Monday, January 04, 2010

Heard in Passing

While visiting Miao Fa Chan temple in Portland yesterday, I heard a rather intense American young man of European descent go on in a monologue, speaking to a middle-aged Chinese woman about "evolution of spirituality," how "traditions are dead," and other assorted things that lead me to believe the man had had excessive contact with associates of either Andrew Cohen, Dennis Genpo Merzel, or folks like them.

The woman said nothing, and was apparently polite, understanding that her role was straight man here, a kind of American-Chinese Buddhist Ed McMahon without the guffaws.

It was strikingly odd to me how this man went on and on and on, and just didn't seem to get it. He was seated in the lobby of a temple of a tradition, and while it is true that his species is evolving, he did not seem to be aware that the selection mechanisms of either his genetic material or religious memes were generally indifferent to his philosophy.

Human consciousness comes with built-in flaws about which even the writers of Buddhist scriptures were unaware, and it's hubris to think you've got it all figured out beyond a shadow of any metaphysical doubt. The best I think you can say is you have it all figured out as far as you can observe from phenomena.

There will have to be much unlearning in many places I think.


NellaLou said...

Unlearning is often far more useful than learning sometimes.

Mumon said...

But often substantially more difficult.