I don't know quite where this one goes. Today I saw something cruel. It was hard to watch and feel. Later, I saw something beautiful. It was also hard to watch and feel.
The cruel thing was early, but long in coming. Can we really be cruel except to those we love?
The beautiful thing was an evening with your SF young dharma group. There were maybe 20 of us and the theme was "Sob Stories". Much was done to explain the idea, but once it started rolling, everyone knew just where to go. We were invited to share stories that had us stuck and caused suffering. There was, I believe, a part b to that, but it never occurred. Never needed to I guess.
What stories. A girl whose mother handed her a suicide note that she had written several years earlier about how she didn't love her and had to kill herself. A girl who grew up on welfare and bounced from fosterhome to fosterhome, each more traumatic. A man whose anger and pain choked him from several unsuccesful surgeries when he was a kid. A girl who took the mantle of weird that followed the clothes her mother made her. Rape and battery, uncertainty that one was loveable and perhaps broken. Everyone just poured out. There was no way, no room maybe, to pity, because there was no way to stand above someone. There was no helping except stepping into the emotions pouring out and swimming there, noticing how their trauma was your trauma. There was no broken because there was no unbroken. There was no pain because pain was who we were. There was nothing wrong with us, and no more stories, because the stories were so human and we are so perfect at that.
And so something happened. Like Josh Bartok used to say when we chanted in Sanskrit, it doesn't matter that we don't understand. It changes us anyway.
“A Course on Koans” is the delusion-riddled work of Chris Kufu (“Wind in the Void”) Wilson, who began practicing Zen in 1967. He regards Taizan Maezumi, Robert Aitken, and David Weinstein as his root teachers. Each of them pecked at his shell until he “completed” the never-ending koan curriculum of the Harada-Yasutani lineage.
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