Tuesday, August 28, 2007

If I Were to Create a New Religion...

...One thing that I would definitely put into my holy book - some extra details about my rules and their expiration. "Do not work on Saturdays if you worked more than 10 hours a day Monday through Friday". "Women should wear scarf around their faces to protect them. However, when times and situation change, community leaders should use their own wisdom to decide if it is still necessary".

Seeing how all religions mix highest spiritual ideas with outdated organization rules is funny and sad at the same time. This is how dogmas are born. Time goes on and many rules are not applicable anymore - but a founder of a religion has forgotten to put a mechanism in place to review and change them. None of those founders probably thought that their words will last for so long - in fact, most of them probably were not aware that they were creating a new world religion! And now everyone is afraid to take the responsibility and change rules that have become irrelevant.

And this is OK. Like anything else, religions are born, get older and die. As long as there is something new and fresh coming to replace them, the hope is still here.

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Great Simplifier

I have just come from a 4-day Zen retreat and want to share some impressions.

Zen-buddhism is all about pointers. Its main subject cannot be explained in words, yet the goal is to make a student realize it somehow. So a teacher tries to point at it, hoping that the student will finally take a look in that direction and notice obvious truth that has always been right under his/her nose.

The problem with Zen, however, is that there are just way too many pointers. There were so many teachers and so many writings in history of Zen and Buddhism in general, that by now it has become an equivalent of a highway with 5 road signs per every foot of the road. "Straight ahead", "Just stop", "Take left", "Take right". "Three treasures", "Four vows", "Right here now", "A formless field of benefaction", etc. etc... No wonder Zen students feel overwhelmed and confused. I certainly did for a while.

The truth is everywhere if you know how to look, so all these signs are valuable... and so confusing for inexperienced practitioner! You are moving ahead, as one sign told you, then another one makes you take a left turn, then right turn, then go back... So all you do is going in rounds, memorizing sutras and chants and never finding what you are looking for.

So what to do then? Simplify your practice. Stop reading spiritual books and analyzing all kinds of ambiguous phrases and self-contradicting teachings that are out there. Choose one simple question and concentrate on it until you penetrate through it and doubt whatsoever is left.

"Who am I?" "What the hell is going on?" Something like that. Just one simple question. Find a faith in your own ability to answer it and don't accept whatever conceptual crap your mind is offering. You are a sleeping Buddha. You have all it takes.

And forget about everything else, it won't help you. More is not better.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Something About Enlightenment

I wonder why I have stopped posting for such a long time... Lack of energy, that's what it was. Anyway, I will try to write more, just for myself.

Enlightenment - I can compare it with lightning. The charge is already there sitting in the clouds above your head and waiting for a suitable channel to come through. All you need to do is to mark yourself available.

As they say, never be the highest nor the wettest one during a thunderstorm. Well, here it is the opposite. Get up and open yourself and it will come through you with such overwhelming force that you could never imagine. It will certainly burn "you" to the ashes!

You don't even need to do anything. Just realize that things like believing in concepts, expectations and self-protecting make no sense whatsoever. They are like a whirpool in the water that keeps stirring itself. They are an unnecessary tension creating a shield around you that cannot be penetrated by enlightenment. Relax - and everything is immediately solved. Phew! :)

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