20 June 2008

Letter 2.13

As there’s no news at all here -- which, I suppose, is good news -- because I don't do anything and nothing has happened to me, perhaps I'll fill up the aerogram a with a few comments on your comments on the comments of the TV panelists on Yoga and Bud6hism»-though, not having seen the show, I will doubtlessly do them an injustice in my rash assumptions of what they said. Yoga, however, is a discipline with different emphases and goals as practiced by various Hindu sects. It can have for its purpose anything from bodily health (for which it is probably as good a therapy as anything else) to 'unification with the Divine Being', or other such mysticism. It his no part at all in the Buddha's Teaching: so if the panelists were discussing these two subjects as a unit anything they might have said would be founded on a false assumption -- vis. that they are related. If they were confusing hatha yoga (which is a set of bodily exercises) with meditation (which is the practice of mental concentration), then too they were making an identification so basically false as to obviate whatever conclusions they might have reached. Besides, the Lotus Sutra and the phrases you quoted are all from a Japanese sect and does not at all represent the Buddha's Teaching -- the Japanese themselves admit this -- but rather the (mis-)interpretations of the 27 Japanese Patriarchs (some of whose teachings are in direct contradiction with the original texts -- and in direct contradiction, as well, with experience).

As to the conclusion they draw, I can only say that meditation is inwardness activity is outwardness; and whichever one is chosen as the ideal the other will drag it in the opposite direction. (I went to Galle last week to see the dentist -- no cavities -- and even the little activity in 'going to Galle' produced a very marked effect on my practice -- as does writing letters.) But -- these people have no real practice (else they could never have cone to the conclusions you say they did in fact come to) and therefore cannot speak from experience. That being so, they have done no more than add their voices to the babble of confusion which surrounds the public image of the Buddha's Teaching. Most people, if they knew what the Buddha actually taught, would be totally surprised (and that includes most Sinhalese). Besides, how could Dennis Weaver know anything of meditation? How can he sit in the 'Lotus' posture? How does he cross his legs, when he can't bend his knee? Hey, wait fuh me, Mistah Dillon -- hey, Mistah Dillon -- WAIT FUH MEEEE!

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