how do i step out of the personal with my friends?

[click image, a lecture you REALLY want to see and hear.... NO. REALLY. ~ Update: The disappeared playlist has been fixed.]


I have a friend who has expressed an interest in Zen a few times over the years. He's not big on religious mumbo jumbo. Notwithstanding my having told him repeatedly that it isn't religion, he thinks this reincarnation bit cannot be anything else. I have another friend who does not grok that the ancients meant something entirely other by the word "karma" than what it signifies in pop culture. People are superstitious about reincarnation and karma, whether they believe in them or not.


You say you're on the train to New York, but you're actually on the train to Cleveland.

It's blatant, but you are oblivious. This is a difficulty.

My friend who keeps coming back 'round to it has been tickled to find the work of Stephen Batchelor, a benighted bloke with a good background in religious mumbo jumbo, but NOT Buddhism. Batchelor's shtick seems, so far, halfway through his memoir, to be a study in the brute misunderstanding of someone who has never caught a glimpse of the POINT of it all. He speaks of himself as a "Buddhist atheist" as though this were some contradiction in terms. He espouses a "Buddhism without beliefs" as though he were stripping nerve movies from the mindscapes of the ancients. I wish I had one around to knock him upside the head with a blunt instrument.

I have to figure out how to discuss this with my friend such that it will not come off as merely his daffodil friend putting on airs, or his harridan friend ripping his superior intellect from him, and leave him with some way to proceed if he is in fact interested enough to do the work. I can't be attached to the outcome. That's a bitch for me because I don't just love him because he is a sentient being; I love him because he has been my family for some thirty-odd years. He's a pain in the ass about truth. He's a lawyer. He has a lot of epically highfalutin masters of delusion he counts as good friends. I don't see him becoming willing to stop playing those games, but I do see him repeatedly bumping up against the wall of something's-not-right-here and him wanting to get on the other side of it.

I'll figure it out. Or. Not. But for your edification:

BUDDHISM IS NOT A RELIGION. The practice, whichever of them, was originally designed to help people prepare their regular walking around deluded minds to realize actuality, fundamental reality. It was not EVER about making such preparation a way of life... albeit it becomes one for those who take decades getting there... mox nix... it's merely a means to an end, not The Spiritual Life. It has ONE object, and once that is achieved, Buddhism itself, as it states repeatedly in the canon, is to be regarded as much a part of the dualistic deluded kaleidoscopic mess as anything else. Don't ask me how he missed that.

Bodhisattvas, whether known as bodhisattvas or buddhas, are NOT deities. They are mind heroes. They are archetypes of awakening. They are enlightening beings, whether walking around humans or floating around bits in cosmic consciousness. And the term "enlightening being" is meant in a number of ways. A being who is becoming enlightened; a being who enlightens others; being itself enlightening beings... all sorts of stuff... NONE of which involves "belief" or "theism" of any kind. And NO one asks you to believe in reincarnation... no one who is not a charlatan or who isn't letting you believe that as a means of helping you drop your certainty in your conditioning well enough to get that awakening to actuality. And WHAT do we call some guy who purports to have all this Buddhist education and YET publishes books that treat canonical tenets as though they were some modern breakthrough? I don't think he means it as a teaching device. I think he thinks he's clever. I haven't finished the book, but I think that it's a commercial venture.

Anyway, right, then, edification....

YOU DO NOT EXIST. You will NEVER understand this until you see, until you get a nice pristine shot at experiencing your true self. THEN you will know this statement as perfectly true and beautifully succinctly put. Before that, you are mystified or aggravated or made outright hostile by it. Tough shit. YOUR prob.

The you everyone supposes supposedly reincarnates is not the you who is made mystified, aggravated, hostile, happy, dreamy or whatever by it. When this you dies, you're dead. Period. Full stop. Don't be a jackass.

This you isn't you.

You are a big skinbag full of conditioning, full of shit people told you that isn't actual... just agreed upon. You probably even think this is well because of all those Nobels and Pulitzers for the ones who came up with this shit. You went to college to learn facility with their names and their concepts. Their shit became your shit. You paid a lot of money to get good at being a member of the consensus. The same one pumping you full of shit on TV.

You think because Richard Dawkins is so much more respectable than some Bible-thumping hypocrite with a Southern twang, that Dawkins is right and the hypocrite is full of shit. You are wrong. They are equally respectable and equally deluded shitheads. The forces at work in each are IDENTICAL. A rabid polemic arises out of thin [hot] air... and we race to take sides... according to which mode of conditioning appeals to us the most... NOT according to ANYTHING actual. You will never believe me when I tell you each of them is an incarnation of you. You will never believe me when I tell you that you reincarnate yourself in every moment. You will never believe me when I tell you that every single sentient being in all history and in all futures is an incarnation of YOU. No, no, you have written books describing the arc of your incarnations gleaned from past life regression therapy, or channeled by some medium. Or you have forsaken your monastic vows due to their utter idiocy in light of that babe you want to marry who was your mother in a previous life. Or you decided to make money by writing out all your experience with Buddhism clashing with your bullheaded bone full of preprogrammed blather. Fine.

So I'm reading this book by this jerk who thinks he knows what he's talking about, and he's probably not even the worst. The charlatanism is rampant. People who can really help are SO few. SO many devoted students who never had the first part of a clue, or had a million of them but were being "helped" by someone who was only pretending to understand them, are running around out here purporting to teach, purporting to address the subject, because it is CHIC.


If you wonder why I am so determined for that doctorate in Out There it is because I need to find new ways to impart to people what has been turned to bollox by generations of "Buddhists". It pisses me off because the real deal is still PERFECTLY workable if you have the heart and the depth to stick with it. You're too used to faking it to ever ACTUALLY do that work. Much easier to have an opinion of it and express it colorfully enough in the right company.

Now. Isn't. It?