Thursday, December 15, 2005

Buddhism and Realism

Nishijima Roshi wrote: "It is very important for us, when we want to understand Buddhism, to realize that Buddhism is just a philosophy, which is based on Realism completely."

When we want to experience and enter samadhi, Gautama Buddha teaches us to sit in the full lotus posture, sitting with the mind upright. [Shobogenzo chap. 72, Zanmai-o-zanmai]

Thinking about the problem of the basis of pragmatic philosophy, I think that, when a person wants to enter samadhi, it might be appropriate for a Buddhist teacher to teach them how to sit with the mind upright.

But I wonder: if a person wants to understand Buddhism, how then might it be appropriate to teach that person? How then might it be possible to teach that person?

If a large country is filled with many millions of such people wanting to understand Buddhism, and I convince them all to buy a copy of my sexy self-promoting book, am I in that case truly comprehending my one true purpose, or not?

The puritans who went from England to America were not greedy people, and the native American people who lived in America already were not a greedy people. But nowadays in America, it seems to me, there are many big fat greedy people. Even many who are not so fat also have a strong greedy tendency.

Gautama Buddha taught his followers to have small wants and know satisfaction. But many Americans bring their greedy tendency to Buddhism. They want to understand Buddhism easily by reading some flimsy book or by surfing the net. So they are particularly attracted to so-called "Zen Buddhism" which seems to offer them the opportunity of easy understanding.

They do not have any idea to get their hands dirty in the service of a Buddhist teacher. They do not even have any idea to study diligently the words of great Buddhist thinkers of the past. When they visit the Dogen Sangha web page, they don't even seem to notice the words of Nishijima Roshi himself. Instead they just express their own utterly useless and immature views which they mistake for Buddhist wisdom.

Many people who have been attracted the words of Brad Warner seem to show a certain attitude, a charade of phoney coolness and casualness. It is an attitude that Brad himself and his imitators appear unable to see that they should drop off.

I do not know Brad personally. I do know that Brad publicly insulted me on his blog. I quote: "It amazes me that someone with 20 years experience doing zazen can be such a total prick." But Brad has barely met me at all. So I feel that there might be something very wrong in Brad's efforts. It might be an unconscious will to fame.

I think that if we have unconscious will to fame, we should make it conscious. We should see ourself for the fraud we are. Michael Luetchford and Brad Warner are not the enemies of Buddhism because they have the will to fame and power. In my opinion, they might be the enemies of Buddhism because they do not know their own minds. Their will to fame might be unconscious. That might be the problem.

5 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

Aren't we all living as complete frauds though? Unless one of us happen to be a Buddha, we are all living pretty blindly.

There are those of us who try to make a "right effort" though to attempt to discover that which clouds our thinking. You are one. Brad is one. Nishijima is one. I think I am one.

From reading Brad's works, I believe he has hinted that he's had a glimpse of reality. I also believe that he's hinted that he's no Buddha.

There are many, I believe, that have had a glimpse of reality. This does not make one perfect by any means. This can be seen throughout Buddhism and any other religion for that matter.

So Brad calls you a prick? Are you not? I can certainly say that I have been known to be one. I'm sure Brad can be, and Nishijima can be, etc., etc.

I agree with you that there are many big fat greedy people and not just in America. I don't know if I'm fat (maybe full of delusion) but I am greedy and I am American. Maybe the only difference between me and the masses around me is that I have a sense of this and wish to see through my delusion.

Hey- I like Brad's book. Does that make me a bad Buddhist? I like reading what another "fat, greedy American" from my generation has to say about his experience with Buddhism. That is all. He's one of us.

It is quite easy to claim that someone else does not know their own minds. Be a lamp unto yourself. No need to tell me who Brad is or who I am. Let me figure that out.

I would like to hear your thoughts about how to appropriately teach Buddhism. I had hoped that that was where the article was going.

Thanks for listening.

Thursday, December 15, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you Chris for your comment and question.

Yes, I agree that we are all in the same boat. At the same time, a person in the samadhi of accepting and using the self teaches Buddhism to others just by his presence. This samadhi is our original state, our natural balance, but is not our habitual condition of being. Having fallen from grace, we need to work to get back to enjoying our birthright. Yes, if I were not so lazy, if I were not such a fool, I would work harder against the stream of habit. But who does Brad think he is to say so?

Thursday, December 15, 2005  
Blogger oxeye said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, December 15, 2005  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Thank you for your comment, oxeye. You might not have had it all backwards. I am capable of great jealousy and foolishness. Fame? I both aspire to it and fear it. I hope that I aspire to it not for its own sake. Power? Well I have certainly made plenty of effort this past year to establish sole control of the Shobogenzo translation. Other than Nishijima Roshi, I don't want anybody else leaving their dirty paw-prints on it. And there are places where the translation could be improved. Bitter? Yes, undeniably, feeling myself to be the victim of a kind of Shakespearean tragedy--maybe King Lear? Time will tell.

Thursday, December 15, 2005  
Blogger Virtual Ain't Reality said...

HA!

Friday, December 16, 2005  

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