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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

deep spiritual questions...

I seem to be surrounded by people who are quite seriously interested in spiritual matters and have read a lot about all sorts of different teachings, philosophies, and traditions... and they ask a LOT of questions.

intense, complicated questions.

today I'm thinking about the very simple counsel of a beautiful Zen master, Kobin Roshi, who used to preside, sort of, over Jikoji -- a Zen center in Los Gatos, CA.

people would come to him with all kinds of complex issues, and philosophical questions, mostly based in stuff they'd read in books and were seriously and sincerely breaking their heads over, trying to understand... and no matter how difficult or challenging the question was, or that it took five minutes to even articulate the actual question, his gentle response was the same:

"I just really think that everyone should have a warm place to sleep at night."

I think no matter how much people share ideas about this kind of enlightenment or that kind of enlightenment, or try to confirm their own enlightenment experiences or ideas or whatever it is -- ultimately it's a lot of mind-powered chatter that confuses people, divides them in some cases, and indulges the (already well-developed) Western tendency to try to use the mind to get 'there.'

it seems to me that the most useful way to understand enlightenment is through spiritual practice and meditation -- becoming it rather than learning about it or intellectualizing it to death.

and how important it is, practically, to make sure that all people have a warm place to sleep at night.

especially in these days, as reports of the devastation of the American Gulf Coast are still pouring in, evacuees from New Orleans and Mississippi and other Louisiana hurricane sites are being relocated all over America, many in refugee centers run by the American Red Cross in the south...

people need less talk about enlightenment right now.

we all just need a warm place to sleep at night.


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