30 Days 30 Posts: Day4
or Welcome to another installment of Thirty Days Of Narcissism!
So, I guess I'll talk about Zen again.
Like a lot of people I really knew nothing of Zen. I was aware of books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (which I never read) and how in popular culture "zen" was synonymous with being tranquil or placid. Somewhere in my hardcore-atheist phase I had heard that Zen offered spirituality without God so I decided to check it out. I watched a documentary about Edward Espe Brown, a Zen priest and cookbook author, called How To Cook Your Life. At the time he came across as neurotic and whiny. I actually told to a friend, "If this is Zen, I want nothing to do with it." I find it humorous that I eventually got into Zen because my first exposure to it completely turned me off.
Since discovering Brad Warner and embracing Sōtō style Zen I have listened to a dharma talk or two by Edward Espe Brown and have warmed up to him. In hindsight, Edward was really just being himself. He was in the moment and not putting on a false airs. He can be a little bit of a mess sometimes, and what do you know, I can too. That means so much more to me than just faking it and acting the part of what a detached "Zen master" should look like.
A quick thought: One of the things that you notice after getting into Zen and meeting other practitioners is how neurotic and downright crazy (I mean that in a loving way) some, ok, most of them are. You don't decide to start twisting your legs into pretzels and staring at the wall for prolonged periods of time if you're already a well-adjusted individual.
Bonus video: Here is a Brad Warner's ordaining teacher, Gudo Wafu Nishijima, demonstrating how to practice Sōtō style Zazen, or Shikantaza. And with that I bid you all a fond adieu! See you later! またね。( ﾟ▽ﾟ)/