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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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You really don't have to do that.
pinkie pie
mendel
Sometimes it feels like every mainstream discussion of Zen on the web turns into a wannabe dharma battle. I wish that wasn't the case; I'd much rather talk about Zen with non-Zennies than watch them try to imitate the tone of koans or stories they've read.

(A "Dharma battle" [dharma = teaching] is a "fight" between two Zen practitioners, to demonstrate their understanding to each other -- or, in the case of the stories, their students. But it's a formalized, not-really-fighting fight, the same way that a karate match wouldn't really be called a "fight". And just dropping mysticisms into Internet threads doesn't demonstrate much!)

Speaking of Zen, I've been reading and rereading Sylvia Boorstein's Pay Attention, For Goodness' Sake lately. So much in so few pages! It's about the paramitas or "perfections", virtues really, ten ideas which make for good principles to live by: generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, lovingkindness, and equanimity.

(While looking for a list to cut and paste, I found a blog about teaching the dharma to kids, which has a bunch of entries about the paramitas! Too great.)

The ten paramitas are technically from Theravadan Buddhism, but Zen has six of its own, which cover about the same territory and add dhyana, meditation, the word that "Zen" comes from. But the book is about the ten, and either way you can imagine how the whole list feels pretty heavy. Where do I start? Even while reading the book things aren't sticking in my mind.

Well, metta seems like a good place to start: May I be happy. May you be happy. May all beings be happy and free from suffering!)

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Ah yes, as the Master wisely said, 'Avoid pissing contests. Your only trophy is wet, stinky feet and unconvincing fabrications at the dry cleaners."

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