“Gratitude and… forgiveness. That’s pretty much it,” he thinks to himself as he sits spacing out in front of his decaying 31.5″ TV., and episode of Archer rattling in the background.
“But that’s not it, is it? Not the only it that It is.” One of the problems he has with views—even, or especially, his own—is that all of them are ripe for hole-poking. He’s never found a view or principle that is so without exception.
Many times he’s wished that he could settle on something, on one view or one particular method. At the same time he knows that that would be limiting. If he said, “I just won’t settle on anything,” then that would be limiting too.
“Maybe Noble Gratitude, and Noble Forgiveness. It just seems like, when I embody those qualities, then that’s it, really. That’s, ya know, the whole package. Being grateful for every little experience and forgiving every little slight and ill-conceived whatzits: that naturally conditions a peaceful mind.”
There are four methods of spiritual development:
- Showing a passive interest in whatever it is.
- Showing an active interest in whatever it is and then clinging to it like it’s a raft in the middle of a hurricane without actualizing whatever it is.
- Using whatever it is to make one a better person.
- Using whatever it is to overthrow ideas like being a better/worse person.
Most of the world’s religions and philosophies can be approached in those four ways. The first resembles non-practicing Christians, Buddhists etc. The second is classic dogmatic fundamentalism. The third is the classic picture of a “good” practitioner. The fourth exemplifies Crazy Wisdom, the Sage archetype.
Early Buddhism and some of the Mahayana endorse #3. Zen, Yogacara, Vajrayana, and Taoism endorse 3 & 4.
Awhile ago, he decided that #3 is the best option for this time and place. Not for him, he’d prefer #4, but for how he relates to the world, how he lives among others. Sometimes, serving beings demands a personal sacrifice.
Sometimes it involves letting go of the Path we’d like to follow because it’d be useless to others.
The irony is that he used this Bodhisattvic notion to renounce the Bodhisattva Path and enter the Lone Buddha Vehicle—because that’s what he feels that the world needs, what the world’s calling for.
“Well, whether grateful and forgiving or not, I’d just be happy if everyone learned to chill the fuck out.”
That’s the message that rocked his world, that flipped him around and completely altered his practice. “Just mellow out, man.” He solemnly believes that if people could simply learn to relax and work with the Four Jhanas, most of the world’s problems would solve themselves.