Thursday, March 31, 2011

"The Buddha? Yeah I know that guy. He's a jerk."

           Enlightened beings are dicks. In many of the stories about the immortals- they are depicted as sagely persona's with powers beyond comprehension. This may be the case. They've reached an understanding and are approaching the universe in a much different way than we do. This does not make them great 'people' to hang out with. In fact I believe the idea of person or people is left entirely to the way side in regards to these 'things', or 'non things'. They can come off as total jerks a lot of the time. Their goals oft include getting you to get out side of yourself, and sometimes they do so by doing the thing you would hate most of all. The one thing that really grinds your gears, is the thing they might decide to do if it seems appropriate.
          Take for instance the Bodhi Dharma. This 'man'- and I use that term loosely, is known for a collection of stories. In one, he cuts his eye lids off, so that he can better stare at a wall, and not miss a thing. That's wonderful and everything, but let's talk about another story. A story that could take place anywhere, but for the sake of it, we'll place it at the Shaolin temple.
          There is a young monk sitting in half lotus, his eyes closed, trying his hardest to achieve peace, and enlightenment through meditation. Depending on your preference, either the hero or villain of this story, the Bodhi Dharma, walks over, and leans in very close to the young monk. The bodhi Dharma is breathing heavily, and audibly, onto the young monks neck, face, and ears. Basically like some sort of creepy, eyelid-less, dog, sniffing for food.

He leans in closer and after a moment, very loudly asks: "Hey, whatchya' doin?"

The monk's eyes flick open, and disdainfully replies: "I'm meditating, so that I can find peace. You of all people should know that." And shuts his eyes once more.

The Bodhi Dharma is apparently unconvinced. He replies, sounding almost a bit disappointed, "Oh okay." and walks off, seemingly in search of more people to bother. Maybe he did find others, but the important matter is, he comes back with a clay brick. He takes the brick, and begins to grind it against his hand next to the monks ear.

The monk, now irritated, opens his eyes once more and goes: "Okay, so what are YOU doing?"

The Bodhi Dharma answers casually, and confidently, in much the same way as the monk had previously: "Well, can't you tell? I'm polishing this brick into a mirror."

The monk, now flustered exclaims: "That's ridiculous! You can't make a mirror like that!"

The Bodhi Dharma replies: "Yeah, no shit buddy." Drops the brick, and walks off.

As funny as I find that story, it comes down to the idea that at some point, someone will make you mad with something they do. Regardless of someone's station, regardless of their level, understanding, or even ability- they will do things you don't like. They will do things that make them seem like the biggest ass hat of the millennium. A question that remains to be answered however, is how much you will learn from their actions. It doesn't really even matter if they know they're being a dick, or if they're even trying to teach you. Perhaps they really are just a total jerk. Even so, all of that is inconsequential- If there is an apt pupil, they will learn. The teacher does not matter. Pay attention to the things that make you mad. Do not be content with your dislike, or anger. Try to explore it, find its cause, and address it.

(Make no mistake, this is as much a reminder for me, as it is for any who choose to read this. I am no better, nor more enlightened than anyone else.)


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Introductions Are Uncomfortable

My name is Sam. I'm something of a martial artist, and I live in Philadelphia. My training is in various styles, but mostly I dabble here and there, following a path that some would call emulating Bruce Lee. I wanted to start a blog, to track not only the progress of my training, but of all personal growth therein. It would be very easy to keep a journal, but that doesn't keep me honest. In a way, posting where everyone can see it makes me more aware of every little thing I don't want others to know, and that's vital to understanding oneself.  That said, this is a blog for those of us who drink tea, and enjoy it, and not only because it tastes good. This is a blog for those who have ever wondered about the paradoxical notion of training for war, to understand peace. Lastly, for those who want strength with which to protect, and teach others.