Saturday, August 09, 2014


Attributed to Hui Neng, it means - paraphrased of course - "Originally there is not one thing."   無一物 is "not one thing," or "having nothing."

It's good not to have things you might get stuck to.


Friday, August 08, 2014

Beyond the clichés...

I have at least one post pending on one Robert Sharf, who, I would submit,  despite his academic credentials doesn't get it.

That's a post for another day.

This blog-by-a-Buddhist has been going, on and off, for almost ten years.  I have tried to make this blog not merely some repetition of European-American Buddhist  paradigms.  I've tried to fit it to how an American Buddhist lives his life when he's somewhere between or among various cultures.  Unlike some bloggers I can't remember the last time I've ever removed something from this blog, if ever.

I just read a snippet of someone's blog post where it kind of sort of seemed they thought they were in the know because they knew a story about some old Buddha long ago, and then they go on to paraphrase thoughts and ideas that are in some of the more popular European-American Buddhist books.

If you go back in this blog, you can find some of that too, - you certainly can.   I won't delete that junk, and I would encourage the writer of that other blog post not to delete that junk either.  In fact, generally I would say don't delete your blog least not for a year or so, if at all. 

There might be people who are marginally stable mentally and who might post things on blogs they would not like posted on their resumé, especially if they underemployed, and the victims of this current economy.   They ought to think twice about what they put out in cyberspace.

I  have been more outspoken of late about our Middle East policy; it I think is the great moral challenge of our time.  But I try to think before I post; but I also do want things to be said that ought to be said. 

But - in general - censor less.  You're not going to get your dream job, nor are you going to get the 見性 you deny you want to experience if you just stick within the realm of insider jargon, whether it's business/marketing speak or Zen.  From a Zen perspective, censorship can be a kind of attachment.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

"Buddhist sect leader detained"...?

So reads the headline in an article in the NY Times about the detention of one Wu Zeheng, who is said in the article to run a group called "Huazang Dharma."  The NY Times article links to his group's website.  The Times article states:

According to its website, the group calls on followers to perform a good deed each day and to fast several days a month and then to donate to charity the money they would have spent on food. The website also speaks of the group’s “commitment to the prosperity of the Chinese nation and world peace.” 
Mr. Wu, who is also addressed by followers as His Holiness Vairocana Xing Wu, founded Huazang Dharma in the late 1980s and traces its teachings back to the earliest days of Buddhism. A number of followers believe he possesses healing powers and say the traditional Chinese medicine he prescribes can cure cancer and other diseases. 
Nicole Ho, who lives in the United States and who credits Mr. Wu with saving the life of her ailing father, has been a devout follower since 1995. “His ability and level of wisdom is simply different from anyone else,” she said. “With Master Wu, you listen and feel good from head to toe.” 
Mr. Wu had been briefly detained twice by the police in recent years, but his followers said the current detentions of him and his followers suggested the authorities were determined to crush the group. 
According to several witnesses, the police entered Mr. Wu’s home in Zhuhai on July 29 saying they wanted to examine his residency registration papers and then took him away. A number of followers living in apartments in the same complex were also detained at the same time, including children who were studying meditation and martial arts. Meanwhile, the police in the nearby city of Shenzhen raided two businesses affiliated with Huazang Dharma and the homes of people working there.

Nobody can support taking kids away by police, assuming that's what happened. 
But... His Holiness Vairocana...?  According to his website:

Mr. Wu Zeheng, with an alias Xin Yu and Buddhist name His Holiness the Vairocana Xing Wu, is the Patriarch of Buddhism, the 88th successor of Buddha, the 61th Successor of Zen Dharma, the 51th Successor of the Caodong Dharma, and the 32nd Successor of the Offspring Sangha Dharma. Holding the Symbol of Buddha Dharma - the”Kashaya and alms bowl ” (the hundreds patched robe and the alms bowl) that is the direct line of descent from Supreme Shakyamuni Buddha.

Well all right...seriously... there's claims there about being a direct successor of the Buddha, "61st successor of Zen Dharma,"... elsewhere on the site you can see claims about faith healing and what-not. Such a person who makes such claims isn't so much a Buddhist leader as a Buddhist antagonist, and one who really obscures the Way.

My point is,  as you might expect, I'm not overly fond of charlatans, and I'm not overly fond of propaganda critical of the Chinese government that glosses over the chicanery of folks like Wu.  And donning Taiwanese scarves prominently on one's website is going to be just about as popular as honoring the Naqba in some West Bank Israeli settlement.

I really can't get all that worked up on the "religious freedom" of hucksters like Wu - to me he comes across as more or less a Chinese Frederick Lenz.

Monday, August 04, 2014

No ethnicty is excluded

Many early images of the Buddha look like this one - came into being after Alexander the Great invaded Bactria.  It's the Buddha, not Apollo.

It's images like this that come to my mind when I hear people make generalizations about Buddhists, and Western Buddhists in particular, as to whether they are authentic or not.  It's the flip side to the other problem - the relative invisibility of Asian Buddhist communities to Western Buddhist communities.   And so occasionally I have heard remarks from some people who do not take Western Buddhists seriously (and they are not all of European descent).  But as the above picture shows, it is likely there were Western Buddhist practitioners before there were Korean or Japanese practitioners.   And yes,  indeed, it is because of Western imperialism...usurping Persian and Indian imperialism  all of which had long been rendered irrelevant by the time the Mongols arrived. 

And the history's not so important as the practice.