Thursday, August 22, 2013

'Hey, That's Not a Tile You're Polishing!', or 'Whose Effort?'



Uchiyama Roshi, commenting on the nature of what he termed 'adult practice', said:
For children, kindergarten and elementary school are necessary. They have nothing to learn at a university. You have to be mature, an adult, to climb walls of doubts and difficulties that you will encounter in your practice. What is the exact difference between childish practice and adult practice? Simply put, the question is if you are able to wipe your own ass or not. Kids want to be carried around by "big people". An adult has to walk on his own feet, face the difficulties of his own life, solve his own doubts.
Who would learn to wipe everyone else's ass before learning to wipe his/her own? There's a lot of dirty asses out there.

When there's still someone else to blame for me not wiping my own ass then I'm still some way away from my own practice. I think it's all a valid observation, even if I don't always live up to it.

Now, time for a word from my esteemed and enlightened detractors (I hope you brought plenty of bog roll)... :-p

Regards,

Harry.

8 comments:

Dave St.Germain said...

you don't need to be an expert ass-wiper to point out when someone has shit dripping down his leg. :)

I had to look up "bog roll". here, we call it "TP for my bunghole".

Harry said...

Hi, Dave.

That observation might be complicated somewhat by an observation such as that 'one person's shit is another person's Miracle Whip'... but I'd rather not extend that particular metaphor just before dinner time. ;-)

Regards,

H.

Dave St.Germain said...

in that case, my miracle whip contribution is to say:

previously, you noted the absurdity of eating shit thinking it's chocolate ice cream. well, at least those are both brown. miracle whip is white!

another thing to say:

there's never been a single dirty ass :)

another thing to say (this might resonate with your cultural background...):

seung sahn used to refer to the sangha as like washing a bunch of potatoes. when they bump together in the water, they clean each other.

Harry said...

"there's never been a single dirty ass :)"

Hi, Dave.

Arriving at that viewpoint is actually not that difficult in practice. The difficult bit, I think, may be doing something useful with it in the messy details of a life.

"seung sahn used to refer to the sangha as like washing a bunch of potatoes. when they bump together in the water, they clean each other."

I've been at a lot of 'sanghas' that didn't seem to me to be sanghas at all as they merely bolstered people's tired old views and perceptions of themselves. Maybe an effective sangha could work like you say. It would require a certain sort of intention in coming together though, not just people banging into each other like floating vegetables.

Regards,

Harry.

Dave St.Germain said...

"I've been at a lot of 'sanghas' that didn't seem to me to be sanghas at all as they merely bolstered people's tired old views and perceptions of themselves. Maybe an effective sangha could work like you say. It would require a certain sort of intention in coming together though, not just people banging into each other like floating vegetables."

Sounds about right. But damned if I know how it'd work. My sangha is a potato and a revolving cast of flies.

an3drew said...

"seung sahn used to refer to the sangha as like washing a bunch of potatoes. when they bump together in the water, they clean each other."

having lived at both the providence (rhode island) and Cambridge (boston) kwan um zen centers I think my opinion is that the communal living doesn't work, principally because the diet doesn't suit most people or we all need to eat individually to tailor our nutrition to our own metabolisms

the kwan um school I feel was the most balanced and in its way open of the zen centers I lived in, certainly a breath of fresh air after the fascism of Japanese zen !

but the health problems destroy these places, you can't work against that sort of grain !

the kwan um school also seemed to understand the cardiovascular risks of sitting with their counterbalancing bowing routines, not overmuch sitting and walking chanting practice :o)

Dave St.Germain said...

heard it through the grapevine that the providence zen center is recently having a problem because the only people who show up are "mentally ill"...
not sure how they can reverse that trend.

an3drew said...

that's an interesting question dave, since what zen is really about is being insane but passing in the world as sane, then if you can't filter those who are insane but aren't functional then the center will be destroyed, but as a lot of the so called "practice" is about the insane as passing a s sane then if you filter then you are not being true to what zen is about :o)

so it's better to keep a distance and not be faced with that dilemma :o)

one of the root problems with zen is the transmission system doesn't work (except in my case :o), the ranks of the teachers now are with a very few exceptions filled with half witted mediocrities living some suburban dream of enlightenment

the neo-advaita/non duality scene has gutted zen, but its "self appointed" teacher system works better and the quality of awakening experiences can be better, tho it's still a load of suburbanized crap :o(

anyway todays increased infectious risk environment (rhinoviruses, stealth and nasty long exposure contagious conditions which alzheimer's may even be and god knows what else) has destroyed the old ways, oddly, we here on a blog is the new way............:o)