Wednesday, November 1, 2017
5:12 AM :
the end of daylight saving is the same as the start of daylight saving. it’s like buddhism or christianity: i just can’t believe in it. i still wake up at the same time but my phone says it’s only whatever o’clock.
but i am awake!
ok so it’s pitch dark and nothing and no one is stirring yet, but still…
i’ve recently become acquainted with several gentle and funny buddhists. buddhists often cross my path (hello kevin!) and there seem to be more and more of them. it’s a symptom of people wanting to believe in something and there will always be other people who say, you should believe this or that thing - and people do.
somewhere there is something i wrote called ‘why i’m not a buddhist’ but in 1985 i started a zen centre in hobart, tasmania and when i announced a series of workshops called ‘zen and the art of australian rules football’ some good people came (hi cathy! hi iris!). we would meet in the free school after hours, halfway up the mountain in the middle of winter. i remember the sound of the snow cracking underfoot as i arrived for the first meeting.
last night i was reading an interview with a buddhist called stephen batchelor from 2000. he’s got cute bushy eyebrows and he says some interesting things. i too have had several experiences of being overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the improbability of existence (and the infinite insignificance of what i’d been taught to think of as my ‘self’) but this is always coupled with the awareness of the urgency of the need for change, of the utter injustice of the existing power structures in the world - and the close interrelatedness and interconnectedness of the two.
when i go to stephen batchelor’s website all he seems to do is talk to buddhists about buddhism. i don’t understand why he continues to say he is a buddhist - because he quote/unquote ‘feels comfortable’ with it? because he wants to talk to buddhists? what’s the point of that? you might as well talk to christians about christianity.
in the last momentous week of october 2017, i gave a paper about the possibilities of john d.caputo’s idea of ‘perhaps’ for (post)secular spiritual work in a room with john d.caputo in it, and he responded. jack loved my paper but he said that he doesn’t accept that i don’t believe in god and asked me what i believe god to be. i told him about the god that the teachers at the st.willibrordus school in utrecht (1629-1984 RIP) tried to force down my throat, and jack said, but that’s not the god that i believe in.
there is perhaps only one fundamental thing i disagree with john d.caputo about and it’s the same thing that i disagree with stephen batchelor about and that’s the usefulness of talking about buddhism and christianity. let’s forget about god and buddha and talk about what is actually important. let’s talk about what it is necessary and urgent to talk about and let’s not use empty and useless words and names. let’s not say, well actually it’s five o’clock when it’s six o’clock, or vice versa. when it’s time to wake up and make coffee, let’s get up and do it - or you can have tea if you want.
and last sunday, i met for the first time with some people who are ready to wake up too and we talked together and listened to each other and it was momentous. perhaps this is the beginning of something significant: we’ll continue talking and not talking with and listening to each other on the last sunday of each month. come!