Thursday, 30 January 2014

Kyôsaku Kyôsaku

Two days ago I found this teaching in my Twitter feed:

"Treat non-useful thoughts like undesirable smells: don't dwell on them, don't identify with them, don't get attached to them, don't get lost in them - simply let them float away."

It's Zen at its trenchant best: laconic, practical, self-evident. A classic and useful taste of humanity's most down-to-earth religion. I immediately stored the passage for a later Kyôsaku and went about determining credit. (It was attributed only to "tad".)

After some digging, I discovered that "tad" is not a guy, it's a business. Specifically, it's something called The T.A.D. Principle, which is apparently a book, though the advert is coy on this point. It's even coyer about a later product, the 21-day meditationSHIFT Programme, which costs $29 and promises to revolutionise your life, though it too is evidently 15th century technology. (I could be wrong; neither of these "works" is described as a book. They aren't described as anything.)

About here you'd expect me to go off on a rant about New Age self-help hucksters. And I'd like to. But the thing is, I've spent some time perusing T.A.D.'s promotional copy, and found not a word I could dispute. It's all straight-up conventional Zen. Great stuff, in fact. No doubt the testimonials ("Thank you for teaching me how to meditate, and how to get control of my runaway mind! [emphasis original]") are sincere and authentic.

And while that $29 price tag (fair price for a book of this kind, if it is a book) is technically selling Zen – and that's immoral – your local Zen master might put the bite on you for much more. Folks have paid thousands; even tens of thousands. And frankly, if you've reached the place where you can't breathe – from grief, depression, or other forms of world-weariness – a handful of coppers spent on the right book could save your life.

So I guess my only serious objection is the implied claim that the unnamed author or authors invented this stuff. Which he, she, or they did not. If the marketing snippets are representative, this is plain old brilliantly effective Zen. To be sure, the word "Zen" appears nowhere on the site, but so long as the author or authors don't assert some bogus copyright, the karmic implications seem moderate.

On the other hand, my patented Crusty Old Hermit Programme is cheaper and quicker than other leading brands. If you click before midnight tonight, you can take advantage of our Special Introductory Offer: to wit, nothing less than the FULL TEXT of our Dynamic Life-Coachment S.E.L.F.-Training Modality:

"Get over yourself."

Free to you, because you look like a nice person. But I wouldn't say no to a cup of tea.

(Portrait of original crusty old hermit Bodhidharma courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and a generous photographer.)
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