02 January 2011

Waiting for the Maid, Thinking Layman Pang

I often puzzle over how lifestyle or standard of living issues fit with practice.  I want to say, "Look, if 'chopping wood and carrying water' is such marvelous activity, then why pay someone else to clean your toilet?"  I want to say, "Look, if 'dried shit stick' is Buddha, then why the upscale shoes?"  I want to say, "Look, if 'the storeroom, the temple gate' is your light, then why the chic address?"

But I don't know if I can say that.  Maybe I'm just being clever with words.  Maybe I'm just trotting out my own issues.  Maybe maid service, designer shoes and chic addresses are also wonderfully sparkling gems in the overpoweringly beautiful Net of Indra.  Maybe that's just what lay practice looks like, and maybe that's why there has always been a distinction between householder and home-leaver practice in Buddhism.

I don't know.

I do know that the people I have learned the most from, the ones I most respect, whether householder or not, didn't have maid service or designer shoes or chic addresses, and I have a sense that their lifestyle and their insight stood in inverse proportion to one another. 

I guess I do know:

The ones I learned from and respected didn't say boo about my lifestyle; they just lived theirs.  And that was enough.  And if someone, like me, happened to catch the spark from that, then fine.  And if no one ever did, then that was fine, too.

Glad to have that settled.

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