Sunday, June 22, 2014

Buddha in disguise... with glasses

This is a classic story that I updated:

The abbot of a once famous Buddhist monastery that had fallen into decline was  troubled. Monks had become lax in their practice, novices were leaving and lay supporters deserting to other centers. The Abbot traveled far to a famous sage and recounted his tale, telling how much he desired to return his monastery to the flourishing centre it had been in bygone days.

The Sage looked at him balefully and said, "The reason your monastery has faltered is that the Buddha is living among you in disguise, and you have not honored Him." The abbot hurried back, his mind in turmoil.

The Golden One was at his monastery! Who could he be?  Hua?...No, he was full of sloth.  Po?...No, he was too dull. But then again, the Tathagata was in disguise. What better disguise than sloth or dull- wittedness? He called his monks to him and revealed the Sage's words. They, too, were taken aback and looked at each other with a certain awe.

Which one of them was the Chosen One?

The disguise was perfect. Not knowing who He was they took to treating everyone with the respect due to a Buddha. Giving and receiving such kindness, their faces started shining with an inner radiance that attracted novices and then lay supporters.

In no time at all the monastery surpassed its previous glory.

One day the Sage returned, and the Abbott brought him into the kitchen for tea.

"I would have liked to publicly honor you, in return for saving the monastery," he confessed. "But it would not have been right to honor you more than the Enlightened One himself."

The Sage smiled, "Enlightened ones need no special honor.  Just the honor that every human being deserves. And the fact is, that every one of you is a Buddha in disguise You just need the right glasses to see him."


"Do you want to try on my glasses?"

"Of course."

So the Sage reached into his bundle and brought out some old sunglasses. The Abbott put them on.

"But now I can only see your outline, I can barely see your face."

"A Buddha only sees important distinctions. He's not concerned with trifles. And that's what you are doing better now. Before you lived doing or not doing duties, following or not following rules. Of course people became lax, who wants to live that way? Now people only see the outline - that everyone could be or become the Buddha. That is the essential truth."

Feeling very satisfied with a good days work, the Sage put on the sunglasses, leaving through the main entrance, through a crowd of vendors. At the very end, he saw some one selling American-style hot dogs. Although they were against the rules, he remembered his own advice about rules.

"Please make me one with everything" he said enjoying his pun. Vendor made the hotdog and he paid him with a 100 RMB bill. As he started eating the hotdog he waited for his change.

"Hey, don't I get anything back?" he asked.

The Vendor replied, "don't you know change comes from within?"

"Buddha has sense of humor, right?" The Sage replied, and snarfed his hot dog.

Do what I say or do what I do?

He  has a sad because his followers not got enlightened.

One problem with following a spiritual teacher or path is that the event of "enlightenment" seems to occur pretty randomly - at least so it seems.

Even assuming that everybody who is claiming to be enlightened is enlightened - which I never assume- the stories are quite nonlinear.

One person I know even got enlightened being hit by lightning! Don't try that at home!

Everybody has a different story and it's not like doing any one thing actually always works. Generally people propose others do the thing that got them going even though that may not work for a single other person. Ramana Maharshi got enlightened  by asking himself "who am I?" So thousands of people have followed that line of inquiry for the last century. But it doesn't work for very many people. Some other people got enlightened by meditating, so they propose that. Another fellow got enlightened while eating Chinese food. But he was smart enough not to recommend that as a method-  LOL. Generally though people do recommend what they themselves did. But then it gets frustrating when nobody can actually follow them and get the same results.

This is not exactly new stuff. In fact it's the basic theme of the rock opera Tommy which I saw as a young dude. Blind little Tommy getz some enlightenment by playing pinball and so he teaches all his other disciples to play pinball too. Blindfolded.  When it doesn't work, his followers rebel.

In real life, tho, not so much.

Instead, thousands of people are buying books, going to workshops and even a few sitting in ashrams all trying to do what someone did before. OK, I dig it.

It's even more funny with the guy who got enlightened by Chinese food and the other guy who got enlightened by lightning... What do they recommend? Well the same old stuff - meditating and
whatever. Well, what else are they going to do?

I feel  kinda sorry for the poor spiritual teachers. Aside from all the sex, money and power they got a tough life.  :-(

Friday, June 20, 2014

Welcome to Some Version of Enlightenment!

It's Solstice 2014. Druids are marching across the inner planes. What better time to finally launch the long-awaited Post-Modern Enlightenment Lounge blog. Was this what the druids had in mind thousands of years ago when they drunkenly raised their 200 ton monoliths in a meadow?

Or were they just lost after a Happy Hour gone hopelessly wrong.

Greater minds than ours have pondered these big questions only to shrug and sign up for the soonest possible lobotomy.

But consider this: There is nothing that time-travelling aliens from the distant future cannot do. Perhaps they built Stonehenge. Perhaps they built you. Perhaps one day you will evolve into their best friends.

So come with us down into the Earth Plane with all of its cheap thrills and have a good time. Our only religious rituals are to attend Happy Hours at least once a week. But stay away from cheesy meatballs and anything that must be served with a spoon! And join us here from time to time!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Time Travel Test

This is an experiment in time travel.  I am posting in the hopes that someone in the past comments after I send my brainwaves in reverse. Todays date is June 14, 2014. PS  This is a giant pyramid on the Martian surface. Or not.