Category Archives: Buddha Nature

The Pope Leans Toward Zen

The Pope Leans Toward Zen

pop francis

For many years meat-eaters have tried to cure me of my vegetarian views by advising me that animals, unlike people, have no souls and therefore it is OK to kill and eat them. “God put them on this earth for us to eat. That’s what animals are for,” they conclude.

Rational people, on the other hand, know that the animals on the earth today evolved over millions of years and are with us because they were able to fill a niche in the ecosystem and survive. There is no evidence for the proposition that a highly intelligent creator-being created cows, pigs, chickens, fish and other such animals for the purpose of providing a food supply to humans. Fantastic claims require fantastic proof and the religionists offer no proof whatsoever to support their fantastic beliefs.

But there is plenty of proof that people who treat animals with kindness are much healthier and live longer than animal eaters. But those of us who practice Zen don’t avoid animal food for that reason. We let animals and people live because kindness is our religion.

The Pope is infallible and when he speaks, he speaks for that sky-god that irrational people believe in. The sky-god is all powerful but not powerful enough to speak to us directly so he is channeled through the Pope.

And now (during the Christmas season of 2014) we have learned from their sky god, as channeled by their infallible Pope, that animals have souls and that they will be with the saved in heaven. (Only a body with a soul, they have been teaching for centuries, can die and return to life to receive a reward or a punishment).

The Pope is therefore leaning toward Zen because one of the central teachings of Buddhism is that all sentient beings have Buddha nature. All sentient beings are capable of enlightenment. The Zen school takes a more radical approach and teaches that all sentient beings are already enlightened (without realizing it; like having a stack of gold bullion in a closet and being unaware that we are rich).

But if it was OK to kill animals because they had no soul, doesn’t that mean it is no longer OK to kill them, now that the all-knowing sky god has revealed that he created the animals with a soul so that they, too, could die and be resurrected thereafter?

And if it is now not OK to kill animals because they have souls, what new theory can the Church advance to justify the slaughter, in the prime of life, of perfectly healthy, soul-filled animals? The new theory is disclosed in the penultimate paragraph of this post. (“Penultimate” means next-to-last, for our West Virginia readers…that’s where I’m from, so I’m allowed to kid them).

Why do people feel troubled when they see a dog or cat mistreated yet don’t blink an eye over the slaughter of ten billion “food animals” per year in the United States?

Why do highly paid celebrities show mistreated dogs and cats in cages and beg TV viewers to send in $19.00 per month to put an end to such mistreatment? Why do they deny “food animals” the right to life that they grant to dogs and cats?

There is no such thing as a “food animal” and there is no sky-god who created them for the purpose of being eaten by humans. If the Pope was a great man, that would be his message. Instead his message is that “pet” animals have souls, not non-pet animals. And that’s the new theory that will allow religionists to continue slaughtering soulless animals, i.e., animals that are not pets. But at least the Pope has leaned a little toward kindness, and such leaning is in the direction of Zen wisdom.

So if you raise a cheetah from birth so that it doesn’t eat you when it’s full grown, you have conferred a soul upon your pet cheetah, but the wild cheetahs remain soulless. If that is the way the latest revealed truth about animals works, the Pope and the sky-god are nuts. But we knew that already…

 

 

 

 

Zen And Thrill Seeking

Zen And Thrill Seeking

All of us have seen the interview conducted by admiring journalists after someone has run up to a cliff and jumped off it into the abyss with nothing but a hang glider to hold onto. Or after jumping off that nine hundred feet high bridge in West Virginia on Bridge Day with a bungee cord tied to an ankle. And they say the same thing.… Continue Reading

Zen, Christianity and No Self

Zen, Christianity and No Self

  The Buddhist doctrine of no self is often misunderstood even by some Buddhists. People with low self esteem are known to embrace it: See, it’s a good thing to have no self! But the doctrine does not mean that the self does not exist. It means that the self that does exist is a… Continue Reading

Meat, Murder, Tofu And Zen

Meat, Murder, Tofu And Zen

The first fold of the Eightfold Path, Right View, is sometimes translated as Right Understanding and is explained by many commentators to mean that one has Right Understanding if one understands the Four Noble Truths. But that common explanation doesn’t jive with the Buddha’s words. He said the first fold of the Eightfold Path was… Continue Reading

Zen, Words And Nirvana

Zen, Words And Nirvana

Mahamati asked the Buddha: “What do you mean by ‘nirvana’?” The Buddha answered the question but he prefaced his answer with definitions of nirvana propounded by “followers of other paths.” These “wrong” answers are instructive because we can see that some of them seem to be correct! For followers of some paths, the Buddha said, nirvana is:… Continue Reading

Zen, Clear Water And Muddy Water

Zen, Clear Water And Muddy Water

My law partner walked into my office a few years ago and announced that he had just had an amazing conversation. You won’t believe this, he began, but I just spoke to a guy who said he has no cell phone, no computer, and no idea what the Internet is, and this guy was bragging.  Well, my clientele… Continue Reading

Empty the cup, Practice Zen

Empty the cup, Practice Zen

  A learned professor once sought out Japanese Zen master Nan-In. He told the master that he was well-read on Zen matters and did not need introductory lessons. He just wanted advanced instruction as to what should be done to attain enlightenment. The master offered the visitor a cup of tea and began pouring tea… Continue Reading

The Zen Bell Tolls For No One

The Zen Bell Tolls For No One

If there is no independent self, what is there? Buddhism teaches that nothing exists independently of anything else. Everything we see, hear, smell, taste or touch is connected to something else. Nothing exists in a vacuum. John Donne’s Meditation XVII, published in 1624, includes the passage made famous by Ernest Hemmingway: No man is an… Continue Reading

How To Practice Zen