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Not to be a wet blanket, but of my own wowser moments I remember and cherish and can retail from time to time, perhaps the most compelling was the recognition that arose after the wowser. It was then, in the quiet after-space, that I realized I was compelled to integrate what was knock-me-on-my-ass special into a life I had previously considered somehow un-special or ignorant or brush-my-teeth ordinary.
Special stuff lights my fire, warms my heart, encourages and propels me, perhaps, but who is this critter who assumes there is a time without fire. So ... after having had my socks blown off (honestly-- yummy!), there was also the time to put my socks back on.
Oh well ....
@federica -- I know you, as Newbuddhist's linguistics maven, have probably read and are gurgling with joy about The Guardian take on the proper use of English words, but I thought it was worth getting it all out in the open. Who knows, someone may learn a little English? You, of course, may chortle.
@karasti -- Lord, I remember those days and you have my sympathy.
When it comes to naughty and nice, for some reason I remember driving on a back road with my two, then young sons. Both were in love with the cuss words they seemed to pick up as a magnet picks up metal filings. They were doing it as we drove. I like cuss words and dislike seeing them abused so at some point during the drive, I stopped the car and instructed them both in somber tones:
After I restarted our drive, I wanted both of them to scream, yell and holler all of the cuss words they knew. I mean, no sissy stuff ... really belt it out. This I expected them to do for one minute and not a second less. Loud! Really loud! One minute ... and I would time them.
Needless to say, the proposition delighted them. They agreed. "Don't forget," I warned, "... one minute and not a second less!" Yeah, yeah, they responded. And so I started the car and that deserted back road. I opened the windows so the cuss words could get out. They screamed and screeched and hollered and laughed and screamed some more ... and after 20 seconds, they ran out of words. "No stopping!" I roared. "Not a second less than one minute!" But they couldn't do it. There simply were not enough words to fill the space. They were as naughty as they could be ... but naughtiness, like holiness, has a way of wearing out.
Not sure what that story has to do with the OP. I always said of my kids that I didn't want "to raise good Buddhists -- I want to raise good people." In general, that's the way they turned out ... minus a few cuss words, I suspect.
Zen is sometimes referred to as "the teaching outside the scriptures." It's a snazzy line, but when you look things over, I think every teaching represents "the teaching outside the scriptures." Why? Because each teaching -- however profound or wacky -- requires a student to dig in -- way in -- and unearth the essence. It is not a particular school that is the essence of Buddhism: YOU are the essence.
So, if anyone wants to diddle and dally with one description or bit of self-serving praise, OK. But for serious purposes, dig in and don't stop.
Zen thinks highly of itself. So what? Other schools see Zen as utterly bogus. Question: Do you want to discuss it or do you want to find out?
Just my two cents.
@newlotus -- Go for it! Dump the whole thing! Just don't imagine you know for sure what you are talking about. If "Karma" gets your goat, you can either 1. dump it or 2. study it thoroughly. There is no aspect of Buddhism that is carved in granite, that does not morph. There is no rule you must follow or pay some awful, hellish price. Buddhism is about your life, not about your smarts or beliefs.
Consider, however: If books really had the answers, Buddhism -- like the intellect -- would collapse. Why is it that every year, all the wonderful libraries of the world ADD books to all those other books which promised last year to serve up the "definitive answers" to all those important questions?
If you get sick, eat chicken soup, or whatever home remedy you prefer. If you insist on believing in past or future lives, whose responsibility is that? If you think there is something holy about spiritual life, please point to a single path that does not or has not screwed the pooch at some point... and yet various quite sensible people persist in following the path.
There isn't a serious Buddhist around who gives a damn if you or anyone else is a Buddhist. So ... go back to the old, sensible way ...
And see how that works.