Thursday, 24 November 2016

Pháp Dung's Timely Teaching

Meditation (17451472849)
I'm not much of a rock.

As a Zenner I aspire to be unmovable. The patron of my practice is a fellow who's made a career of it. And I often exhort others – principally here – to remain calm, to look deeply before acting, to avoid multiplying suffering by making a bad situation worse.

In the blogosphere, no-one can see your hypocrisy.

The fact is, I have a warrior spirit. I want to horse up and ram a swift lance through as many jerks as I can jab before one of them takes me out. Call it an ethnic weakness, but I am by nature a doer, a get'er'doner, and especially a defender. When arrogant pricks start kicking folk around, my first impulse is to cut them off at the knees.

Literally, if possible.

Which means that recent events have handed the monk I decided to be fourteen years ago a steep challenge. By way of meeting it, I've largely withdrawn into meditation and monastic discipline these last weeks, to sit with my conflicting values. If you were to ask me what honour demands in these times, depending on time of day you'd either hear, "Look deeply, understand, and proceed like a grown-up," or "Behead the mofos."

I'm working on that second thought.

And in that task I've greatly been helped by this Vox interview with Pháp Dung. As a senior student of Thich Nhat Hanh, he's received a great deal of training in mindful activism (a concept that conventional Zen considers oxymoronic, but one that Thich Nhat Hanh founded a lineage upon), as well as holding his ground under fire.

As I've found the student as lucid as the teacher, I pass his teaching on here to brothers and sisters who find themselves in the same dilemma.

I guess anybody can be a Buddhist when it's easy, eh?


(Photo courtesy of Moyan Brenn and Wikimedia Commons.)
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