Thursday, January 14, 2010

You're already perfect - and you should take a break

[An American midwest painting by George G. Adomeit, "Tilling the Fields."]

I'm honored to learn that minddeep included me on her end-of-year list of 15 Great Women Buddhist Bloggers. This has meant that more people visit this blog, and strange new things happen to me, like being asked for my opinions. (Moi?) I remind myself that it is a turning of the dharma wheel. It is a little more connection between us, the women who are out here on the internet forming a great mandala, and I thank minddeep - Marguerite Manteau-Rao - for that.

The Constant Reader knows that I have sometimes wondered what I do here. I don't think I do much of telling people they should practice. I have a strong "should" detector. I did used to think everyone should meditate. Well, that was beginner's enthusiasm. Now I realize that it isn't for everyone, that I don't even know the next right step for myself, let alone for my closest friend. So I try to do this step, this one, and not worry about the next step.

There are many good and faithful teachers and teachings on the internet, so I don't try to do what they do. I don't think I do too much telling the dharma, though Zen stories often leak into what I'm writing about, that's the way my mind works. I enjoy stories and metaphors; I think that's one reason I've been attracted to the Zen tradition. Over the years I've become flavored with Buddhism, you could say, like water with a drop of indigo ink in it, but I'm no longer cocooned in it.

My earliest model, I suppose, is the first blog I ever followed, James Ford's Monkeymind. I had met James, so his voice was friendly and human to me. You never know what he's going to write about. My only problem with him is that he stole the great title Monkeymind before I could get to it. He exemplifies the real fertile, interested, changeable mind that is not constricted by ideas about what you ought to be.

In the end, though, I found my name, landing with a nice solid thud on Dalai Grandma - a joking way to refer to myself. That helped bring forward my sense of humor - it runs in the family, sometimes alarmingly. And there was the grandma part, which is true, too. I tend to have the long view of life that you get by looking at it from 67 years. You view generations and people with the grandmother's mind and the special heart that opens when we see our grandchildren - all children - are perfect.

Sometimes I think about how Zen needs to angle itself differently for women, to emphasize our wonderful capacity for Grandmother's Heart. I think it was Dogen who urged his dharma heir to cultivate it more. Maybe I should write more about my thoughts on that. We really are different than the men these practices were designed for, even though we are also just the same. (There, some Zen paradox.)

Just today a friend and I were recalling that Suzuki Roshi said to students, "You're already perfect - and you need to work a little harder." True, true. But also, many of my readers are women, and what I know about women's lives is that most of us already work too hard. So I'll close by saying, "Thank you for reading me. Remember, you're already perfect - and right now, you should take a little break."


  1. Yes, Zen from your perspective, how perfect!

  2. Things always present themselves just when you need them. How lovely to read this particular post when I needed to be lifted up. I should have known I needed a grandma's care :-)

  3. Oh Lulu, thank you. I feel so good to think I help some lovely person.

  4. That was just lovely. Yes, I should take a break and then I see that your post "All you have to do is follow the schedule" is lined up next to the reply box. That's a lovely post too. So I shall define me as already perfect and forget that my schedule for today was only partially met - I sat this morning AND had a shower! I think tomorrow might be a nice day to be off line!

  5. i find it so interesting that in the mind field of the bloggoshphere that there are currents of thought we all share. your post echoes an a issue of very similar energy that i've had flowing thru me for over a week now. There is a quote in neuropsychology that says "neurons that fire together, wire together" and I do think the internet is like a huge brain full of connections that can hook up this way.
    the trick for me is, and i just wrote about it, is to use the same principals i learn in meditation to quiet down the network inside and outside.
    but i'm glad i'm resonating with my grandma! makes me feel like all is well in Indra's (inter) Net :)

  6. Don't mind if I do (take a little break, that is). Thank you for the Grandmotherly Permission Slip!