That article called “Rhubarb” (Spring 2001) was certainly a sorry comment on the state of affairs of Zen in America. Just how is it that a so-called Zen teacher can be having temper tantrums and seemingly boundless attachment to the results of his efforts plus such slimey (is there any other word for it?) obsessive worry about what people will think of him and his miserable efforts? Ed Brown does not sound like a Zen master to me. First of all, his recipe should have worked better; secondly, even if it didn’t, what’s the big deal about falling on your face? If you smash some teeth in the process, go to the dentist and get the repairs done. What’s with this guy? And the guy who authorized him! Is this what the Zen lineage has sunk to here in America? I think I’ll switch to Vipassana.
Jusan Kainei, Anytown, USA
I, too, fear for the survival of Dharma in the West, considering that it has sunk so low that a blind donkey such as I could be entrusted with its teaching. But let’s face it. There are a lot of expert Dharma teachers out there, and only a few blind donkeys, so we need not worry that much. Besides, the Dharma can take care of itself.
Now to your point of tantrums and attachments being signs of the lack of attainment. You are absolutely right, and while many students and teachers of the Dharma are attached to their attainment and consequently deny or repress their true thoughts and feelings (which would give them away), I am rather attached to my lack of attainment. Perhaps I will start the “Get Real” School of Zen.
As for you, with a mind and heart like yours, perhaps with some years of zen practice under your belt, you could be become a teacher yourself and lead us all to complete and perfect enlightenment. I look forward to the day! By the way, best of luck with that and with letting go of your limited ideas about what constitutes true awakening. Having or not having, attaining or not attaining, if you look closely, it’s all, “subtle feeling reveals illumination, and we become children of the Buddha.”