Big Z, Little Z

This blog, and a few people close to me, are about the only places in my life where I talk openly about Zen or Buddhism. Everywhere else, I don't mention it unless people ask specifically about it. Trying to push the subject on others never works. Most people have warped ideas about what the whole thing consists of, thanks to popular culture, and are generally not serious about correcting any misconceptions they might have about it. If they demonstrate that they're curious, genuinely curious and not just making conversation, that's different.

But what most people know about this stuff is somewhere between the Dalai Lama (another figure people think they know more than they actually do about) and hippies taking LSD. As it turns out, not talking about this stuff much with other people caused me to have a profoundly different relationship with it than I might have.

For one thing, I'm not all that interested in trying to bring other people around to my way of thinking, for the reasons cited above. People rarely respond to direct appeals to Change Their Ways; they respond most to emotional arguments — all the more reason not to abuse that in the name of some higher good. So apart from my posting here, I've kept talk of it close to the vest.

What came of that was, mainly, no need to prove anything to anyone. Oh, sure, I'm talking about it here, but not because I'm expecting random Internet Folks to pop out in the comments and challenge me in dharma combat (this never works on the internet, by the way; that's something you only do face-to-face anyway, and only in certain Zen lineages). If I talk about it here it's only because I'm trying to document my thoughts about it for my own sake as much as anyone else who might happen along.

One very nice side effect of not feeling like you have anything to prove is you can focus on the things in your life you actually care about, instead of the things you only think you care about. Persuading others becomes less important than honing one's own craft and discipline. Let those things speak for themselves; they'll speak loudest for the ones who most need to hear it.

Tags: Buddhism  Zen 

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This page contains a single entry by Serdar Yegulalp in the category Uncategorized / General, published on 2020/02/02 13:00.

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