Saturday, April 20, 2013

I'm uninterested in Zen scandals given the profound uniqueness of existence

I realize that this may be somewhat contrarian to the mode of where the Buddhist blogosphere is, not to mention previous posts I've done myself, but I'm less interested than I might have been previously regarding scandals in the Buddhist blogosphere and what-not.

Not to say the scandals didn't happen, not to say they didn't arise in part from "teachers" pretending they had more authority and power than that to which they were entitled, not to say all the points that have already been made time and time and time again on this.   But all of those points might be crowding out from our awareness the point.

I'm thinking of that Chechen young man, and the terrible stupid things in which he and his brother seem to have been involved.  I have had business at Building 32 of MIT, where the campus police officer was murdered.   If these reports are true, and I'd bet today that there's more than a grain of truth to them, these men have harmed and destroyed so much. 

Like politics, life ain't beanbag.  It's serious stuff, and freakishly random things can, do, and will continue to happen.  It is deeply imbued into the fabric of our existence.   That even a flawed human being can offer anyone at least a chance of succor, even in the midst of that helper's flawed motives, and even given the helper's flawed subsequent actions.

I read somewhere that Blaise Pascal had some kind of a carriage incident that profoundly influenced his view on life.  I think I know a little something like what that's about from the recent accident I had.   We're weak, often lonely, and sentenced to death as a result of our birth, and there's going to be things happening to us we just don't want.  Our personal physical pain is our personal physical pain, and others can feel compassion and empathy for us, but they literally cannot feel our pain.

I was reading the Twitter feed of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev; and the responses to them once that feed was identified as his.  I found it interesting that he gained thousands of "followers" once that feed was identified as his - did these people expect him to actually put for another Tweet in his life? Really? And most of those "followers" were just Americans it seems.  Moreover the responses to his Tweets, like the responses from some others, were not reeking of wisdom, to say the least.

Is this so?

Besides, I read the extracts from Brian Victoria's stuff years ago.  And even in the original edition Rick Fields' book on the history of Buddhism in America Sokei An doesn't appear to be completely a saint.

So, pleas for the sake of all, let's get past the mystification, exploitation, and condemnation.  Life's too damn short and we're all in need, some way more profoundly so than others.


Nick Patterson (Broad) said...

But this really too simple;
Say you practice with a teacher
with a track record of "hitting"
on attractive young women. Is it
OK to just let a naive young lady who
has just started practice go to dokusan with the guy?

Mumon K said...


Who "lets" the young lady?

Seriously, one should inform her, but better, such a "teacher" shouldn't have students.

But there's a bigger point; which is my point - i.e., there's a bigger point.

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Justin Whitaker said...

I've been feeling much the same, Mumon. I described it in an email not long ago as 'scandal fatigue.' I do think people need to know about these when they arise, and if my blog can inform someone and thus prevent harm, then a post about this or that scandal seems worth my time. But like anything with strong emotional currents, they can take on a life of their own - as it would seem happened in the discussions between Brad Warner and Adam Tebbe.

Report, perhaps discuss, then get back to what matters...