Wednesday, January 20, 2010


I think Darren Littlejohn has issues, and wouldn't rely on him for any kind of accurate representation of the Dharma, and think there are serious concerns with what he's saying and how he's saying it, (caveat emptor especially when it comes to "guided meditations") but I cannot but have empathy for him as well: clearly he's a guy who started from a point where he knew not for the life of him what he was doing, and tried to make sense of it all as best he could.

If AA is right and pain is the touchstone of all spiritual growth then the Buddha was right when he pointed out that all actions in samsara (endless cycle of of rebirth) lead to suffering.

I think it's the other way around. Some discredited stockbroker, as a result of contact with a group founded by a closeted evangelist, mixed in with some strong hallucinogens, comes upon the realization that there is suffering in life (but not that this is a core principle of the noble truth of emptiness).

We can meditate until our pursed lips are purple with exertion to transcend the pain of being or we can learn to be, being-as the ache inside our souls pulses on.

There are many ways in Buddhism of dealing with thoughts and sensations of pain and suffering, but (maybe it's Littlejohn's bad phrasing?) in at least some of these ways, being the pain is transcending the pain.

Another view might be that Awakened Ones have given us the teachings, methods and advice for how we can come to our own place of self-love and stop hurting ourselves and others. They're different beings than us but share the same Awake nature. Please don't confuse this with the infantile notion that we're all one being. (That thinking is a kind of sickness in my view.)

Well, I think Mr. Littlejohn might want to read more of the Buddhist canon before he starts trying to crow-bar 12 Step theology into Buddhism or vice versa. To call us separate beings is as "infantile" a notion as it is of calling us "one being."

The way I'm talking about enlightenment here is more analogous to all of the infinite molecules, elements and matter and consciousnesses that make up everything sharing the same basic space. This cup and that cup are two different cups in that yours was made then and of different colored material and mine another time and this color but the same in that they're not as separate or independently arising as they appear. Yet yours holds wine and mine sparkling cider. Please don't mix them up!

Please don't think they're not the same. Please don't think that enlightenment depends on wine and sparkling cider being the same or different, or neither. If it is time not to drink just don't drink.

Everything has its place and disharmony ensues when things are not in their place, to be sure.

We don't need religious fusion so much as we need people present and engaged at this very moment, without ego.

May peace and harmony prevail within Darren Littlejohn.


NellaLou said...

These concerns you have I think are valid. The 12 Step programs and the Buddhist Way become competing ideologies within the same mind. And one of them ends up being warped to fit into the framework of the other. This seems to happen with other combinations as well such as Buddhism/Christian, Buddhism/Marxism, Buddhism/Hinduism, Buddhism/Capitalism.

Mumon said...


Thanks; Buddhism, at least as practiced in my school, doesn't seek to be an "-ism," or doesn't need to merge with any other "-ism," and so any mixing starts to resemble Dharma-flavored meatloaf.

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