Friday, June 12, 2009

My Damned Mother

"My Damned Mother" number 73 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

In this miniature, Aitken Roshi points out how our self-righteousness prevents us from experiencing the support our circumstances present for zazen. There are two things going on here.

First, biggest problem is self-righteousness or the desire to be the right self or the thought that it is right and true that I am or have a self. This is the first mistake, the root cause of suffering and delusion. All other hindrances follow.

Second, we take for granted the vast circumstances that have come to gather in order for us to be. To have the opportunity to practice is the greatest blessing.


This is a video response to a hecklers assertion that Atheists find life meaningless and have nothing to celebrate.  At the end of this short video Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a wonderful and impassioned answer to what everyone can celebrate. Even me.


Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.


  1. I have been aware of self-righteousness lately. I came to Buddhism from a desire to promote peace. This led me to paying attention to hate, which led me to awareness of how hate works within me, which has brought me face to face with my own self-righteousness. Seeing through that self-righteousness to an understanding that, as Neil deGrasse Tyson shares in the video, we are all star stuff, we are the universe, is a notion that I experience more and more frequently. I wonder what I'll understand next, beyond that notion.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. Kathy, I think that looking at how the so call afflictions of greed, hatred and ignorance manifest themselves within ourselves is such a powerful practice.

    I'm also reminded about Thich Nhat Hahn's poem 'Call me by my true names' So heart wrenching and full of compassion. A different side of the same connectedness that Neil deGrasse Tyson shares in the video.

    Thanks for sharing.