Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A bit of wisdom from James Ford

by way of Danny Fisher, who rightly calls Ford's post on faulty Zen teachers a must read.

I am fond of that little pseudo psychological model based in the observation we're created out of three demons: greed, hatred and ignorance. I see these as the constellation of grasping, the constellation of aversion, and after much reflection, the constellation of certanties.

So, I am aware of who I am, at least in all the big strokes and many of the smaller ones. And I can tell you, I am a greed type. I want. I have always wanted. And I have to report I know I shall always want. My chances of becoming one of the scandals is always there. I am aware of it...

I think Zen masters are useful. They have walked the way a long time and someone who has also walked the way a long time has endorsed them. They have no magical powers. Their shit stinks. And, if they don't bind themselves to rule and direction they are liable to moral drift, as is true of anyone. And even if they do bind themselves, they're liable to various abuses of themselves and others. Like all of us. I would be wary of teachers who do not have some form of continuing checking of themselves, either with teachers or peers.

I am far from perfect; and some ask why I "still" have the faults that I do, and why my behavior is not of perfection. I get pissed off from time to time. Not as much or as bad as I used to, but I do indeed get pissed off. I mistake what's going on in my head as reality.

I could list all my faults and character flaws here, but it's not necessary. Those that know, know. They know I'm not perfect.

But perfection is itself dukkha.

If we get there we're stuck.

That we can give rise to compassion, even for those who hurt us in acting on their own fear and hatred is improvement. That we can even understand there is a home to leave, a way to do things that might be better, is itself progress, it is hope.

So I continue to practice, because there simply is no other way, based on where I've been in life and what works and what does not.

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