Tuesday, 26 May 2015


I was brought up and educated by people who took for granted that I ought to conform, compete and succeed. I had no inclination to do any of that but it took me a long time to realize what I should have been doing instead. A better agenda would have been: change society and self. I had some idea of self-change but it was distorted by the religious indoctrination which was massively inconsistent: issues of religious belief and practice are ultimately serious but don't take them too seriously - unless you become a priest, in which case you are compartmentalized and pigeonholed for the rest of your life. We were told answers before we knew what the questions were.

Of course, in zazen, we do not act on the self to change it. We are merely aware of it. However, the transition from unawareness to awareness is itself a change. We do not try to change ourselves but do in fact change as a result of the practice. However, the change is usually gradual and not externally measurable. Merely to talk about it is to invite the reply that there is no discernible change and there is no need to deny that.

Meanwhile, acting collectively to change society is a matter of urgency. But we do this with others who agree that it is necessary. We do not argue with those who meditate that they should instead be changing society or vice versa. And it can take decades to realize this. But life was not designed for our convenience. It merely happened.

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