Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Perfection of Character

"The Perfection of Character" number 18 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

I was in a meeting yesterday and for a couple of moments I had this odd experience. Everyone seemed to be like orbiting planets. Each with his (they were all men) own climate and trajectory. Each had their own agenda and were more or less listing to each other. As I listened to each speak, I noticed that the person speaking took on a quality of wonder, or maybe a better way of saying it was wonder happened. It is not that they became beautiful, no we are a homely looking group. Each person's human qualities shined just a bit. I had not noticed this before. After the meeting I realized I had been much less pessimistic and contrarian than usual.

Robert Aitken points towards the "perfection of character" as being a subtractive process as apposed to an additive process. There is nothing we can get from the outside that will perfect our character. As we let go of our attachments, like my attachment to my pessimism and contrarian nature, more of our already perfect character shines through. This is what is meant by "Gaining is delusion, losing is enlightenment."

As promised yesterday, here is a scan of "To Forget the Self - An Illustrated Guide to Zen Meditation" by John Daishin Buksbazen. If anyone can tell me more about the cover photo, I'd be grateful.

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