Friday, September 21, 2012

Trouble Brewing

The library called yesterday and told me that my copy of Hiroyuki Itsuki's Tariki: Embracing Despair, Discovering Peace had arrived. This morning i poured a fresh cup of coffee and settled into the living room chair to finally get started. I've been looking forward to this for three weeks now.

And, i was still in the Forward, still not out of the roman numeral pages when Itsuki reaches out of the pages and smacks me across the cheek with this:

"Tariki stands in contrast to "Self-Power," or jiriki. Since its beginnings in India, Buddhism has taught a long and arduous path of practice to reach enlightenment. This personal effort made to achieve enlightenment is a manifestation of Self-Power. Tariki, on the other hand, is the recognition of the great, all-encompassing power of the Other—in this case, the Buddha and his ability to enlighten us—and the simultaneous recognition of the individual's utter powerlessness in the face of the realities of the human condition. It is, in my opinion, a more realistic, more mature, and more quintessentially modern philosophy than Self-Power, and it is a philosophy that can be a great source of strength to live in our world today."

Oh boy, here we go. More realistic? More mature? Modern? ?Really?

Back in the "old days," we were taught that there was nothing we could do but go to church, give our donations, and don't question the priest. God had our backs. All we had to do was what we were taught. I.E., other-power from the Christian pews. I certainly wouldn't call going back to that "modern," whether going back to "that" means going back to accepting the all-encompassing power and saving grace of God or the Buddha, or any other deity your culture has taught you is the "one."

Realistic? Maybe i'm the abnormality here, but any system of thought that suggests that we are not the main drivers of our lives is nonsense, IMO. In any and all areas of our lives, if we relegate all authority to some unseen, unknown "other" power, because the priestly class has promised that he/she/it will provide, we are setting ourselves up for major catastrophe. Unless you are part of that priestly class, in which case life will be sweet and materialistically rewarding. No, the person in charge of your life, your happiness, your success, your enlightenment, your growth, etc., is you.

More mature? Does that mean that i'm immature? Is that what he's saying?

OK. OK. Calm down. Lao is out in the kitchen quietly intoning "Patience grasshopper. Patience. You haven't even gotten to the pages with Arabic numerals yet. Just move on and see what else he has to say."

[three deep breaths] OK. Moving on.....

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