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.