I actually wrote a post yesterday. It was somewhat political, a brief screed against the current anti-immigrant climate in this country, and a suggestion that we need to be more generous in our support of others in the world. But you don’t see it here because it felt half-baked to me. I took it down after about ten minutes.
It was the imprecision that bothered me, a sense that I was inviting controversy yet not quite saying what I wanted to say. Then, later in the day, as if by magic, I stumbled across this passage in Gary Thorpe’s book “Caught in Fading Light: Mountain Lions, Zen Masters, and Wild Nature”:
Many Zen teachers have cautioned their students against any dependence on words, either written or spoken. They have likened words to thorns and briars, and compared having an idle conversation to taking a walk through wild thistles and entangling vines. At the very least, we are told, we should give careful attention to what we say. This should be true at all times, but particularly so when we purport to speak the dharma, the real truth of things. When we speak to others with the intention of relaying or explaining Buddhist truths, we soon learn just how may traps and snares there are, and we learn the clever ways in which they can lie in wait, ready to spring upon us at the first sign of unsteadiness or hesitation. That we can be ambushed by our own words is one of the great lessons of Buddhism, and it is a lesson we learn constantly.
(Photo: Shadows on an old synagogue, Lower East Side, Dec. 2007)