A Thought or Two on Purity’s Dualistic Traps

A Thought or Two on Purity’s Dualistic Traps March 16, 2012

Over at one of the blogs I like to read there’s some reflecting going on about whether to move to a host that will provide some support but who also have advertising. Sort of like what you see to the right of this posting…

The writers of that blog solicited comments from readers.

Of those who chose to respond it appears the majority are disdainful of going with advertising.

The premise seems to be that there should be no connection between the Dharma and money.

Reminds me of something I read a few years back where this perennial theme was once again being hashed out. The thing I recall was how one commentator said his teacher never took money for teaching. And then added how he had no idea how his teacher supported himself. The writer seemed to be suggesting this not knowing was a good thing. Pure.

Personally I found it creepy.

I think it important to make sure everyone has access to the Dharma.

I think there is nothing inherently unclean or unhealthy or impure about money.

In fact if one has any obligations in this world, family, paying attention to making a living is an obligation.

These are not contradictions. Nor even involving particularly difficult distinctions.

St Francis, a wonderful teacher in a tradition marred by purity rather more than Buddhism, pointed through the morass, I feel, when he said “preach the good news at all times. If necessary, use words.”

The good news I’ve heard and found in my being is that we’re products of cause and effect, a great play of events, each of us without substance but at the same time within our passingness, precious. Precious because we are also all one thing, all part of the great Boundless family.

Wisdom, healing, the good news, is that we need be tangled in neither our moments or our spaciousness.

Both and. Now this. Now that.

Our lives are a dance.

A dance with possible missteps. One confusing the great empty with a concept like purity.

Sometimes its small potatoes, like not wearing one’s rakusu (small Buddhist vestment) into the toilet. It can be seen as a discipline. But thinking the Dharma can be violated by being in proximity to shit, well, no…

Other times obsessions with purity can be particularly compromising, say like when drawing hard lines between making a living and living the Dharma.

Are there limits to how one should make a living in connection to one’s relationship to the Dharma?


Do these limitations have anything to do with running advertising on a blog?

Precious little.

Instead, perhaps we’d be better off assuming that there is nothing inherently wrong with money.

Just a thing that must dealt with, like eating, and clothing and shelter.

As with everything else the problem lies not with the thing but how we use it, how it uses us.

What is a full life, an honorable life, that doesn’t disdain this world look like?

Instead of purity, why not try respect?

How about a life without turning away?

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