Monday, October 01, 2007

Thich Nhat Hanh in Pasadena

The guided meditation was excellent, and the UNESCO statistics on US food production were jaw-dropping. I'd like the cite, but I well can believe what he told us: that the amount of food eaten by animals which are slaughtered for food consumed in the US is greater than the food required to feed 8 billion people. That our civilization is dying, and will die, and that therefore we should accept and prepare for that death, is a timely and gentle reminder to prepare. The manner of its death can be of our choosing, and I'd like it to be gentle and comfortable. For all our sakes, and all our childrens'.

This was where Nhat Hanh ended. He began well too; but I think he's lost touch with his American audience, when he should know us better. After all, we've bought his books, and he's been visiting the US to teach since 1960. In that time, Zen has had a growing impact on American society. The opening section of the lecture about falling in love with a cloud was good (that it becomes rain and we drink the cloud when it has gone), the section on loving Christ unnecessary; but the worst of all was the miracle of cures for cancer.

No, no, no! Please, I don't want the Buddha to tell me that accepting the inevitability of death means I can hope to postpone my death, I want my inevitable death to happen with the inevitability of death. There are enough whacky nut-job cults that pretend they can cure fatal diseases. Death is an illusory transition. There is no time of death: life is an illusion, and self awareness doubly so.

The Monks of Deer Park Monastery showed me that the Monastery needs a shakeup. They are not grounded, they have too much "because" and "why". The monks are allowed to be far too earnest for my liking. I'd hit them upside the head. KATZ!

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