15.6.10

Fault Finding, Finding Ourselves

A Zen friend I've been in and and out of correspondence with for the last five or so years made a comment in a recent e-mail similar to "I find it funny how you only contact me when you need something."

I found this hilarious myself.  Because he is totally right.  I come to him and his organization when I want something.   What I am looking for is fellowship and camaraderie and peers, an opportunity to share my practice and experiences with others and in this particular case I am making efforts trying to expand that circle just a little bit wider, bringing the sangha jewel to those it has not been available to.

I also found it funny because the last time the above individual tried to contact me I was cut off from communication, deployed and in harms way, which I had posted notice of on the blog and the only contact I got from the zen friend mentioned above was one asking for me to post a link to his new digs on the internet.

It is funny how that mirror principal works.  Those faults we find or characteristics we don't care for in others are so often just our very own.

I had a sort of falling out with this friend in the past over this very same thing.  But I've gotten softer now.

I just smile, and hope that the lesson here serves as a reminder to my self and others to look closely at our aversions and find their root.  Chances are that it is just you.   Like a well looking back at a donkey our own reflection vex us.

Yours in practice,
風剣

12 comments:

Harry said...

Hi Jordan,

Hope you're well.

Yes, I too think we should consider our stake in what others do.

On the other hand, in the Dharma, someone who is really acting like an asshole is really making an asshole, and so there may really be assholes as opposed, say, dignified-acting Buddhist Ancestors.

Integrity is NOT a given.

'Asshole' is just the word I'm using here, I leave it up to you.

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

... or maybe I should say that integrity IS a given, but that ACTING with integrity is not a given.

Regards,

H.

Jordan said...

Hi Harry,

I'm up too late! but I think I am fairly healthy.

Thanks for the kind inquiry.

I think that most people sincerely feel that they are acting with integrity.

I attempt to do my part by trying not to cling to real or imagined affronts to my own riotousness... or righteousness. But I fail allot. That other guy, well I'm trying not to worry about his practice so much, (even thought I fail at that too.) After all that's his thing to work out. But I do think a person like that needs good friends as much as anyone else.

All the best,
Jordan

Harry said...

Hi Jordan,

I think friendship (particularly internet 'friendship') is widely misunderstood and often lacks integrity.

It may be a great act of friendship, and an act of integrity, to let a friend know that he/she is being an asshole. If he/she is truly a friend of integrity then he/she will listen... eventually maybe.

What certainly lacks integrity is being dishonest and deferring to, thereby enabling, the unreasonable aspirations and offences of others because it is 'good manners' or 'proper procedure'. 'Good manners' and good procedure are certainly important in other situations.

Sometimes it seems we just have to put the welly boots on, hop off our nicely scented cloud of 'my practice', and jump headfirst into the real world of real people and relating to them, eh, Action Man?

All IMO...

Regards,

Harry.

Jordan said...

Hi Harry,

I agree, there is allot of confusion in any sort of effort at communication. It can be really hard to tell where a person is coming from and it can also be really hard to even know if a person is acting with integrity. But I think that is the case with any relationship, weather it be over the internet or face to face.

What certainly lacks integrity is being dishonest and deferring to, thereby enabling, the unreasonable aspirations and offences of others because it is 'good manners' or 'proper procedure'. 'Good manners' and good procedure are certainly important in other situations.

I think we're in agreement on that, however I also think it is important to act with tact, but I do fail at that sometimes too.

You have got me wondering now, from the nicely scented cloud of "My Practice" what is not action?
How is it possible (outside of being a hermit, and even that is an action) to not be taking action in the real world of real people and relating to them?

I've missed you around here Harry. Thanks for stopping in.

Jordan said...

Oops, should have said the opportunity for (allot of confusion in that first sentence...and there it is...

Harry said...

"You have got me wondering now, from the nicely scented cloud of "My Practice" what is not action?"

Hi Jordan,

I'm not suggesting you do any of this, but zazen can be used as a place to hide, to avoid life, to avoid responsibilities such as pointing out to someone that they are being an 'asshole' (insert preferred or more appropiate term).

Hanging around worrying about if we're 'right' or 'wrong' in doing something can also be avoidance, or just plain confusion, and can stop us from actually doing something.

Disingenuously doing the passive-aggressive thing of being a 'nice Buddhist'-type asshole is not sincere action either of course... And it's particularly nasty case if we convince our selves that we are actually being a 'nice' or 'right' Buddhist in doing so.

Sheepishly defering to 'enlightened teachers' who abuse the positions of power that we put them in is also a very stark sort of avoidance on many levels too I think. This may be an important one where Buddhism is concerned as new versions of the guru game seem to pop up all the time. People still want the clearly impossible myth to be true.

Yeah, it's good to know exactly how we make a balls of it. A true good friend can help us by pointing these real nitty-gritty things out with genuine regard and integrity. An asshole might just see us as some sinful, flawed person who is at odds with their own unrealised personal values and/or self important image.

Regards,

Harry.

Jordan said...

Hi Harry,
I have totally used my Zazen practice as a place to hide. That happens over and over again. I think that anyone who has got any time on the cushion who says they have never done that is probably in denial.

And I agree that hanging around worrying about right and wrong can be paralyzing.

Disingenuously doing the passive-aggressive thing of being a 'nice Buddhist'-type asshole is not sincere action either of course... And it's particularly nasty case if we convince our selves that we are actually being a 'nice' or 'right' Buddhist in doing so.

I have to look up passive aggressive every time someone mentions it. But I think it is a kind of normal phenomenon we're going to run into especially in this day and age where people are not talking to each other within striking distance of a slap, kick, or right hook. I don't like it but I'm probably guilty of that kind of behavior myself although I have not explored it too deeply.


Sheepishly defering to 'enlightened teachers' who abuse the positions of power that we put them in is also a very stark sort of avoidance on many levels too I think. This may be an important one where Buddhism is concerned as new versions of the guru game seem to pop up all the time. People still want the clearly impossible myth to be true. Yeah we totally have to look out for that one! This kind of stuff has caused all kinds of embarrassment, but not only in Buddhist circles, but of course Catholic, Hindu, Muslim Jewish, and pretty much anywhere there has been authority figures. Question authority! I used to have a button on a jean jacket that said that.

I got to run off to work.
Thanks for your comments! I appreciate them and I was serious when I said I missed you around here. You make me think!

Mike Cross said...

Hi Jordan,

"I've gotten softer now"

Ha! Sounds like a prelude to your next post confessing that you have flown into a rage and beheaded your neighbour's cat or some such.

ZEN HYPOCRITES LIKE YOU MAKE ME SICK, TRYING TO CONVINCE SELF AND OTHERS THAT THEY ARE MAKING PROGRESS WHEN THEY ARE JUST ENDLESSLLY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES...!!!

And what's all this rubbish you are writing about a so-called "mirror principle"? I don't believe a word of it.

(Only kidding)

Mike

Jordan said...

Hi Mike,

The neighbors don't have a cat.
Their dog who's excrement they don't always pick up after is ignorant of what she's doing so not a fair target for me either, the neighbor though...

(kidding)


ZEN HYPOCRITES LIKE YOU MAKE ME SICK, TRYING TO CONVINCE SELF AND OTHERS THAT THEY ARE MAKING PROGRESS WHEN THEY ARE JUST ENDLESSLLY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES...!!!

I know this feeling so well. And I am a bit clueless of how much of that is due to faulty sensory appreciation and dodgy vestibular reflexes.

The mirror principal... Gosh I've found it to be a pretty reliable friend.

Keeping on,
Jordan

Jordan said...

Hi Mike,

The neighbors don't have a cat.
Their dog who's excrement they don't always pick up after is ignorant of what she's doing so not a fair target for me either, the neighbor though...

(kidding)


ZEN HYPOCRITES LIKE YOU MAKE ME SICK, TRYING TO CONVINCE SELF AND OTHERS THAT THEY ARE MAKING PROGRESS WHEN THEY ARE JUST ENDLESSLLY GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES...!!!

I know this feeling so well. But I am still I am a bit clueless of how much of that is due to faulty sensory appreciation and dodgy vestibular reflexes.

The mirror principal... Gosh I've found it to be a pretty reliable friend.

Keeping on,
Jordan

Flyingpig said...

Jordan,

I'll be your Zen buddy! Contact me whenever you want. If you're in New Orleans, our temple is your temple. (You can sleep in our spare room.)

We don't talk that much, but I read your blog when ever it comes up. My sense is you're the salt of the earth type person, and those are my people.

Peace from New Orleans East,

-Austin

Thanks for looking!