Trust and Common Sense

Tending the Flame, Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Book of Serenity, Case 53, Huangbo’s “Dreg Slurpers”, Featured in Mountain Record 29.1, Fall 2010

“When we see into our own nature, we realize there are no teachers; we encounter the teacherless teacher. We encounter wisdom. But it takes effort. It takes deep, deep trust. We might think of that as a kind of passive thing. In the inventory of needed supplies for a Zen practitioner, we put perseverance on top; we know that’s required. Doubt—that’s good for fuel. Put that up there on the top as well. Faith? Oh very well, I suppose I should bring that along, just in case I need it. We don’t understand that the only reason we’re here is because of deep, abiding faith, trust. But what is the faith in? What are we trusting?”

Sometimes, I wish I was more trusting. I stink at trusting. I’ve learned the hard way that other people are more than willing to take responsibility for me and my life, at the expense of my right to think for myself. I have put my trust into all the wrong people: authority figures demanding my trust and respect instead of earning them. There is a part of me that desperately wants to be a “good girl.” Wisdom knows whom to trust and not trust. Patience is being willing to wait to see the fruit of people’s lives and character.

It’s interesting to me how everyone seems to have an idea of what they “should” be doing. This might be the “teacherless teacher.” I know the ideas come from their conditioning, but some are just common sense, like doing the dishes. You don’t need a guru or roshi to tell you, “The dishes really need to be done, and, by the way, pay your electric bill on time.” If we all simply did what we already knew we needed to do, the world might be transformed.


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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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