Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Leave your life

Teaching Zen is like teaching fish to swim.
Impossible and potentially embarrassing.
So when I write, I prefer to write about my life, rather than Zen dogma, in a hope that some how I will entice the reader to take a trip out of the ordinary way of thinking into some wild and unexplored corner of his mind.

There are a lot of Zen and Buddhist blogs on the internet that “regurgitate” wise Zen stories or obscure scripture passages and I don’t think the internet needs yet another zealot trying to convert the world to his beliefs.

What you need to know you already know.
You just don’t know it that you know it, yet :)

I was born in a communist country – I shall repeat myself.
And leaving behind that was my given “destiny” I have become –more or less – that that I have dreamed of being.
Life is a journey.
You can not learn too much if you stay put – mentally and physically.

I found a lot of my American friends have a mistrust, almost a fear of foreign places and foreign ideas.
It is almost like they are afraid that some how they will loose their identity and become somebody or something else if they step out of their familiar surroundings.
When the reality is that only when you know a foreign land and a foreign culture you truly become aware of who and what you are.

I dream to go to far away places, to see the pyramids in Egypt and the Taj Mahal in India.
I dream going to Mecca and Jerusalem and of course I dream to see a Zen temple in Japan.
Right now I do not have the material means to do it.
So I enjoy exploring the world through the internet and books.
But that doesn’t stifle my hope. Maybe one day I will.

I like to read.
My bed stand is full with books.
True, most of them are about Buddhism but also I read the Bible and the Quran and anything I find stimulating to my mind from Tolstoy to Nietzsche.
Does that make me a bad or a lesser Buddhist?
I don’t think so.

I don’t believe you can be a bad or a good Buddhist, or a bad or good Christian, Jew or Muslim, for that matter.
God has not created Buddhists, Christians, Jews or Muslims.
God has created human beings.
The only thing you can ever be, the only thing you will ever succeed or fail in your life is to be a good human being.


Lydia said...

I share the wanderlust with you. It's been a huge part of me since I was a child, playing with a set of 50 tiny plastic dolls each with a costume from a different country. My little sister was angry with me one day and poured them into the open grates on the old-fashioned gas heater that sat in the LR corner of our rental. Only a few survived and even they have been lost to time. There's probably a Zen lesson in here somewhere....maybe that dreams cannot be killed, melted, burned, purged unless you allow them to be.

p.s. God also created animals and all nature that it is our task to protect and preserve.

Spirit said...

Been too long since I've been here last- always reading but seldom commenting, a habit I'm trying to break since your blog is always so wonderful. Please excuse me if my comment ends up really, really long.

Though I'm only familiar with the basics of Zen philosophy I can't agree more with your first bit. I don't really think any spiritual/self beliefs/philosophies can ever truly be taught. True you could put a book before someone and say 'learn this' but unless they are learning that it's all already within themselves... it's a pretty pointless task. The knowledge really is within. It strikes me odd sometimes how people will seek outside sources- priests and the like, to tell them what is right and wrong in a spiritual sense because in the end it's what's right or wrong within you.

Another note I'd like to add about the 'regurgitation' of scripture is my wonderment of people who follow philosophies that embrace change and yet still seem to stick as closely to the old world doctrines and words as they can. I suppose it's human nature to trust the tried and true road but where's the sense of adventure and the true lessons in that? We'll never know if the path we're taking is wrong until we try at least another one. :)

I am an American and while I can't speak so much as far as travel goes (I'd love to travel but also lack the means) because I haven't had a chance to try it nor will I in the foreseeable future so I don't know how easily I'll embrace it when the time comes down to it but I do know from some of my own experiences with change... it can be tough. I was once in a situation where I discovered everything I'd known was a lie... it's a hard thing to face I suppose I can understand why a lot of Americans fear new knowledge. I thought I was going to lose the person I was ad in essence I suppose I did an though I didn't think so at the time I'm very glad it happened now. :)

On one final note, regarding the end of your post I think you bring up a very good thing for people to look into. I'm a Taoist and a Wiccan. I've read the Bible, Buddhist writings, bits of the Koran, and many other religious works. In the end I am none of these. I am a person. My spirituality is me and I think a lot of people lose sight of that in the end. :)

Thank you for your post. You gave me a lot to think about that I haven't had much time to dwell on as of late. Keep up the good writing! :D

Flight said...

A story about a lecturer who began a seminar holding up a 20 dollar bill, and asking:

Who wants this 20 dollar bill?

Several hands went up, but the lecturer said:

Before handing it over, there’s something I must do.

He furiously crushed it, and asked again:

Who still wants this bill?

The hands continued raised.

And what if I do this?

He threw it against the wall, letting it fall to the floor, kicked it, stamped in it and again held up the bill - all dirty and crumpled. He repeated the question, and the hands continued to be held high.

You mustn’t ever forget this scene said the lecturer. - No matter what I do with this money, it’ll still be a 20 dollar bill. Many times in our lives, we are crushed, stamped on, kicked, maltreated, offended; however, in spite of this, we are still worth the same.

Talon said...

Learning never stops and being open to other cultures, other ways of life is what makes a life interesting.

Getting to know people - finding out who they are - is a wonderful thing.

Ted Bagley said...

I prefer a good human being to a human being good any day.

Buddha said...

@ Lydia – I know you were a fellow traveler the day I met you :)
Yes, it is our task to preserve all nature. Unfortunately we are doing a lousy job at it :(

@ Spirit – I am always trying to instigate a discussion, just to see how other people see and answer the problems of life.
The best part about blogging is people commenting. So you don’t have to excuse yourself ever for presenting your point of view, because that is what makes me happy.
So thank you for the wonderful comment :)

@ Flight – Wonderful metaphor!
I will add it to my treasure chest.
Thank you for sharing it with us!

@ Talon – Here we are people from all around of world exchanging, views, ideas and life experiences without even leaving the comfort of our house!
Isn’t technology wonderful?

@ Ted – I prefer sushi, but a good human aint bad either ;)

Argent said...

I'm quite happy to stay at home, although I have enjoyed travel to foreign places (Russia, China, Europe). I think travel has to be mindful, if I may be so bold as to use that word. Anyone can travel to a place, see it and come home, but I think real travel occurs in the mind, in how your journey enriches your view of the world or changes your perception of a group of people maybe. I have to say a big amen too for the wonder of technology. I think that of all the things man has made, the internet has to be one of the finest when used to exchnge ideas and edify one another.

Quantum_Flux said...

True that, you and me both BOH. I traveled to China and traveled to many different towns and cities, I saw a lot of touristy things such as Great Wall, Kahns Tomb, Terricotta Warriors, Forbidden City, etc. I wouldn't mind seeing and learning about the history of it all.

One thing that struck me was the overall kindness of the Chinese people, and unfortunately the pollution they have to live in. I can therefore understand the green movement.

Diego said...

Hmmm. I think I have always felt like a foreign land all on my own. I don't so much travel in the world (although I have been all over it) as try to let the world travel in me. My friends accuse me of spending too much time in the "wild and unexplored corners" of my mind. Sometimes I think I am crazy, but then I watch all us monkeys doing our thing and I am sure of it.

Buddha said...

@ Argent - By all means be bold!
We love bold people and bold ideas :)

@ Quantum - It is exactly the kind of mind expanding experience exploring another country and another culture will give you.

@ Diego - There is this saying:
"People think I suffer from insanity.
I do not suffer, I quite enjoy it"

Ted Bagley said...

Where it was there I shall be.

Cindy said...

I believe the mistrust of all foreign is embedded in the American culture through govt and commerce infrastructures. For example, when the folks came through Ellis Island they were encouraged to cook and eat only American foods and not those native to their own culture. The Ford Motor Co.even had programs to teach cooking to the women immigrants of the factory workers so that they could cook like "Americans". How gross is that?!
Thankfully my Sicilian Grandmother had a will of iron and she cooked the best damn Sicilian food around! Sitting in her kitchen taught me how to cook. And more importantly in gave me a love of things "foreign". It inspired my sense of adventure and the wanting to try new and different foods, cultures and all kinds of things.