Three Essential Things – Zen #3

One of the things that annoys me about my religion (Christianity) is that lip service is given to doubt. Doubt is put forth from the pulpit as something we all have, but just like an addiction, the church likes you better if you are already over it. You aren’t expected to keep doubt with you. You struggle with it, then decide what the church teaches is right and get over it.  But to have doubt that stays is dangerous. Doubt is like a virus or a bacteria that can infect others around you and that can endanger the village, which can endanger the city, state and world.  Doubt that is in the past however, is a different story. It’s now a story of redemption, of overcoming, of faith. But it’s not is alive. And if it isn’t alive it can’t threaten anyone or anything.

Because of this, doubt is rarely ever talked about except in the most abstract of terms.  And this abstraction means there is no ability to wrestle with actual real doubts about anything.  Say you have doubts, ok. Say specifics, not ok. And if you can’t say what you REALLY have doubts about, is that really great faith?

Great faith meanwhile is extolled and talked about all the time in church. It’s the mountaintop to which we all wish to ascend. It’s the most admirable of qualities. You can talk all day about the specifics of your faith and it is embraced because there is no threat involved.  But is that really great faith?

The key for me then is the third essential. What is critical, before you have great faith or great doubt, is to have great perseverance. Just as an artist won’t create consistently great work without great perseverance, so to we humans will not produce great doubt and faith without it as well.

Drawing and commentary © Marty Coleman |

Quote is a Zen Proverb

How To Be A River – Zen #1

What river are you part of?

How do you know?

Do you love the other drops of water?

Is there a river if there is no flow?

Do you know where the river is headed?

Do you get to decide the part you will play?

Do you love the river you are in?

Drawing © Marty Coleman |

Quote is a Zen Proverb

Zen #5 – The Infinite

It’s Day Infinity of Zen Week.  Not unexpectedly, this week’s series has resulted in many more visitors from Japan than usual. I am hopeful you are all safe and have the support and strength to rebuild your homeland.

Normal cat is insistently meowing to get in the house. I hear her through the open window.  Light, fresh air is blowing through it as well.

She was insistent about wanting to go out earlier.  She went out when I went to check on the neighbors yard. I heard something I wouldn’t usually hear and Wiggle dog was barking at the fence in that direction.  All was ok.  It was my neighbor, who is usually not home this time of day.

While I was out front I took the opportunity to pull up some long dead plants.  I hit the roots against the warm brick wall so the rich soil would fall back in the garden. Then I threw them over the rusty barbed wire fence into the open field. I notice how well the chives came up again.  I pulled one plant that had new growth I hadn’t seen and replanted it.

I didn’t bother to check the mail, the mailwoman doesn’t usually come this early.

When I came back inside I started water to boil some beans.  They need to stand for an hour now.

Drawing and story by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily

Quote is a Zen saying

One year ago today at the NDD – People don’t grow up, they just grow.  Actually I thought yesterday was 3/11 so I posted the year ago napkin from that date. So, today I am making amends by posting 3/10/10. It’s a really good one, one of my all time faves.

Zen #4 – Enlightenment

I hope you are enlightened on day 4 of Zen Week at The Napkin Dad Daily. A shout out to all my Napkin Kin who have recently bought coffee mugs, thank you!

Enlightenment always wants to be grand.  We like to make the grand proclamation that we have been enlightened about something. Maybe after we have done something bad, been caught, and had to publicly apologize. Maybe after having an amazing life transformation that makes us aware of new things. Maybe travel to a new country that opens our eyes to ways we didn’t know existed.

We like to make a spectacle of enlightenment.

But enlightenment is sustained when it is small, not large. When it finds the mundane being just as capable of expanded awareness as the heroic, then it has food to live on. We can’t feed our enlightenment every day with only our heroic deeds and thoughts any more than we are likely to feed our bodies on only gourmet restaurant fare.  We feed ourselves in our daily life with more everyday fare and if you want enlightenment to stay with you, you have to find it there too.

Drawing and commentary by Marty Coleman of The Napkin Dad Daily

Quote is a Zen proverb

One year ago today at The NDD – Homelessness in Palm Springs
zen buddhism religion enlightenment mundane everyday hero heroic spectacle 2011

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