Mirror of Zen Blog

Feed Yourself [ Reply to a Reader ]

Dear Bryan,

Thank you very much for your kind words (and also thanks to Addison for sharing these things alongside his own prodigious, sage reflections). 

I hope you use what you see in those videos or on this silly blog to learn more about YOU — your own glorious and perfectly complete true self. At best, those things I express are just a little menu card: if they work well, they are only (hopefully!) showing the available practical technologies that you can use to realize your true self. They are never ever the food itself! 

In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “If you bring forth what is within you, what is within you will save you; if you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you.“ Such wonderful and true words, among the very best that sage is ever reported to have said.

Zen teaching, when it is communicated correctly, is merely the transfer of technologies for you to “bring forth what is already within you.“ Zen teaching should not function as further learning the way we were trained in school, further concepts to “understand” and compare or evaluate against others. Rather, the open-source technology of Zen is merely the knife and fork and spoon that help you to bring the nutrition you already “have” more to where it is needed – – from the plate to your stomach. Understanding the fork, or the movement of your arm, will not satisfy this hunger, this need. I hope that you can do it this way. 

I heard just one or two words from the monk who would eventually become my Teacher, and I have relentlessly applied them, ever since. And yet, the irony of my own words and expressions, in themselves, becoming objects of further “mere understanding“ for some is something which endlessly troubles me. My finger is always poised directly above the “delete all“ button on these videos and on this blog. Seriously. One of my students needed to talk me out of deleting the whole project recently. One day, hopefully quite soon, there will be the real courage to cut all of this constant blathering -– enough has been put out there already, even too much.

Regardless, you have the tools at your disposal. It is so gladdening that you might appreciate them. Now is the matter of merely applying consistent effort to the work. That is really all. There is no further mystery or learning involved. 

The coronavirus pandemic has stripped away so many of the noises and distractions that we moderns have so blithely accepted to be paths of enduring satisfaction (the ubiquity of meaningless mass sports events, superficial corporate-media-driven film/celebrity faux-culture, the mindlessness of too-easy tourist-impulse satisfaction, the in-built waste of too-frequent public-eating lifestyles, etc.). Good riddance!

Now, unavoidably, whether we like it or not (and we should gladly embrace it!), we have the space to really do the work — this “once-in-a-century pandemic“ is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a “global retreat,” I tell my students — if we use it well. 

So glad to be doing it along with you and Addison and others.

Very best wishes for your efforts!

Yours in the Dharma,


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