It's a slow day. I came across this short essay, Zen is Boring...
It's really a good piece of contemporary, accessible Zen writing:
People long for big thrills. Peak experiences. Some people come to Zen expecting that Enlightenment will be the Ultimate Peak Experience. The Mother of All Peak Experiences. But real enlightenment is the most ordinary of the ordinary. Once I had an amazing vision. I saw myself transported through time and space. Millions, no, billions, trillions, Godzillions of years passed. Not figuratively, but literally. Whizzed by. I found myself at the very rim of time and space, a vast giant being composed of the living minds and bodies of every thing that ever was. It was an incredibly moving experience. Exhilarating. I was high for weeks. Finally I told Nishijima Sensei about it . He said it was nonsense. Just my imagination. I can't tell you how that made me feel. Imagination? This was as real an experience as any I've ever had. I just about cried. Later on that day I was eating a tangerine. I noticed how incredibly lovely a thing it was. So delicate. So amazingly orange. So very tasty. So I told Nishijima about that. That experience, he said, was enlightenment.
Check out some of his other articles too. A breath of fresh air for the stuffy buddhists out there...
Oh, and another good nugget:
Thanks to the efforts of these fine people Buddhism in American is in real danger of becoming just a slightly more benevolent new age cult with no connection to real Buddhism save for a preference for statues of Buddha over paintings of Ramtha brandishing his scimitar over the gleaming spires of Atlantis. Buddhism in the USA is drowning in a stew of bad pop psychology, silly mysticism and trendy left wing politics.
Buddhism is not a set of ideas or views. You’re not a Buddhist when you can quote Dogen off the top of your head, rattle off a hundred and eight koans and their answers, recite the Heart Sutra by heart or even when you can espouse just the right opinions at the weekly meeting of your local sangha. And, by the way here, you are especially not a Buddhist when you can parrot the stuff I say.
Buddhism is a way of walking, a way of eating your Reece’s Pieces™, a way of wiping your ass after you take a dump. It has nothing whatsoever to do with any of the trappings of a usual religion or philosophy. The moment Buddhism begins to resemble anything like any other religion in the world Buddhism loses all value.
Oh, and here's an article exposing the "authentic" Irish pub industry