(As a footnote I just learned the “kali” of Kali Yuga & the divine Kali are two different and unrelated words. Learn something every day, my mom liked to say…)
The Buddhist Lotus Sutra also has a cyclic map, and, sure enough, we’re in mappo, the screwed area of that one, too…
I know there are days when I feel this is as true as can be.
And, of course, there are days when hope bubbles forth and I cannot be anything but optimistic.
The pure land is also present. Heaven. The golden age…
Sometimes I feel both feelings pretty much together, a war of hope and despair playing out in my heart.
And, I kind of think that’s the place to live.
People like to talk with me about the sex scandals of Zen. Some are sympathetic to the plight of those who’ve dedicated their lives to the project of bringing the Zen dharma West when confronted with teachers who can’t control their libidos, and sometimes worse. Others actually seem to relish the smouldering ruins of fantasies of perfect masters and take it as proof the whole things is a crock.
Me, I see this as the real world.
I don’t recall being promised shit that doesn’t stink.
I was offered the real.
And it turns out the real has moments of unspeakable joy. And moments of terror. And moments of tears. So, failure, falling short. And, love. And contentment.
Each matching the situation.
Like a box and its lid.
A friend asked if a Zen adept has anxiety dreams. If I’m a Zen adept, then the answer is yes.
The Dharma teaches we are constructed of many things, today we might say of genes and of history. Perhaps it is all history. Whatever, there is no escape from who we are, from our karma, from the consequences of our thoughts and actions. The great flow of cause and effect…
The way through, is through.
Just this without turning away, without too much by way of extra stories. Not gritting our teeth for the long downhill ride. But rather opening our hearts and minds as wide as the sky…
Heaven. And, hell.
And, you know, this works for me.
And so a bit of advice from an old Zen guy who has been around the block a couple of times, who has fallen down eight times, and has stood up nine (the next fall, and what happens, is of course, an open question) – all the spiritual advancement I claim, but enough to say
Do, this, and then like a flash mob, it can all fall together, and a great song is revealed…