Gutterball Enlightenment


<bee in bonnet/>

Enlightenment in this lifetime or the next is a myth perpetrated by monks and snake-oil salesmen. A scheme utilized by motivational speakers swaddled in priestly robes and marketers with flashy foam vajra-swords to keep us by our bodhisattvic short-hairs. Each willing to stick any ritualized pacificer that they can find into our collective mouths as long as it keeps us silent, simple, satisfied and stupid.

Given that institutional Buddhism is largely concerned with selling books, sold-out speaking tours and self-perpetuating their own mock, perceived authority; it falls on us to wonder why should we even practice at all? Our practice is so tied into established authority figures that we are quick to defend their mistakes while at the same time lauding their impenetrable compassion and serene wisdom. We put them on a pedestal because we are so fucking scared that if we don’t project something spiritual somewhere that it is going to dry up and float away like ashes in the wind. The whole scene is laughable. Lineage and authenticity are just fairie tales that shoot down our chimney and fills our minds with gob-stobbing goodies. Secure and happy in the fact that we are following the True Path, we make-believe a gutterball into a strike. Ultimately, the illusions presented by gurus and roshis will be seen as card-tricks and hand-jobs. We will grow out of the social scene and the leap the fences that history places before us and burn the bridges that religion built for us – convoluted, infinite, contrite little Escharian bridges that backtrack and confuse when all we need to do to span the river is close our eyes and walk.

No matter how hard we try we will suck at our practice at times. It is as simple as that and we should probably get used to dealing with it and moving on.

We will  all eventually answer our own call to practice. We ring our own bell … and we don’t need a 501 (c) 3 to do it. Just a hammer and the bare arm willing to swing it. Listen to and garner wisdom from those you respect and trust. When they get wordy or attached then drop them and move on to someone else – maybe come back later. Relationships with the wise will last as long as they need to. No need to pledge anything more than your willingness to learn.

Drop the pretense that our practice and our life are seperate. The only seperation that exists is the one that is perpetrated by organizations that feed upon our fear and our insecurities. Because of it, we can’t practice without permission. We are issued cards on what is approved and not approved. Politically pidgeon-holed and spiritually sent to the back of the class. We get a dharma finger-wag as if our practice were objects for sale at the marketplace, our enlightenment a mental states dangled in front while we drag a cart full of fools behind us. Janitor-Roshi and Deskworker-Dakini will provide the best guidance we will ever see. A supreme body, purpose or guide isn’t helpful unless we can express our practice through it. Don’t walk in the footsteps of Christ or sit under the bodhi tree. Every footstep we take in the mud, every split nerve, every bloody nose is our practice taking shape. Every argument and every bout of make-up sex is our practice walking on its own feet. These vajra-boots were made for walking…

Our stories, failures, poems and pictures are our expression of this life’s koan. That expression is gazed upon by the watchful eyes of children, the judging eyes of peers and our neighbors to giggle at it. In turn it is integrated into their own koan. Nothing to explain that isn’t already fucking obvious. We are here and others surround us. They surround us with love, hate and mind-numbing indifference.It is for us to engage that with whatever tools we have at hand whatever wisdom we can dredge out of the mucky slime of our experience, with whatever compassion a tired body can muster. For better or for worse we swing that hammer down and forge our own prajna sword. It isn’t handed to us by gurus. It doesn’t come from another country. It is in our mantle, longing to be in our lap.

Every word you speak and I listen to is a piece of my practice. Every word I write and you read is a piece of my practice. Not a rationalization or even an explanation of the absolute but a god-damned mundanely glorious piece of it.

Now take a piece of prajna-pie and stop rolling gutterballs and pretending they are strikes…it is fucking embarrassing.

</bee in bonnet>



11 thoughts on “Gutterball Enlightenment

  1. John,I am so “there” with you right now man. I’ve got a post coming about it as well, this, your post, being a spark for it.. Thanks for the “no holds barred” commentary as usual~

  2. No problem Nate. The post bagan as something far more innocuous and completely unrelated but the topic began to present itself and my frustration as I wrote. So there you go. Bee in bonnett dealt with, removed and placed in a patch of clover.

  3. Right On, Jack! You just summed up my feelings to perfection. You provided the words I haven’t come up with. I was thinking just yesterday, if a group of like-minded folks wished to meet for philosophizing or just socializing with compadres, then meet in a bar. Or in the woods. Or at the beach. No building, no dues, no board of directors, no articles of incorporation, no priest. And I said “like-minded folks”: hell, anybody can come. Your’s/mine/others’ realization of this truth you presented so well, is in fact, enlightenment. Peace and Love!

  4. I was worried there, just for a moment, WHERE those “ritualized pacifiers” were going to be put. Enjoyed your post. Agreed with some of it, could find no fault with any of it. Blessings,Rob

  5. Great post, John! I’ve spent more time than I like to admit, wondering, maybe I’ve missed something, maybe if I practiced this way, or that, then I might nail that strike. Then I eventually come back to my senses. But the gurus are always waiting to lead us to a “better way”. We can be grateful for the mud and the blood that’s always an approachable teacher in our everyday lives.

  6. Great, strong stuff, Jack: “We put them on a pedestal because we are so fucking scared that if we don’t project something spiritual somewhere that it is going to dry up and float away like ashes in the wind.”

  7. Thanks for pointing out to me that this blog was missing from my blog roll. Now I can keep up 🙂 Ditto what NellaLou said.

  8. My GURU = Give Up Religion, Ultimately.Mara’s finest deceptions come dressed in holy robes and flowery words. “Higher Self” is Ego Drunk on Pseudo-Dharma.Aspiring to some attainment the final trap. “Enlightenment” is undoing. Attachment to all this too must go. The spiritual crowd can stuff that in their pipe and smoke it, but few will inhale.Truth realization is Karmapocalypse!

  9. Great post–as usual. I truly believe that for a spiritual practice to be worth anything that we must incorporate it into our personal “settings” so to speak. One size does NOT fit all. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

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