From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lakers' defeat: Not the end of Zen

When hearty applause fades to the sound of just one hand clapping, what’s a team to do? 

There are infinite options.  Congratulating the winners du jour is one.  Praying for their continued well-being is another.  Meditating upon the oneness of all teams is a third.  But what might humans do instead?

Humans might wince at the bite of a high-stakes, very public defeat.  Humans might then bite back.  Some might grab the reins, yell, and call three timeouts.  Others might throw a forearm, or even a shoulder.  All that could result in some missed championship opportunities.  But it won’t result in the end of the world.  And it certainly won’t result in the  end of Zen.

The very word “Zen” implies a meditative state.  As such, it is an experience rather than a doctrine.  It is not a logical experience, but rather an experience that accepts the entire range of consciousness.  Even the Buddha - on his way to “Aha” – clung to the peaks and valleys of human emotion.  Once enlightened, he is said to have transmitted wisdom by way of a Flower Sermon.

This Flower Sermon was without words.  The Buddha simply held up a lotus flower that had been offered to
him shortly before.  Only one disciple smiled – he is said to have understood the essence of this silent sermon.

There is a poem by Lord Alfred Tennyson that goes like this: 

Flower in the crannied wall,
I pluck you out of the crannies,
I hold you here, root and all, in my hand,
Little flower -but if I could understand
What you are, root and all, and all in all,
I should know what God and man is.

Enlightenment is the “all in all.”  Zen awakens the “all in all.”  If, on the way, some cheers and jeers arise – then so be it.  They, too, are part of the never-ending “all in all…”


Copyright May 9, 2011 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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