Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Buddhist Fashion: Naked, Direct & Fearless

A week later Reggie Ray's talk is still rolling around like a little patchinko ball in my head. I am drawn deeply to that aspect of practice that encourages us to look inside for our direction, to have faith and trust our own inner whisperings. Something inside us knows "what is it good to do now". We don't need to read another book or hear another Dharma talk or make a 5 year plan. We come equipped with everything we need for our training, the koans & the map for exploring them.

I am interested in tuning my ear to the "still, small voice within " which is most often shouted down and ridiculed by the rather loud and overbearing voice of logic and reason. Not that the "thinking mind" is bad but I love RM Jiyu Kennett's comment that "the mind makes a good servant but not a very good master." This goes against the mainstream western view of the world, the world of the expert, the material world of science and stuff.

And while I am drawn to this world of mystery and intuition, it is not my customary stomping ground. I am a stranger in this land, a new comer to these parts. I have cast a disparaging, raised eyebrow on this landscape in the past, dismissing it as the vacation land of new agers and airy fairy folk.

Ray also talked about how as hunter/gatherers, humans were deeply connected to the natural world and that with the advent of agriculture that relationship gradually weakened. It is also interesting to note that nutritional anthropologists mark the advent of agriculture as the starting point of chronic disease in humans. Disease of body and mind; are they connected? Today we not only find ourselves disconnected and disrespectful (my word) of the natural world but Ray comments that we are disembodied. We live mostly in our heads. He is not romanticizing or wishing for a return to the short and difficult life of hunter/gatherers but rather wondering if we might learn to relate to our inner and outer landscape in a more respectful and caring way.

These are the aspects of training that call to me strongly at this time, that make sense at a deep level. Last night I picked up my copy of Ray's book, "Touching Enlightenment: Finding Realization in the Body". I will leave you with this quote from it : "Buddhism, in its most subtle and sophisticated expression, is not a tradition that seeks to provide answers to life's questions or to dispense "wisdom" to allay our fundamental angst. Rather, it challenges us to look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion."


  1. Landing on your site today was like receiving a generous loving morning feast...I am so grateful to have read and reread these words...reminders of our knowing wisdom. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Ya, wonderful. Start tuning into the body - everything you need is literally right within you. Stop abstracting and start experiencing. It IS that simple.

  3. How beautiful - yes. I find myself in a similar place: returning to the *felt sense* of the natural cycles of the Flow within and the intuitive senses (not that they are separate) - learning to relate to "them" again. I used to feel very connected to these until I started seeking for "enlightenment" and found myself getting mentally entangled in all the words and mentations that a lot of the "non-dual"/advaita teachings offer.

    So now, for me, it's a time of turning inward again and listening to and trusting those Heart Whispers - waiting for the 'Yes' and acting from there. It's definitely a different orientation, and feels a little like trying to use a unicycle, rather than a bicycle :)

    I love the last quote, especially the part where it says - "look beyond any and all answers that we may have found along the way, to meet ourselves (our Self) in a naked, direct, and fearless fashion." It seems this is occurring naturally - ? Maybe part of the "natural cycle" - ?

    Lovely post! - C

  4. We can get so caught up in looking for meaning that we overlook the obvious. As a mutual friend once stated to me, "Enlightenment, it ain't what you think!"


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