be no chance for a Zandtao. So “being a spiritual teacher” would mean events, much talking and stuff, and deep frustration as no result. So maybe beach, slagging Brad off and zazen is enough.
As for “being paid for what I write” my envy there already got tailored. I started by thinking I am envious of being a writer but I’m not. I wouldn’t want all those events, even Doris Lessing had to do all that shit. So I would want to be paid for my writing, but then the amount of money you get for a book in 1%-publishing doesn’t interest me. What would I spend it on? And it might alter my life – and I might lose control. So publishing is actually about “being a spiritual teacher” so I am back to what I discussed there.
So am I envious of a huge amount of money, what would I do with it? OK a retreat for myself – without landladies, a retreat for others, ecological stuff solar panels and organic food, maybe enabling some of “being a spiritual teacher”. But even with all that I’m afraid I would lose control.
Today writing this envy hasn’t got me, I am doing OK. But some days it gets me, it is interesting – now I know I don’t want it really.
And then it struck me, my real envy is having a life where I could talk Dharma, I miss meeting people where that happens. That was a bolt, finding my real envy.
And then another envy, I envy the wisdom of people like Thay or Brad or Eckhart, and all the wise people who keep their heads down. But with that wisdom comes responsibility, and I am back to “being a spiritual teacher and writer”.
I was always in conflict with the system as an adult. At school I was completely asleep, more asleep than my peers. In retrospect I see this as a defence mechanism, how would I have handled any form of awareness as a child. Alex became aware when young, fought the system, started his adult journey early, became aware of the outer world, and defensively shuts off his inner world. In my case I knew nothing of this fighting when I was young – only immature spats, became aware as an adult, and fought the system having been plonked on the Path by hitting bottom. That hitting bottom made me see the system as being at fault – repression, family, system and miseducation. Yet for most none of this conflict exists.
A keystone of the system is compromise. The 1% make profits, take advantage of all around, and make us all wage-slaves. There is a 1% directive – make as much profit as possible. As they are in control all the people working for them fit into that directive. A factory causes environmental damage, yet no one person makes a decision to cause that damage – except the directive (a directive many accept as business-is-business). The manager tries to make a profit. Down the line all follow what the hierarchy says, any decisions that are made are small. No-one decides to cause the damage, all will follow environmental guidelines, yet no-one says we will cause damage. But no-one says we will not cause damage because not causing damage will decrease the profits. There might be marginal calls, calls that would bring a certain amount of conflict – lack of promotion, loss of employment, people compromise on these margins. But no-one has to decide to cause damage. One might blame the environmental guidelines but these are under control through government lobbying by the 1%. Because the calls are marginal and because no-one appears to be responsible for the damage conflict rarely exists.
By nature I was brought into conflict in education, for me the clarion call of education was the very sword that brought me conflict in schools. Because schools were not about education – they are about providing a skillset that fitted into the 1%-system and about educating people for 1%-world. Having been given this skillset most people do not have conflict. They accept what is a “normal” way of life, struggle for their families and pleasures, and there is not a conflict with the system – only the struggle inherent within the constraints of normalness.
I have suggested to Brad (cajoled?) that his perception lacks the clarity that comes with conflict, that might be so. But if he has no conflict is his perception not clear? If I suggest that Brad educate for awareness of 1%-world, am I suggesting that he educate to create conflict?
When I say educate awareness my immediate answer is yes, I am suggesting he create conflict where now there is none. At present he does not educate for conflict, he puts forward the Dharma and does not expose 1%-world for what it is. Is that enough?
Previously I have said no. I have discussed here how important these 4 heinouses are:-
1) How important is #BlackLivesMatter?
When I argued this I suggested that monks including Brad should include awareness of 1%-world and how important these heinouses are. Awareness of these four and allowing them to be part of who you are will create conflict with 1%-world – if they are genuinely part of you.
I am now questioning that. Every part of my being says “make people aware of 1%-world”, but that is my being. Every part of my being says that it should be a part of everyone’s being but that is just me. I can’t answer this because for me personally there is no doubt.
Is awareness of these 4 a matter of choice?
NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, maybe YES!
I still can’t answer it so I have to say let the teachers and the people choose.
Brad, a Zen monk, gets into daily life. As an aware person he develops an understanding of daily life, but how far does he go? As far as he goes. How far should he go? As far as he goes, the Dharma must guide him. I don’t understand why the Dharma doesn’t take him further. It is frustrating because I don’t understand but I must trust the Dharma.
It is arrogant of me to think he doesn’t know enough to be aware of these heinouses so instead of questioning him I have to question my frustration. QED
Tags: #O, 1%, BradWarner, Mindful Consuming
In Brad’s latest blog he discusses amongst others monasticism:-
“Yet Nishijima Roshi said that retreats lasting more than three days removed a person too much from what he called “daily life” and strongly advised his monks against participating in such practices, let alone making lifelong commitments to monastic communities. Instead, he wanted his monks to integrate their practice fully into their daily lives in the work-a-day world.”
This is noble but for me it raises two issues:-
• Monastic Training
On monastic training there are two sides, for the monk themselves and the lay they teach. Perhaps the monastic life is the most fulfilling it can be for that monk, developing her/himself and teaching others the Dhamma.
A monastery provides a place of learning and a place for retreats, these are both necessary for those in daily life. I note both of these points on monastic training, am judging from a distance and don’t feel I can say too much on these as it has to be a personal decision.
On mindful consuming in daily life I want to address the question of 1%-world. For most nowadays daily life means contributing to 1%-world. Most jobs are working for the 1%, and most consuming is also consuming produce made by the 1%. And what does the 1% do? Anything to make a profit – including starting wars. When a “monk” makes a noble decision to go back to daily life, he is making a decision to contribute to 1%-world and all its implications.
Can we then choose not to be a part of daily life in 1%-world? Off-the-grid communes. Amongst other things that Occupy did was to start organic communes, I think. Anyway that is what I mean – a commune in which people work for themselves and try to trade with like-minded individuals. Ideally this would be barter, (or even a community currency) but any monetary involvement with the currencies of 1%-world should be limited.
Monastic communities do not usually consider the economic implications of monastic existence as it is usually about the Dhamma or faith. In other words their priority is the teaching and they involve themselves with 1%-world to obtain the finance to continue their teachings. In this I feel there should be questioning, how much is their economic involvement contributing to the global damage caused by 1%-world? Can they fund their teaching in ways that limit their involvement with 1%-world?
In this day and age where economic relations govern all and are controlled by people who cause such suffering – the 1%, is it acceptable for monks to separate themselves from the economic implications of their lifestyle? In terms of seeing what-is-what, how much should they be presenting awareness of 1%-world?
And in the end what is the noble purpose of returning to daily life about? Helping people cope with life, helping people cope with the conflicts that are caused by working in 1%-world. I am no expert on communes either but coping with human frailty in relationship has got to be easier than dealing with the overpowering suppression of 1%-world to prevent a compassionate and caring society.