Tuesday, March 9, 2010


It got my attention yesterday when I read about a disagreement among some zen teachers. I was looking for background material on Charlotte Beck as I tried to introduce a friend to the book "Everyday Zen".  The book has given me as much or more feeling of gain in understanding myself and my mind as any in the last 10 years.  I looked up an article on Charlotte Beck in the Wikipedia and read that she designated two successors to the zen center and then later rescinded that action.

Since then, I have read about purity and impurity in various teachers.  "Impurity" usually connects to sex or money matters, thought by some or all to be improper or inappropriate. Sometimes, very strong feelings emerge when someone once thought, say, by me, for instance, to be heavenly and above both earthly and ordinary human matters, is shown not be.  When I have been thinking of someone as angelic and then find they don't really meet my definition of being like an angel, I may feel outraged or betrayed.  I like the response from my wife about other difficulties with different people on the web site "Dark Zen".  I described some of the squabbles and difficulties and she said,"Of course".  Of course of course.  When humans with heavenly and earthly attributes work with each other, they are going to be unable to hold the whole person in mind.  They will abstract the whole person into "the leader" or "the scoundrel" or "the group member". 

Of course, just because a scientist engages in behavior others don't approve, his or her results or theories may still be valid.  A detective who uncovers a crime may not pay all his taxes on time.  I admit it is difficult to steer between relevant and irrelevant records of behavior or indicators of tendencies and dispositions.  Some markers may indicate we shouldn't deal with that person and some might better be ignored.  In the Christian churches and the army and the government and all families, various actions and needs and decisions will occur, despite our doctrines and images.  That's life and although it can be a burden or an outrage, it can also be reassuring and endearing.

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