Al, I know there is a danger looking at zen as a completely loose, 'roll you own', no rules type of practice. That's not exactly what I'm advocating, although I can certainly see where someone could think that.
My comments to your very important post are imbedded below: One of the problems that I have had had with Christianity is that every minister has their own theory, and they claim everyone else is going to hell. I'm not really impressed with Christianity either, although I hadn't noticed the multiple-theory condition you mention. I definitely agree with you and am also very put-off by the 'everyone else is going to hell' part. Zen doesn't have that air of superiority. If you want to practice zen, fine. If you don't want to, fine. If you only want to practice at 50%, fine. At least that's what I've always seen in legitimate zen communities. At least the Catholics usually stick to one dogma, but I find the services to meaningless. Catholic Mass is non-stop song and dance. It is like a variety show from the 1970s. Traditional Catholicism is a great example of a RELIGION. It's full of pomp and circumstance, scripture and rules. Zen, at least as I have been taught and practice it, is not a religion. So then I go to Buddhism/Zen, and find it is more or less the same shit, different day. Everyone wants to create their own Nirvana, Samsara, etc. I really think you need to SEPARATE zen from Buddhism. Buddhism is a full-blown RELIGION. As it is taught and practiced in most places, it is probably even more ritualistic than Catholicism. Zen is not defined by any of the ritualization, sutras, rules, commandments, precepts of either Buddhism or Christianity, or any other religion. In fact zen sees all of these things as illusions - maya. These are all examples of the type of things you have to get rid of to shake off the illusion of self. Zen is simply letting go of your illusion of self, and then working on integrating that realization into you life. Your theory may sound right to you, but when you die and hit the void, Heaven, etc., or whatever it is, I would rather show up with something that has its basis in recognized scripture. I'd rather show up with something that comes from within me than some writings or ideas that came from someone else - even Gautama Buddha. It is like going to Disney World with Master-Card and Visa as opposed to bringing a pad of I-O-U-s and hoping Disney will accept it. I like your analogies, and really enjoy playing with you in that realm. What is a Master-Card but a plastic, third-party IOU? Disney might accept it, but you're still going to owe the issuer of the card. I'd rather show up at Disney Land with cash-in-hand - and that to me is like conviction from personal experience. .Bill! __________ NOD32 3237 (20080702) Information __________ This message was checked by NOD32 antivirus system. http://www.eset.com