Buddhist Dharma Chat: Looking for Something…

img_1670You’ve heard it all before: “Like looking for a needle in a haystack. Don’t cry over spilled milk.” Etcetera etcetera. And then there’s the Buddha’s most famous saying: “Let that sh*t go.” Yuk yuk. Of course the Buddha didn’t really say that, but it can be inferred. Many things are inferred in the name of the Buddha, but some probably miss the mark. The Facebook page ‘Buddhist Wisdom’ just changed their name to ‘Healing Humanity’. Huh? How do you spell m-a-r-k-e-t-i-n-g?

The Buddha himself was not infallible, either, of course, as a human, but his paradigm and his belief system was and is powerful, so that’s what has meaning to me. Buddha’s Big Deal was, in a nutshell, the recognition of the prevalence of suffering, and the means to avoid it via the middle path, mediating extremes and doing good, and especially—don’t do bad…

Everything else, whether karma, past lives, rebirth, samsara, shunyata, anatta, anicca or whatever else are all sorta-maybe-kinda-almost-you know-like a-more or less-don’t-bug-me-I’m-meditating. No, Buddha was not about renunciation of all things all the time. He was all about renunciation of the wrong things at the right time…

Monks and priests are highly specialized at it, of course, but that’s to be expected. In contrast to the West, the paradigm of the activist priest is replaced by the meditation master. Monks are judged and graded on the basis of how well they can do nothing, absolutely nothing, in a meditative posture, and for how long. Ever seen an American football linebacker in the lotus position? It’s possible, of course…

The point is that: even though Buddhism is in many ways the opposite of the Western European-style paradigm, that doesn’t mean that it is irrational—just the opposite. Christians are irrational, sacrificing all for love, or their art or their passion, can’t buy a thrill so they’ll just make up a new one. The good Buddhist does nothing if not slowly deliberately pursue his goals, one step at the time, with multiple minute corrections…

You’ve heard it all before: “Easy does it. Steady as she goes.” Etcetera etcetera. Yet Christians and Westerners in general pride themselves in doing the exact opposite. They live for the swoon of love. They die for a better orgasm—literally. Alcohol is currency because life is just too boring without it. So is it any wonder that other drugs slip in through the same side door?

Terence McKenna and others may be right that the origins of consciousness are to be found in the ingestion of psychotropic substances, but it’d be hard to prove, and is largely irrelevant, anyway. Here we are right here right now, and sustaining our precious consciousness and precious environments are all that matters. How we got here is largely and merely academic…

So when I lost my lens cap (Canon, yes) last week somewhere on the streets near Bagan, Myanmar, I’ll have to admit that the easiest thing to do would be to just ‘let it go, let it go.’ But would that be the most fruitful? There’s another saying you hear all the time: “all in due time, all in due time.” So shouldn’t I at least try to find it, then ‘let it go’ if all else fails, and at the right time? Why, but of course, simply a matter of re-tracing ones steps…

And there it was, some one hundred meters/yards from the place of my realization that it was missing, a bit dusty but none the worse for wear. So what does that mean? Not much to anyone but myself, of course, and not so much even then, except that the paradigm works—the Buddhist paradigm works. If I find that lens cap, then cool. If I don’t find it, still cool. It’s a no-lose/no-lose situation. Notice I didn’t say win/win. That’s the point. I once found my sunglasses in the ocean, man, not the beach, man, the ocean…

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