No Promises or Debates

“This is part of what I like about Zen: using impermanence to your advantage. Skillful means are meant to help you appreciate the present moment. Once you are in the moment, the means can be abandoned. There is no promise or debate regarding eternal security.” The Direct Experience of Reality, Dharma Discourse by John Daido Loori, Roshi 

Loori expresses my sentiment: gratitude and relief that even the means of Zen are disposable. “No attachments” applies to everything. Once you’ve crossed the lake, you don’t need to strap the canoe to your back. Means can be adapted to circumstances when necessary.

“No promises or debates” is a big part of what I appreciate about Zen. I spent too many years as a Christian in the realm of promises and debates. When a religion is language-heavy and action-short, after a while, all I hear is, “Blah, blah, blah.” I’ve spent too much of my life already listening to theological debates and believing unfulfilled promises. Zen makes no promises. Your life is what it is.

You deal with it openly and honestly and, even if your life does not dramatically improve instantly, you help create a less chaotic world. By taking responsibility for oneself, the world becomes more tractable. Changing others’ opinions is never part of the equation. When people see your life becoming simpler and more manageable, that speaks for itself more eloquently than any form of evangelization ever could.




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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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