Monday, 26 November 2012

How Westerners Miss the Mark

The Buddha told people that they were also Buddhas. He said he was the same as everyone else but that he was awake and they were still asleep. - He said that everyone has Buddha Nature or th ability to be awake id we can aware of it.

According to Doubting Thomas, that well traveled old apostle, Jesus Christ said it too:

'When you become acquainted with yourselves
then you will be recognized
and you will understand
that it is you who are children of a living father.

But if you do not become accquainted with yourself
then you are in poverty and it is you who are the poverty.'

So what is our problem anyway, we are also floating here in empty space on the thin crust of life with the same amount of nothing as the buddhists and Taoists... and yet... with thousands of years of this beautiful spiritual philosophy we miss the mark. As John Giorno complains 'none of us here got enlightened.

I have a dear friend on the way to Plum Village now and I talked with her about it:

I told her that I have been listening to a lot of Thich Nhat Hanh and SFZC podcasts and that they help me to clear things up 'life and death and all of the thoughts and ideas I have about them... Like a crystal clear lake to reflect the world in... somehow expanding my mind and heart while making them both clam and quiet.'
She said 'i know this feeling when i finally manage to meditate... its getting calm and warm and i feel deep trust in everything... i feel the oneness and the all love... Metta'
I told her a fourth hand story I heard that explains why it is so hard for westerners to meditate: Thai monk told an American meditator that Westerners do it all wrong. He said that if you want to build a table you have to follow a process: first go to the forest to select a tree, then cut the tree and mill it onto boards, then draw and carefully cut the pieces, then put them all together. Then, and only then, you should start to sandpaper and make it smooth. But we westerners go to the forest with sandpaper; we try to meditate although we have not yet worked out what kind of practice we are doing.

My friend said: 'i understand, and also westerners are used to just go to the stores and buy a table'

We just listen to the dharma like we are in a shop. Like we are shopping for a new table. Trungpa Rinpoche called it 'Spiritual Materialism'. We like to wear Metta and Buddhism and Compassionate living like a new dress from the shop, like a new table in the kitchen.

She said 'We can not just take this old coat off so easily.'

Thousands of years with the beginnings of enlightenment, all clouded by greed and manipulated to create and support violent and oppressive power structures. We have a big heavy old coat to remove and a chilly environment to do it in.

We need all the Metta we can give.
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