Well last night marked the end of the six-week class at the Zen Center for Tony’s latest book, Peace Vigil: Living Without Hesitation. Not surprisingly, the class consisted mainly of regular Zen practitioners, but we also had four who stop by for classes and the occasional practice session or two. One has been testing the waters much more as of late, and one has become much more interested so he may well start exploring a bit more, I feel he may try out the Sunday evening classes for a bit.
Anyhow, back to the subject at hand, the class. It was an excellent class that pretty much challenges the conventional notions of peace, and challenged us to actually do something other than contemplate peace. The most involved of the homework assignments occurred on week four. The homework was to create a “Peace Network.” Some things were simple, such as sending the following text message to three people, “I Wish You Happiness” (better know as IWUH for those of us who do this frequently with each other). Others involved finding a space to sit quietly and observe, the idea being not the couch, rather someplace else, a park, a museum, a waiting room, someplace with some energy going. The most difficult one to arrange, but by far the favorite was the ‘Peace Picnic.” This involved finding three people will to get together for a meal. Each person would bring one dish that has a story behind it. During the meal, each person would take their turn to tell the story behind the dish. While this was the most involved of the homework's, I think it was also the favorite.
During the class, several of the passages were reviewed and discussed. One that I quite enjoyed was given yesterday:
The truth is hidden
because we refuse to admit
it isn’t about us.
Peace is not a secret teaching.
The only reason peace appears hidden is because we try to think our way to peace. That idea is an obstacle based on a faulty assumption that loving-kindness is logical when it isn’t. Look at all the great teachers. Each one of them seems a little daft in their rational mind, and the reason for that is because their lives defy logic. Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed would find themselves locked up today with their “crazy” talk about peace and love. Peace is concealed because we are addicted to violence. It is in our movies, entertainment, sports, and politics. peace is boring, conflict is exciting. Would you stay up all night watching CNN’s coverage of peace? Of course not, your violently habituated mind would be bored. And yet, when we invaded Iraq, for the second time, you stayed up all night being entertained by the death created at the hand of “shock and awe.” Peace is hidden because you are selfish and that is no longer a secret.
I enjoyed this one because it points out so many things. Typically, we are the reason that peace does not appear. We get in the way with what we want, try to superimpose our personal ideas of what peace should be on any situation. Peace is not about be, it is about us, about community. I also love the bit about Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed, mostly because I had that argument when I was a teen living in Texas. My friend, who was very devout, said that there was no way that Jesus would be committed and put on Thorazine because he would know, heck, everybody would know, after all, it’s in the bible. Ah, the childhood memories.