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July 08, 2010


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I very much agree with you Barry. Thanks for your practice. And thanks for the link to the wonderful post from The Dalai Grandma. :-)

Shiju Ben Howard

Barry -

Only this morning I was thinking about the assertion "everything is perfect just as it is," having heard a version of it last night in Tom Ford's movie A Single Man. The saying has become a commonplace. Taken out of context or uttered unthinkingly, it tends to discredit Zen practice. Thanks for your reflections.



I'm glad this discussion continues. It's too easy to talk away with absolutist rhetoric the real life, everyday situations that we all have responsibility to take care of. How that "taking care of" looks is different every time, but it's there with it all the time.


You must know the story about Zen Master Seung Sahn meeting the taxi driver in Taiwan??
It's been coming to mind over the last few days, driving a taxi requires "stop, go mind"

At times, meditation only requires breathing, or compassion may require action.
Maybe practice is learning what mind to wear for what situation.

Barry Briggs

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

Earlier this morning I spent some time with the notion that absolute and relative cannot survive without one another. We need both, of course.

But the practicing person needs both in a particularly clear way - we cannot jettison one for the other, but must continually engage in both.


sort of like finding a combined theory of relativity... ^^

Steve Har

A Quibble Regarding:

"I'm leery of assertions that everything is perfect just as it is or nothing is wrong with any situation... such statements may point to absolute truth, but they fail to respond to the broken bodies in Hatti or the sobbing partner in the next room".

I don't see a distinction between "Failure to Respond" and "Leery of Assertions"?

Each seems to me to be an automatic "stand back and consider stance" -surely heading toward an aversion state of mind. Failure to respond points to the inaction of learned helplessness; leery of assertions points toward cynicism, skepticism & Cartesian logic.

I don't get much way-seeking mind in such a stance. I do see some "re-run realism" -a kind of heartless dualism where not much is ventured and much is considered like absolute/relative abstraction. And of course the suffering in the next room or in the next country is filed "in the too hard pile".

Intellectual aversion seems so automatically seductive- as if we've all been trained by a teachers with no practice in the real world except for a classroom exam & the computer screen. Such aversion leaves us a split-minded sensibles living as Thomas Merton said "in spiritual dog-houses".

Seems like the absolute/paradox & other "notions" subside when I take-up a position in my life like the tenzo does when he prepares a meal to feed the 3 treasures.

Action removes the doubt that theory cannot solve.

Barry Briggs

Steve, thank you very much for your thoughtful comment. After I wrote and published this post, I continued to reflect on it. And, as my earlier comment indicates (just above yours), I modified my position about this seeming distinction.

Nonetheless, your point about lapsing into judgment and all that follow it is certainly well taken and is, for me, a lifelong piece of study. Thank you for expressing it so clearly.

Barry (with apologies for the delayed response)


I just read your first two posts on this blog, and immediately recognized these Buddhas.
Wonderful work for an eight year old (or any year old!) I was struck by your first post, I've recently noticed that my collection of malas has started to grow moldy in the summer humidity, the karmic irony wasn't lost on me! ^^

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