Saturday, February 26, 2011

Barry Magid, "There is No Zen, Only Zen Teachers"

Barry Magid, a successor of Charlotte Joko Beck, wrote a thoughtful piece about Zen that is well worth reading.  In the context of the current discussions which attempt to separate teacher "misconduct" from Zen, he suggests that there is no separating Zen from Zen teachers, and no separating the good from the bad in teachers.  They are to be taken whole, like life.  We cannot expect Zen without any harming because Zen is a human artifact;  we should not anticipate an "Enlightenment" that will free us from our human existential dilemma.

His piece rings true to me.  Wanting Zen teachers to be magicians will not make them so, but it will certainly make the students seeking an escape disappointed when the curtain is inevitably pulled back.  And wanting the impossible may seduce both the teacher and the student in the process.  See


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