The Newsletter

REGULAR RMC SITTINGS THIS WEEK:
June 17th-23rd, 2019

MONDAY, June 17th, 7-9pm Monday Night Koan Group Ordinary Life
with David Longerbeam

6 Mondays, this Monday June 3 through July 8.
More on the group. RSVP to David Longerbeam.

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WEDNESDAY, June 19th Community Night 7-9pm: Perfectionism: Cultivating Integrity? with David Weinstein

”The righteous person is the thief of integrity.” –  Confucius – Analects, chpt. 17:12

When I first found this quote about integrity and the righteous person I mistakenly thought it was from Zhuangzi. It was part of a volume which contains four Chinese classics, two Taoist texts, The Tao te Ching  and The Zhuangzi, as well as two Confucian texts, The Analects and The Mencius. It sounded to me like something Zhuangzi would say, irreverent, anti-establishment, somewhat subversive.

It wasn’t until I sat down to write this that I realized my mistake. Not only my mistake of attribution, but my mistake about Confucius. There are a number of places in The Zhuangzi where Confucius is set up as a fall guy, a straight man to Zhuangzi’s wit. In a number of other places Confucius appears as a born-again Taoist, but this is from The Analects, written by Confucius himself not a Taoist satire. I seem to have bumped into my own righteousness about Confucius and stolen some integrity from myself.

In that realization and in this exposition of that realization, I embody my integrity and even deepen it. In talking about integrity Zhuangzi says that it cannot be cultivated any more than a mountain can cultivate being a mountain, or the ocean can cultivate being the ocean. The honesty that is associated with integrity can be confused with perfection, in which case a mistake becomes a lapse of integrity, when in fact it is the path to integrity.

That does not mean that there is no remedy.  My meditation practice consists of: noticing when I am not paying attention. In that noticing my attention is deepened. This is not because I have cultivated attention, but because I have paid attention to what happens when I don’t pay attention. I can notice also what my experience is like when I do pay attention, but then it is just one of the 10,000 things I am paying attention to, not something special. There is no righteousness.

David

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SUNDAY June 23rd, 9:30am-12pm: Climbing a Tree Looking for a Fish .with David Weinstein 

“Petty thieves go to prison, great thieves become nobility.” – Zhuangzi

This quote from Zhuangzi sounds like something that might have been used by the Occupy Movement in protest against the 1%. While great disparity in wealth existed during the times of Zhuangzi, this statement is not about economic disparity, but rather about the disparity of being out of tune with the Tao.

Petty thieves go to prison for breaking petty laws. Meditation practice is prime real estate for developing petty laws. We legislate ‘laws’ about what it should look like, or what it should not look like. As a result, we go to a prison of our own making for violating a petty law of our own making, as the result of the prosecution and judgement carried out by ourselves.

Great thieves steal it all leaving nothing behind. They have no idea what meditation looks like or what awakening looks like. Those ideas have been stolen from them as their very selves have been stolen too. In the Tao te Ching it says, “The faster laws and decrees are issued the more bandits and thieves appear.” The more ideas we have about what meditation looks like, the more we sentence ourselves as petty thieves.

It also says in the Tao te Ching, “If you give up ingenuity and abandon profit, bandits and thieves will roam no more.” It is in the pursuit of profit in our meditation practice that we resort to ingenuity rather than wholeheartedness. The pursuit of the intimacy that a meditation practice offers, through the legislation and enforcement of petty rules and regulations is like looking for a fish by climbing a tree.

David

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