14 December 2006

The questionable state of The Golden Rule.

Although not always consciously, I have laboured much under this bloody thing as a basic tenet of living. Forever in fact. More and more in the last year or so though, i've been feeling like it's rubbish, since I don't treat myself half as well as I treat most people, and often I find myself spending alot of time treating many people like gold who, in my world anyhow, just aren't worth it.
Today i was informed that the original version of this rule, before the good Jesus changed it, was in fact this: "What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor" - [Hillel to a heathen (Judaism)]

Think about it for a second. It's not the same thing at all. Where's the senseless sacrifice, the martyrdom, the servility?

Googling further into the matter, I discovered these examples from other eastern religions:

"Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." (Udana-Varga 5:18) (Buddhism)

"This is the sum of the Dharma: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you" (Mahabharata 5:15:17) (Hinduism)

And this from Wikipedia: Older Eastern culture formulations (Confucius, Hillel) tend to be passive or negative, while in Western culture, it is most commonly rendered as an active or proscriptive form, beginning with "do", "love" or "treat."

And while it is a rare moment that i advocate the passive over the active, or the negative over the positive for that matter, I wonder in this case. I really really wonder.

13 December 2006

zen Osho.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to this tarot deck (or rather the real tarot deck, of which this link is the online version). It's not the conventional fool, kings and cups sort, but involves suits of cards that are the elements of nature and such.
Reading into it, it's super lovely, although I confess some of it I find a bit too ethereal for my liking. But I've felt that way about practically everything I've encountered in life that involves faith and belief, so whatever. And it is at times disarmingly accurate.
Feeling rather faithless and anxious this evening, I indulged in one of their online multi card readings, and got this:
(warning: long and probably of little interest to anyone but me. Don't say i don't look out for you, dear reader[s])


A master in Zen is not simply a teacher. In all the religions there are only teachers. They teach you about subjects which you don't know, and they ask you to believe because there is no way to bring those experiences into objective reality. Neither has the teacher known them - he has believed them; he transfers his belief to somebody else.

Zen is not a believer's world. It is not for the faithful ones; it is for those daring souls who can drop all belief, unbelief, doubt, reason, mind, and simply enter into their pure existence without boundaries. But it brings a tremendous transformation.

Hence, let me say that while others are involved in philosophies, Zen is involved in metamorphosis, in a transformation. It is authentic alchemy: it changes you from base metal into gold. But its language has to be understood, not with your reasoning and intellectual mind but with your loving heart. Or even just listening, not bothering whether it is true or not. And a moment comes suddenly that you see it, which has been eluding you your whole life. Suddenly, what Gautam Buddha called "eighty-four thousand doors" open.

Osho Zen: The Solitary Bird, Cuckoo of the Forest Chapter 6

The central figure in this card sits atop the vast flower of the void, and holds the symbols of transformation - the sword that cuts through illusion, the snake that rejuvenates itself by shedding its skin, the broken chain of limitations, and the yin/yang symbol of transcending duality. One of its hands rests on its lap, open and receptive. The other reaches down to touch the mouth of a sleeping face, symbolizing the silence that comes when we are at rest.

This is a time for a deep let-go. Allow any pain, sorrow, or difficulty just to be there, accepting its "facticity." It is very much like the experience of Gautam Buddha when, after years of seeking, he finally gave up, knowing there was nothing more that he could do. That very night, he became enlightened.

Transformation comes, like death, in its own time. And, like death, it takes you from one dimension into another.

Then i realized i got the reading of the cards wrong, and that card was not in fact the "Me" representative card at all. This was: (and yes, there is more)


Zen says that if you drop knowledge - and within knowledge everything is included; your name, your identity, everything, because this has been given to you by others - if you drop all that has been given by others, you will have a totally different quality to your being: innocence. This will be a crucifixion of the persona, the personality, and there will be a resurrection of your innocence. You will become a child again, reborn.

Osho Dang Dang Doko Dang Chapter 7

The old man in this card radiates a childlike delight in the world. There is a sense of grace surrounding him, as if he is at home with himself and with what life has brought. He seems to be having a playful communication with the praying mantis on his finger, as if the two of them are the greatest friends. The pink flowers cascading around him represent a time of letting go, relaxation and sweetness. They are a response to his presence, a reflection of his own qualities.

The innocence that comes from a deep experience of life is childlike, but not childish. The innocence of children is beautiful, but ignorant. It will be replaced by mistrust and doubt as the child grows and learns that the world can be a dangerous and threatening place. But the innocence of a life lived fully has a quality of wisdom and acceptance of the ever-changing wonder of life.

Rats. I think I preferred the first one. Isn't there something to be said for the significance of error, even in the art of reading...erm...online tarot cards?

small moment of petty, immature, gossipy Bliss.

When i was in publishing school two years ago, we had a class discussion towards the end of the year about the term assignments/workload etc. At the time we were putting together two issues of a 24 page magazine. I was happy and lucky enough to be art director of one of said issues, until I realized this meant collecting stuff from 40 different people who were also battling their own strained schedules, most of whom didn't know computers super well (including myself, at times) which created difficulties, whilst trying to please them all in terms of how the magazine looked, and doing 5 or whatever other classes and full-time work as well.
I suggested that perhaps the project could be structured differently in the future, since the work load was disparate, depending on the positions each student had.
One of my more clever "colleagues", who had procured herself the "magazine launch party" planning position, put up her hand and loudly announced to the whole class that I was obviously not capable of handling the work load because I had never finished university. I turned to her and said WHAT?!?! (font size indeterminably large), the whole class went silent, and then the teacher, a diplomatic sort, glossed over the whole thing and we moved on.

So tonight, there is no way for me to contain myself after somehow hearing that the impertinent cow just got a chin implant.
That's right. A chin implant. Of Course.
I Fucking Love It.

sweet balls of christ...

it's christmas in 11 days, and i haven't finished making even ONE of my christmas gifts yet. What's an overachiever to do?!? (sounds of stifled sobbing in the corner).

11 December 2006

and obviously i have yet to master posting pictures in beta blogger.

One of the things about gutting a place before moving in is you can personalize it in ways hitherto unthought of. Thanks to the remarkably clever idea of my assistant homewrecker/builder Ishmael (or so he is named for the purposes of this blog) this whole wall building conquest will be remembered when armageddon comes.

Was Scrooge a Zen Master?

now i am Infamous for my, how shall we say, parsimonious ways. but it was only today, putting up my very economical (and accordingly stunning) bookshelves, that i heard myself utter what is in fact my mantra when it comes to these things:
"They'll do. After all, i can't take 'em with me when i leave the country or when i die."

silly, really.