[Buddha-l] Laughing at enlightenment

W. Codling waynewc at telus.net
Wed May 18 12:44:58 MDT 2005

Jim Peavler wrote:

"In my own study of the randomness of the universe and the laws of cause 
and effect I have found that it is not one to two or twelve, but desire 
(suffering) hopes for seven or eleven. This, as I understand it, is the 
"middle way". "

Jim, did you mean to say that the middle way is simply a hoping for the 
best or a desire for good fortune?  I know about craving, of course, as 
the original sin of Buddhism, but how could it be contrary to the spirit 
of Zen to wish to, for example, salvage a relationship or simply to be a 
good person?  The record applauds monk who fervently desire a fortunate 
rebirth in order to continue their teaching and practice of the dharma.

As a zennist, what I want to do is find ways to use my prohibitively 
expensive training to be of real help to regular people.  How does a 
middle way approach help salvage relationships, for example; or sustain 
them?  How does meditation fit in?  Real life is all about 
relationships, while this non-dualism stuff, at least as it has come 
down to me as just one of thousands of faceless Zen students, is more 
about exclusion than connection.  It does have the happy consequence of 
impeding monks from 'entering the marketplace', supposedly the pinnacle 
of zen practice.  Talk of non-dualism does have some purchase in the 
marketplace, such as Zinn's gospel of zen in the boardroom, but down at 
the bowling alley it's virtually useless. Of course, few Zen teachers 
see themselves as part of the bowling alley crowd, so maybe that's 
understandable.   But I genuinely like and respect many of the people 
who use that vocabulary.  I don't think of them as being lazy or 
entrenched or as having unwholesome motives.  But even so, at least in 
my experience, such persons are often surprisingly defensive around any 
attempt to explore the axioms of non-dualism.

Thank you to everyone who responded to my queries about non-dualism.  
It's barely possible that I learned something by way of the responses. 

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