Cookie-Cutter Buddhist Practice

All roads lead to the same mountaintop.

Be a lamp unto yourself. Work out your liberation with diligence.

We all have a responsibility; to ourselves and to others, to those we never met and those that we spend our daily lives with, to strangers and to lovers, to aspire to our own liberation. Damn, those words sound far too lofty to be coming from me. I am a bag of wind.
However, it seems to me that we are often stuck in the middle of a pissing match between opposing (really?) schools and sects. Teachers and roshis engage in a Dharma Combat that seems more appropriate for the Jerry Springer Show than for a meditation hall.

Organizational Buddhism is fine but don’t get too wrapped up into the hype that it sometimes represents. When someone, Roshi or not, tells you that their path is the correct one and all others are wrong – they are stifling your growth and building their own ego. For me, the truth seems simple. The mountain has many paths to the top but not every one is right for every practitioner. We choose our own route. Take the time to learn about the other paths and incorporate what seems right into your own practice. Ignore the boundaries that the patriarchs and the past have placed upon us. Ignore whether or not it is “authentic” or not. Ignore whether or not your practice is the same practice that your sangha-mates participate in. If your practice includes other religious and spiritual outlets, then go with it.

In the long run, all of us (Roshis, monks and lay persons) are walking bags of dung but even dung-sacks deserve a practice that is individual to them. Be a Buddhist pirate and pillage these schools for what is useful to you and leave the rest. Settle down with one if you pillaging days are over but remember that it may only be temporary. It may be time to take to the seas again.

Pirates are awesome.



11 thoughts on “Cookie-Cutter Buddhist Practice

  1. Not trying to be right, but just to go in the right direction, can be a practice to it self.

    All the best.

  2. ..the teaching can detach from teacher for amplified experience beyond reflexive template hand clapping.. as artist eye reach for revelatory risks..of unrecognizable response..

  3. @ Jordon – Yes, I agree. I don't want to be correct, just not going backwards is good enough for me.

    @ Brad4D – Ummm…what? You completely lost me there. That stream of consciousness stuff can seriously kill a perfectly good buddha buzz.

    @ egregores – My next post will be Brownie-Bin Buddhism: Fuge or Double Fudge. Enjoy!

    @ Kyle – If I suddenly found myself not in a fog, I wouldn't know which way to turn.

    @ Adam – I don't often say this but you are wrong. Lets not bring that age-old debate here. My plundering of Buddhism tends to be far to loud to come from a ninja. More of a "boomstick" and axe sort of guy.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Jamie G.:
    Awe… validation. I feel all warm and gooey. Or I just might be too close to Kyle and his "Koan" practice. @ Kyle: Dude, cover that thing up!

    This may be an utterly pretentious statement, but I heard recently that sometime it isn't us who chooses the path, but the path choosing us. What I get from that is I make these big plans of what I see myself doing from some big moment of realization, only to find that I've gone off in a totally different direction given some time. Like how I intended to go hardcore down the Theravadan route in the likes of Daniel Ingram, hotly pursuing awakening through moving through the Progress of Insight, only to find myself being enamored with Zen and hiking up a totally unexpected route.

  5. I've recently been witnessing a lot of on-line battles over different schools of yoga…with the same arguments about "authenticity" and the same ego crap…it all seems ridiculous but, then, at least it's somewhat comforting to know we're not alone, with the different schools of every spiritual, political, or any other kind of ism are all doing the same thing…some of them quite violently…and, in the end, it's not helping anyone to get much of anywhere…

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