Something Mumon wrote here inspired me to respond with this mini-rant here. Since I rarely have the time at a keyboard to write anything, I thought I would share my careless and hypocritical keystrokes here.

A few years back there seemed to be a boom of amateur "Practice" blogs that I really enjoyed and found inspiration in. Real salt of the earth stuff. People's own accounts of how there practice was in the moment.

Now the blogosphere appears to be dominated by semi pros, know it alls, priests, and strivers that seem to have sucked the life out of what was once so vibrant. And also seems to have distracted people form turning their gaze inward and looking deeply. So much easier to try and get a rise out of people or attack someone else's path than get them to start thinking critically about their own actions.


So it goes.

Where did that come from?

All the best, Jordan


Anonymous said...

A few reasons maybe:

1. Men like to fight in some way.

2. Practice becomes mundane - not something to write about.

3. What better way to ignore your doubts than by claiming "My way is the best way". Would you have joined the Marines if they had claimed to be "The Fourth best fighting force in the World".

4. The ego latches onto anything that makes it feel unique and special. What better than claiming unique insights, special practice and decrying the qualifications of others.

5. Just because something is difficult does not make it valuable but we like to think that something that is hard to attain must be valuable. "Selling Water by the river". Oh if only I had the special training and qualifications to know what that Koan meant ;-)

OBTW liking the new pictorial look.

SlowZen said...

Thanks for drifting in Mike.

1. Maybe better to fight against our own faults.

2. I would say it evolves and gets more challenging to write about… At least that is how it is for me at the moment.

3. I had a snarky comeback here, but instead I'll say that I would have opted for the service that had the unique qualities of family tradition, military excellence, challenge, and distance form the American midwest.

4. There is an old saying: "You are special, Just like everyone else."

5. Presently I am working on the how to adjust the F-stops, aperture size, ISO, and shutter speed and not make a mess out of the composition koan.

Thanks, it's easier for me to post one of the few pictures that come out well enough than to say something intelligent. Glad you are enjoying them.

Sean said...

Perhaps some of us, all we know is striving, where it would seem to be the social "norm", throughout one's life. Among so many polar opposites of being, it could seem that it was either "that" or "complacency", in such as how one could approach life itself.

I could wish to suggest it is a judgmental view, in all that striving - judging oneself and others for the striving, and judging oneself and others for "complacency". I know it is a naive view. How, though, does one remove oneself from the striving, without being viewed in some disfavoring way?

Sociologically, I think it boils down to some matters of social identity - I think it can be honestly viewed, in the abstract, as so. In a simplification of the concept of social identity: People want to identify with "success". What, then, is "success"?

I think success is the withered tree - personal success, as I view my own self and nature. I do not always uphold that ideal, well - still being sensitive to the social sway of striving. Inasmuch, I have sometimes made some noisy writing, myself - at which, my apology would be only "par for the course", I'm sure.

If nature goes deeper than striving, I could not hardly wish to strive to indicate it as so. If people wish to strive, striving is ordinary too - I only wish people would not pee on my shoes, in all that, but such is life, apparently.

NellaLou said...

You make a good point Jordan. That is how and why I started blogging. It was about every day stuff. I used to keep a pretty comprehensive list of practice blogs as well. Then I and others started getting attacked. Repeatedly. Sometimes even by big Buddhist publications who dismissed bloggers in an incredibly offensive way. So for a while I got defensive, then I pushed back aggressively, then stopped blogging or only blogged intermittently for quite a while. I've seen the same thing happen to many others.

I've decided recently to go back to my old blog, with the original intentions to try it again. I don't know what's going to happen. It's a long march.

Mumon K said...

It's hard to do this kind of thing, uh, "right."

As for my latest bit of criticism though, it's borne of the fact that a lot of what I've read sounds like folks think they've done the equivalent of the discovery of fire, when in reality they don't know that they don't know what they don't know, if you know what I mean.

I mean, I don't even come near the depth of what I don't know.

I just know there's a lot of unknown unknowns, and if I pursue this line of thinking anymore, I'll sound like Donald Rumsfeld. :-)

Mumon K said...

In fact, I'm light years away from what I don't know.

Anonymous said...

1. Why create an enemy to fight?

5. The secret is the camera always lies. Just use what it gives you and work with it. Composition is the art of hiding things. On a PC or phone it's easy to crop photos for good composition. Could you crop the tower photo to make it look more menacing by cutting some sky and the sides to leave a tall photo?

Anonymous said...

5. Ah memory off a little. How about cropping the snake pic so that sign is foreground and the dark undergowth looms behind it. Or crop to focus on the grass and lose the baground a bit. Or paint two eyes into the dark background....

SlowZen said...

Sean, You might want to look here Mining Aśvaghoṣa's Gold: Canto 8: A Tirade against Women for a good idea of what I mean by a striver.

Auntie Nellalou, Thanks for dropping by. I think I found your blog again…

Mumon, I'm of a mind to say the we're always right in the middle of what we don't know. But frankly I don't know most of what I don't know.


1. Like I tell my kids when they ask why questions:

5. I have totally failed at that secret. I usually don't do much cropping and most of my post processing when I do it involves exposure in order to illuminate what is dark.

5b. I like green.

SlowZen said...

5c. Cropped todays shot just for you...

Robin said...

Watch yourself there, Jordan; you're sounding dangerously like a hermit. Especially that jab at priests and "semi-pro's." (Good image. Now I think of it, so is "pro", like at a golf course or tennis club.)

It's hard to resist the black-hole suck of human hierarchy. Put a guy in a Batman suit, and everybody accepts his version of practice. Look what's happened to Christianity, where there is no unchurched practice at all anymore; most Christians even consider it sinful.

Zenners too, especially in Asia. The more "normal" Zen becomes here in the West, the more those norms will impose themselves on us.

Anyway. We can always say no. We have to say it every day, but we can do that too.

Great post, Jordan!


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