View Full Version : Dare to Be Ordinary

21 Nov 15, 10:31
Excerpt from an article from the Sweeping Zen website (continued at the link):

Dare to Be Ordinary

by Robert Joshin Althouse (teacher in the White Plum Zen lineage)

In a time when self-promotion, selfies and social media grab much of your attention it may be refreshing to hear a teaching that allows you to simply be yourself. In fact, given that narcissism seems to be of epidemic proportions in our culture, perhaps such a teaching that helps you appreciate your life in such a simple, non-referential way is, in fact, revolutionary.

Dharma is a word used in Buddhism that has different meanings. The most basic meaning of dharma is that of a system or way. We could speak of the dharma of tea or the dharma of flower arranging. It’s simply a system or norm of how some activity is organized. In early Indian thought, dharma simply meant “thatness” or “isness” of things. The dharma of water or the dharma of fire. So the meaning is very simple and straightforward. It’s just how things work or function. So this is the simple, mundane meaning, and then there is a deeper meaning sometimes referred to as saddharma. In the West, we don’t seem to have a good word for this. We might call it doctrine, or dogma or truth, but these terms seem to have some religious connotation that don’t exist in the word saddharma. Saddharma has to do with how you use your mind. You might say it is the spiritual path you create for making sense of your life. And path seems necessary as some reference point, or else you needlessly complicate your life.

So this dharma is the real thing. It’s been practiced, taught and appreciated for 2500 years. The Buddha added the term, “satya” to dharma, which becomes saddharma. This dharma is beginning to speak of truth in a deeper way, rather than stirring up more turmoil in your life.

Saddharma is a path of practice which tames the mind. It pacifies and cools off the passions and aggressions of your neurotic mind. The dharma offers the possibility of liberating you from your endless drama and confusion.

Instead of occupying yourself with constant discursive thoughts, opinions and judgements, the dharma helps you let go of the business and reactiveness that often have their way with you. At first it may seem threatening because it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with your schemes and agendas. It doesn’t offer you the usual comfort or reassure you by solidifying the ground of your ego.

The dharma is pure because it is not stained by your ego’s agenda. At first you have your own interpretation of what the dharma is, and at the same time some deeper intuition is cutting through that. And practice is a sorting out process whereby you begin to trust and listen to the deeper intuition which doesn’t provide you with any comfort necessarily, but at the same time is uplifting and inspiring because it is so sane and reasonable.

CONTINUED HERE (http://sweepingzen.com/dare-to-be-ordinary/)

Any comments?

21 Nov 15, 14:06
I don't like how the word "dharma" is being used to blend those ~2500 years up into a slurry of undifferentiated religious history.

So this dharma is the real thing. It’s been practiced, taught and appreciated for 2500 years.

Well... by some, yes... for others, it's Dharma + X, where 'X' stands for Taoism, or Hinduism, or Traditionalism, or Scholasticism, or Xianity, or Wicca, or some other damn thing.

The article is trying to point this out, of course, but it ignores the 'Dharma + Zen' math in order to call the whole shebang 'Dharma'. The fact that we have to say 'Dhamma + Iron Age India + English' is already something of a problem; why add another layer?