I am becoming more Zen. I’ve been meditating more and reading Crooked Cucumber, which is all about Shunryu Suzuki, a pioneer of Zen in America. He was so simple and had a dry sense of humor. For example, when he had cancer and was dying, he said something to the effect of, “If you had a limitless life, it would be a real problem for you.” Hilarious and humbling at the same time. One thing I read yesterday was his idea that we all have just the right amount of problems, not too many, not too few. It’s an intriguing idea, but I don’t know what it even means. Nobody ever has more than they can handle?
My life seems to be heading in the Zen direction and I’m not sure why. There are no real sanghas in the Lansing area, or many in Michigan in general. Also, I lack the flexibility to sit in a full lotus position at all. Not even on a good day. Most of my friends are still Christians. I don’t get it.
Zen appeals to me in ways Tibetan Buddhism doesn’t. The simplicity, dry wit, ruthless realism, etc., all hold appeal. I don’t know much about the Zen approach to death. I am far more familiar with the Tibetan perspective on death. The Tibetans have clearly thought things through to a degree I find impressive, with their 49 days between death and rebirth and the various bardos. It reminds me of the Philokalia of the Greek Orthodox Church. It is in-depth and addresses humanity in ways that was centuries ahead of its time. But Tibetan Buddhism’s art seems overly ornate for my taste. That is personal preference. Like Orthodox iconography, Tibetan artwork has an unreal amount of detail and absolutely every nuance means something. But Zen’s simplicity is all-encompassing. And Zen, as near as I can tell, has a strong Taoist bent, which I totally respect. Why reinvent the wheel?
What I am looking for is structure and a frame of reference. I may only be like this until Barry passes, but I feel like I must head in this direction. I am physically unsuited for it and have no idea what I’m doing. I’m too old to romanticize much of anything. So, I may just be the worst Zennist ever. So, yeah, this is probably what I should pursue.