January 30-B, 2023

Beaver Pond 04/29/2010 Oil Paint Rendered — Bass Lake Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock, North Carolina
Zen is what happened
when Taoism met Buddhism.

The essence of Zen
is the essence of Taoism.
Their differences are insignificant
compared to their essentials.

For instance, the place of zazen 
to either is "Take it or leave it,
it is up to you.
If you like it, fine,
if you don't like it, fine."

As far as enlightenment goes,
"To seek it is not to find it,
and to find it is to realize
there is nothing to it.
You still have to mow the lawn
and wash the dishes,
and pay the bills."

Enlightenment is seeing,
and seeing is seeing what needs to be done
and doing it,
in each situation as it arises.

It is not getting, owning, possessing,
any advantage, gain, benefit, position, etc."

There are no billionaire/millionaire/wealthy
Zen masters or Taoist sages.

Zen and Taoism are not the way 
to anything other
than the way of seeing/doing,
with no interest in the outcome
beyond seeing/doing
what needs to be done about it
with no interest in anything
beyond seeing/doing here/now.

"For what?" you wonder?
For nothing beyond 
the joy of doing it
and the satisfaction of having done it--
and the opportunity 
to see/do it again, 

"Why would anyone bother?"
There are  no reasons to bother
with Taoism/Zen/Enlightenment!
If you do not care to see/do, fine.
If you care to see/do, fine.
What do you care to do?

Both Taoism and Zen fell on hard times
when they became popular
and their monasteries ceased to be places
older people could go
practice seeing/doing
and enjoying the community
of each others' company,
and became places where well-to-do parents
sent their children to become enlightened
because "It would be good for them."

Sitting zazen then became a way of
instilling discipline 
and passing time--
in other words, "busy work"
to keep the kids still and quiet.
And everything went to hell
at the same time political fortunes fell,
and persecution of Taoist/Zen monks 
destroyed much of the foundation
of the practices,
and gunpowder disappeared the value
of the martial arts
(Another way of passing the time,
instilling discipline),
and that was pretty much that.

All of which is to say
"A fish is only a fish,
and when you make too much of it,
you lose the whole point of it."
(Robert Ruark).

Enlightenment is a fish
by another name.


Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

One thought on “January 30-B, 2023

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