Monday, January 16, 2012

A confluence of things leads to a pretty sober conclusion...

 The fish don't see the water in which they swim...I read that in Dogen somewhere, so it must be true. Now  I'm mashing up critics of Dogen with Sarah Silverman now. Go figure.

No seriously, my point is it's amazing how many people with influence in the world are not quite devoting ourselves to making real, tangible things, and all the skills that flow from that; even in the Zen-inflected sub-culture in which we live.  I mean, my whole career has been directed toward the monetezation of ideas...though in my case the do wind up in products that make the other stuff possible.  But it seems we're not quite aware of that odd position in which we find ourselves, kind of like city-dwellers of ancient times who'd forgotten how to hunt.

"Somebody else" is doing the farming, the tool-making, the hunting, the defense, the medicine prescription and administration, the educating of the young and the whole host of other things that actually make life feasible in this world as we know it.  Or at least that seems to be the case, if you'd read what is generally considered in the Buddhist blogosphere.  It's not overall true of course, but the way is not 80% of what you find written and talked about in the Buddhist blogosphere.  It's there in bits and pieces, though...military Buddhist bloggers, Barbara's occasional forays into everyday living as a Buddhist, Shokai's exploits,  etc.  But like I said, what's written about is largely what's not lived and done and made: the expression of being born as suffering, growing is suffering, growing old is suffering, dying is suffering, and there's a cause to all that suffering, and its transcendence and its way of transcendence.

Forgive my impudence, but I think there's no app for that.

I don't know if that's winter blues talking, but it's interesting to me that the dearth of opportunity itself in the economy and our unwillingness to discuss it is manifesting itself this way that removes the real everyday from the agenda for discussion.

 I'm no survivalist by any means, but I think it's important that people know how to do some basic things: like cook and clean, teach their kid math and science and some kind of art (I am woefully inadequate and fall short in the art department), how to take care of their body, etc., and perhaps even to make tangible things, and grow vegetables or something like that.  
Everything of course can be taken away, and will be eventually, but even so, given the resources we have, maybe we as a society are becoming too dependent on stuff other people make.  I mean, somewhere in that is the "Right Livelihood" ethic, right?


Jordan said...

A few years back there seemed to be a boom of amateur "Practice" blogs that I really enjoyed and found inspiration in. Real salt of the earth stuff. People's own accounts of how there practice was in the moment.

Now the blogosphere appears to be dominated by semi pros, know it alls, priests, and strivers that seem to have sucked the life out of what was once so vibrant. And also seems to have distracted people form turning their gaze inward and looking deeply. So much easier to try and get a rise out of people or attack someone else's path than get them to start thinking critically about their own actions.


So it goes.

Where did that come from?

All the best, Jordan

Mumon said...

Jordan -

This form - blogging & being a Buddhist - started from pretty much nothing other than the written words that preceded this form.

So some of what you decry was there for a while, perhaps. Oh, strike that, it was there soon after the form came into being.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) this Buddhist blogging thing is done by humans. I'm human too. While I think there can be merit in criticism of what others write here, I know I've "gone over the line" myself, at least as far as the diversion of my attention is concerned.

But I do think that merit's there now and then. Otherwise it gets like bompu Zen (and even in the last link my disagreements arise - martial arts as well as other forms of Zen arts need not be bompu Zen. Often is, but need not be in general.

But there I go again. :-)

Robin said...

Your comments remind me of one of my favourite quotations, from Robert A. Heinlein's Lazarus Long:

‎"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Thanks for the post!

Rusty Ring: Reflections of an Old-Timey Hermit

Mumon said...

Thank you, Robin. Great quote.