31 August 2013

Getting it Right? Forget It!

I'm often bedeviled by worries about authenticity or accuracy.  Part of it has to do with my line of work, but part of it has to do with my general disposition, I'm sure.  Now that I think of it, it's probably the case that I fell into my line of work because of my disposition!

For instance, I have non-philosopher colleagues who, when they teach a certain philosophical text, don't do a very good job with it.  They miss details and key points, overlook significant turns in the argument, and mistake the overall aim of the text as a result.  Drives me nuts.  No physics department would let me lecture on physics, no med school let me train people in neuroscience, so why do these colleagues get to talk about a philosophy text?  Surely there's a more and a less "right" here, no?

I find that this same perturbation arising in relation to the Zen world.  Surely not everything that bears the name "Zen" in the contemporary landscape is the real deal.  "Koan work" that isn't.  "Teishos" that aren't.  "Monks" who don't.  "Roshis" who won't.  The list goes on.  Surely there's a more and a less "right" here, no?

Then I remember what I have always known – always, before there was even an "I" to know it: This is not me; this is not mine.  Remembering that, I am reminded that it's not my job to manage the landscape.  In fact, it's no one's job! "Forget about it," I hear Bankei saying, "and return to the Unborn."

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