07 July 2011

Pass It On

In the West, broadly speaking, we tend to contrast form and meaning, as if the one were just another superfluity and the other the real deal. "Why bother with ceremony?" I've often heard, "It's what's in your heart that counts," or, put from a different perspective, "If I don't feel like it, why should I do it?  I wouldn't be sincere."

Seems to me we really don't have reason to speak like that in Zen.  We don't contrast form and meaning; we recognize instead the unity of form and emptiness.  In the end, there's no sincere vs insincere bowing.  There's just bowing.  There's no self "expressing" itself through the bowing, either.  Just the bow.

I'm spending a few days at the mother temple learning ceremonial forms I don't know and refining the ones I do.  For me, it's a "vessel of the tradition" issue.  If I don't know it, I can't pass it on.  And if I can't pass it on, then it dies.

And as far as I can, I won't let that happen.

No comments:

Post a Comment