Patchwork Practice

patchworkblanket

The last post here and some others in the blogosphere has brought me this thought regarding the need to pigeon-hole all things (and people) Buddhist in some kind of quasi-scientific nomenclature. We are people, not geological specimens.

This intensive categorization can get to the point of absurdity. For instance I might have to label myself as a white, expatriate, Canadian, heterosexual, originally-working-class-but-now-middle-class, university-educated, female, non-ordained-long-time-convert-Soto-Zen-Buddhist-occasionally-leaning-to-Rinzai-with-mixed-practice-including-Pure Land and Tibetan religiously-oriented-though-not-discounting-secularist overtones looking to meet…(long list of criteria). It’s Buddhism, not an ad for a fantasy one night stand  on Craig’s list.

This is how Buddhism is appearing to converts in countries where Buddhism has recently been transplanted. But if you look at a bigger picture historically this is the microcosmic view of the macroscopic picture of Buddhist history. (sort of like Chaos math and fractals-zoom in zoom out-same patterns)

Patchwork blanket of a practice- are they just as good as the factory made?  Or was there even a “factory-made” Buddhism?

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9 comments on “Patchwork Practice

  1. “The Dharma Jewel is sometimes visualised as a Metaphysical Crystal with 84,000 different facets, representing all the teachings of the Buddha. Depending on our viewpoint, one or a few of these facets will reflect brightly in our direction.

    When we first meet the Dharma, we are attracted to the most brilliantly reflecting facets – those aspects of the teachings that are particularly relevant to us and our problems. Most of the other facets will appear dull or oblique, or not appear to us at all, being completely hidden round the other side of the Crystal.

    But other people may be attracted to those facets of the Jewel that appear bright to them but dull or hidden to us. We must be very careful before making any comparisons, because the appearance of the Jewel to our mind is entirely a result of our karma.” http://kwelos.tripod.com/metaphysics/dharmajewel.htm

  2. “This intensive categorization can get to the point of absurdity. For instance I might have to label myself as a white, expatriate, Canadian, heterosexual, originally-working-class-but-now-middle-class, university-educated, female, non-ordained-long-time-convert-Soto-Zen-Buddhist-occasionally-leaning-to-Rinzai-with-mixed-practice-including-Pure Land and Tibetan religiously-oriented-though-not-discounting-secularist overtones looking to meet…(long list of criteria). It’s Buddhism, not an ad for a fantasy one night stand on Craig’s list.” This is so, so funny! Thanks for making me smile.

  3. How is this for my Craig’s list add:

    Son of a beat Buddhist, started reading the Dhamapada at around age eight, took a long detour for about 20 years, got pretty intensely interested in Zen during a pretty intense time in my life, ordained in Rinzai and Soto traditions, now filled with great doubt and great hope for all traditions, but still make prostration’s and squash a little round cushion morning and night.

  4. I was sitting at a professional conference, chatting with a friend who lives and works on the other side of the U.S. She’s not a Buddhist, and we’ve never discussed Buddhism. But after something she said, I found myself saying to her that naming — putting a name to a thing — makes us blind to what it really is.

    After the words were out of my mouth, I realized how Buddhist that is. And it applies to us, as Buddhists, as well. Who cares what kind of Buddhist you are?

    The way you live is what counts. How do you stand, how do you walk, how do you control your thoughts?

    • Maybe you should read my last post (and numerous others here) and all the links attached to it. This topic has been on my mind and on my blog and on many blogs for quite some time.

      My writing is my property. I can reference it in any way I choose.

      I realize you think you are trying to teach us all A GREAT BIG LESSON. Get over yourself.

  5. What great big lesson would that be? Perhaps, if it didn’t hold any truth you wouldn’t hate me so much.

    And, of course. It is your property, you should be proud of your work. Reference what you will. :-)

    Be well.

    • Hate is a pretty strong word to use for a few unpleasant words.

      I don’t know what your agenda is Kyle. It seems to revolve around you being right and everybody else being out to get you personally with their internet posts that have little or nothing to do with you personally.

      I disagree with some of your ideas. Sometimes I strongly disagree but it is certainly done on my part without personal malice.

      Whatever it’s about there’s some pretty high drama involved.

      I realize some asshole was giving you a real hard time a while back. But to generalize what one or two idiots do to everyone else and bring hate into it is a bit of an over-reaction.

      Maybe you could explain what this means:

      “if it didn’t hold any truth”

      What is “it”? and why would I hate you for “it”?

      Speculating is all I’m left with and that brings me to some idea that there are issues relating to your feelings about being accepted by some Buddhist communities and individuals and that you have some concerns that you feel need addressing.

      I don’t know that they will be addressed to your satisfaction ever and they certainly won’t be addressed at all with the prickliness with which you present them. Demanding people do this or that only tends to alienate them.

      I wish to continue dialoguing with you on these ideas in the future Kyle but like my neighbor’s kid says “You’re not the boss of me!”

      There’s some boundary and respect things that might merit some attention-perhaps on both our parts.

      I wish you well also.

  6. Thank you NellaLou, you know I do really respect you, and think you are an extremely talented writer, one of the best bloggers I know in terms of how creative you talk. I am not trying to teach a lesson, but just trying to make a point. Perhaps the way I am going about it wrong, but nonetheless, it is the route I have chosen for now.

    It is loud and abrasive, but do know I really do want Buddhism in the West to spread as far and wide as it can.

    So, does this mean a date is out of the question? heheh JUST KIDDING!
    Please continue with you input, good or bad, dialouge is always good.

    Take care!
    Kyle

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