Re: virus: Lakoff lecture: Q & A period

Robin Faichney (
Fri, 14 Mar 1997 10:15:00 -0000

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
>I have resisted becoming involved in the Zen discussions here, because
>I don't have time to counter the most egregeous misunderstandings, and
>little evidence that those proffering them are really interested. I'll
>take this opportunity now, though, because you seem to be halfway there
>and open to the idea, but still carry some misconceptions.

Who is "you"? :-)

In any form of Buddhism, everything is basically "skillful means",
ie just the means to an end, which is enlightenment. That applies
equally to minimalist Zen "just sitting", supposedly concept-free
practice, as it does to "maximalist" (?) Tibetan panoplies of gods
and demons, mind-bogglingly wierd ceremonies, etc.

It is often thought that Zen is the most direct route, but in fact
there are many, many routes in Tibetan Buddhism, some of
which are as direct as any in Zen. Arguments about which
route is best are futile, largely (but not only) because different
routes suit different people.

I don't know whether the implication that Zen is pure while
Buddhism is cultural baggage, was only in my own mind or not,
but in any case it's rubbish. Purity is in the mind of the beholder,
and it is beheld in (other) Buddhist traditions just as in Zen (and
in other contexts altogether, of course).

Robin Faichney