With guests at home.
My virtuous journey to donut outpost is met with ‘closed Sunday and Monday of Labor Day Weekend’.
Not a problem. I was only driving to bake shoppe; then back to Camden. Each act belongs to itself. Not open? Turn right, head north on route 1.
Brain Pickings features Seung Sahn and his words about anger. (Non-applicable segue.) In a letter he wrote:
After sitting yong maeng jong jin [silent meditation], your mind was clear. A clear mind is like a clear mirror, so when anger appeared, you reflected with angry action. You love your son, so you were angry. Is this correct? Don’t check your mind — when you are angry, be angry. When you are happy, be happy. When sad, be sad. Afterwards, checking is no good.
Your previous anger and the anger you talked about in your letter are different. Before yong maeng jong jin, it was attached anger; after yong maeng jong jin, your anger was only reflected anger. If you do more hard training, the reflected anger will change to perceived anger. After more practicing, perceived anger will disappear. Then you will have only loving anger — inside you will not be angry, only angry on the outside. So attached anger, reflected anger, perceived anger, loving anger — all are changing, changing, changing. Anger is anger; anger is the truth. Don’t worry, don’t check yourself — it has already passed. How you keep just-now mind is very important. https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/01/only-dont-know-seung-sahn-anger/
He was the first Zen Master I sat with. First at initial Providence Zen Center above someone’s garage in (?) the early 70s. Later at Cumberland RI setting.
Only go straight. Only don’t know. This was his teaching. (Of course, like other dharma teachers, he became involved, it is said, with some of his female students. This is a problem that doesn’t seem to go away in the intimacy of trust relationships and the seeking of propriety in structurally unequal authority relationships.)
So it was. And, he was a formidable teaching presence in the Korean lineage.
When older and in more fragile health, he returned to Korea and a hermitage near his early monastery.
It’s hard finding good donuts.
It’s hard finding good spiritual teachers who are not ethically compromised.
It’s hard finding good human beings who are not damaged by failings and compromises.
Some cover this by saying that it’s hard being a human and relying on other human beings to practice correct relationships and authentic enlightenment. And it’s true. We are, each of us, by and large, disappointments -- whether to ourselves, to normative ethical standards, or moral virtuous behavior.
It would seem a fruitless and unsuccessful task to find someone, dead or alive, who personified and embodied a pinnacle particularity of some specifically defined perfection of life. This observation is not an excuse for the inappropriate. It is merely a supposition to temper the search should someone embark on the venture.
Maria Popova ends her reflection:
I have long believed that most constructive action comes as a form of complaint — an urge to effect positive change that arises out of dissatisfaction with the way things are and an active desire to steer them toward a more satisfying version. (A decade ago, I started Brain Pickings in large part out of dissatisfaction with my education, as an active complaint.) In a sense, Soen-sa paints anger as dissatisfaction in the extreme, which makes it a powerful mobilizing agent for positive change — or for what the great composer John Cage, a student of Zen himself, called constructive anarchy.
Soen-sa examines the rhythms of the four different kinds of anger as they course through us in succession, guided by Zen practice:
Attached anger sometimes lasts for three hours, sometimes three days, and does not quickly return to love-mind. When you were crying, you had reflected anger; it did not last long. Soon you returned to your mind that loves your son, and you knew what to do to help him… After more hard training, your reflected anger will change to perceived anger. You will feel anger but not show it; you will be able to control your mind. Finally, you will have only loving anger, ager only on the outside to hep other people — “You must do this!” — but no anger on the inside. This is true love-mind.
He ends with a note of assurance that the decision toward which the shock of Diana’s anger steered her — to move her son to a better school — was the right one and reflects a larger principle of personal growth:
Buddha said, “If one mind is pure, your world will be pure. Your world means your family, your friends, your country — all of them. So changing your son’s school is a very good idea. Sometimes, when the situation is bad, everything is bad; when the situation changes, then it is possible to change everything.
Back home, guests accompany Saskia to sail Penobscot Bay. Rokie trails other guest to yurt in hopes of a walk. Sun settles on Mid-Coast roofs and dooryards this final so-called weekend of summer. The house is quiet.
Maple yogurt on pecan maple flakes with blueberries with chocolate milk seems a good idea.
I don’t know.
I’ll just go straight to it.
Happy to do so.