I have had an especially busy return to work after my vacation, with an even busier home life at the same time. So I found it strangely comforting - and helpful - to read the criticism of Brad Warner by that guy Muho from Antaji. While I don't want to really get into the spat of Warner versus Muho, I did make a comment on Warner's blog post to the effect that 切磋琢磨 (せっさたくま） - being polished by others - is important. It is sooo true.
On the other hand, I also generally agree with Nathan's response, which says we shouldn't fool ourselves into thinking that everything we do we can't label practice if we haven't been, you know, practicing.
However, I do have to disagree with both Nathan and Muho a bit. As for Muho, I think he's off the mark when he says:
If you live with a family or work with others, that is also practice, but if those that you live and work with do not share the perspective that the whole day is practice, it will be very difficult to uphold your practice during the 24 hours of the day.
And with Nathan's response:
However, the way Muho's statement seems off to me is in its assumptions about the external environment people live in, and how that might affect practice and insight.
The reason I disagree with both of them has to do with the past few days I've had: absurd business and stress corresponding to various getting back to the routine. In such a time the only sane response is practice, mindfulness, compassion, graciousness and humility. There simply has not been time for anything else. And yes, others karma does inter-relate and affect my experience. I'm not dead.
Has my practice been perfect? Definitely it has been pitiful. But there is no alternative but to keep trying.
It's a bit like the enso I did here (right below this post). Does it compare well with any great master's enso? No, it's garbage by comparision. But it's a sincere effort on my part, and if you think it's trivial to do it, I invite you to try to do it. To do the practice sometimes you have to do the practice where you find yourself, with the level of skill and ability you have at the time.
It also reflects the environment in which I created the enso; so it is with the other beings around us. Muho might say, "Oh, it's difficult to work with people who are not consciously praticing," but to me that sounds almost patronizing; he's not living the life where one is stuck in THIS bag of skin.
I have more polishing to do. Others will polish me. They might not have the advantage of being declared Buddhists, but this is the life in which we are together. It's time to get through the day.