Wednesday, September 12, 2012
I find myself on this catlove or lovecat theme just now. A sort of spring fever brought on by the sudden entrance of fall weather, clear and cool. I enjoyed this video, brought my way on Facebook by Barb Taylor, and thought, Wow, how we need to ask what our children need, our spouses. And what we need. It's sort of simple awareness, but then, awareness is not necessarily common.
Some Zen people I know have been trading fervent opinions about the precepts. One is a fundamentalist of sorts, who sees things in black and white. You see that in converts sometimes.
But really, if you are trying to figure out how to act with reference to rules, you can get very confused. For instance, if it's Not Killing and you believe that killing sensate beings for food is wrong, you may run into the fact that wheat harvested by machine kills all sorts of small lives who make their home in that field. (If you want to build your compassion for field mice, I recommend one of my favorite books, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.) I think I plucked the example of animals killed in a harvest from the writings of Bernie Glassman.
Sometimes I feel that my long journey with Buddhism and lots of thought has led me back around to the simplicity of the amazing Christian commandment: Love one another. Although I practice lovingkindness meditation, metta, I don't love everyone, so I vow instead to be kind. The Dalai Lama has expressed it eloquently: "Try to be nice."
Kindness is a heart move. When I pay attention to that vow it seems to mean that I do and say less and pay attention more. I don't bounce right in knowing what someone needs. Sometimes I don't know and can't "figure out" the kind thing to do. For instance, what do you say to a friend whose drinking seems to be messing up his life? I still don't know. Backing up to think about it, I wonder, What would I want someone to do if it were me? Now that sounds like the Golden Rule. I can't help it.