still not here. I have a story I HAVE to write first. It has something to teach me about writing (and maybe it’ll be a good story too, that’d be jim-dandy). I should be back soon, for those a-missin’ me.
Meanwhile, via a Dan Simmons essay:
Kisu’s question should have shown the monk that he, the monk, was ready, willing, and eager not just to believe anything Kisu said, but everything. Then Kisu told the monk a lie – “You are the Buddha!” It’s the lie that all prophets and saviours and political candidates tell their eager faithful – “You are who we’ve been waiting for!” And as is true of all Zen lies, it is the truth. But then Kisu warns this budding Buddha –“But if your eye is just a little clouded, flowery illusions are rampant.”
All men’s eyes are clouded, and most of the time rather than a little, especially in our eagerness to hear and to believe good things about ourselves, and foremost of all flowery illusions – one might say it is an entire cascade of illusionary blossoms – is the self-lie that we are the Buddha, that we are who we have been waiting for. Kisu was the monk’s optometrist and opthamologist informing him that his vision is perfect except for the cataracts that have grown almost too thick to admit any light beyond a vague milky glow of self-satisfaction.
Today’s young person brags “I can write my school paper with my i-Pod blasting grunge music in both ears while simultaneously text-messaging friends on my phone and checking MySpace online.”
Kisu would not have argued with the young person. He might have said, “Congratulations, you are the Buddha! But your school paper – as well as your music-listening and the quality of your text-sending and your-online-viewing – have all been diminished to used shit-stick levels. Good job!”
There has to be quietness at the center of the heart of the center for Zen to be heard or seen, much less understood or created. That quietness is audible as a steady, high-voltage hum to the informed listener/writer.