Everything Zen

Bush’s album, Sixteen Stone, is me sitting in the library at the University of Colorado studying in 1994.  It was my study album for a whole semester, every time I cracked a book my CD player was there, best grades of my whole college career.  However, have you looked at the lyrics of Everything Zen?  Can this be right?  “minnie mouse has grown up a cow”……What the hell….. I’m new to learning about Zen Buddhism, but I don’t think “Everything Zen” has ANYTHING to do with being zen.

Ya know what does?  Have to do with being zen that is.  Suffering.  There’s a whole bunch about suffering in The Four Noble Truths, a main teaching of Zen Buddhism, here they are:

The Four Noble Truths

1.  Life means suffering.

2.  The origin of suffering is attachment.

3.  The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4.  The path to the cessation of suffering.

Growing up Catholic, there was a lot about suffering, “taking up your cross” and the like but I had never heard anything like Noble Truths, #3 or #4….granted I am far, far, far, far, far from a Catholic scholar.  But these Noble Truths offer hope, a guide for another option, notice it does not say suffering will vanish or disappear, it will still be there – so what changes?  Suffering is a big word, my mind goes to things like concentration camps.  But, like most things, there is a scale, the small things that cause us pain and suffering day to day and the big catastrophic type of suffering.

For example, me causing myself suffering because some one does not have the opinion of me that I want them to have.  A once close relationship has become difficult and challenging.  Or my jeans don’t fit today like they did yesterday, why do I have to suffer the water bloat?!  See, there’s a scale, it can be petty, it can be trite, it can be a tsunami but it can be stopped!  Well, the tsunami can’t be stopped but our reaction to suffering can cease.  Interested?  The podcast, Zencast 399 – Tools to Shift Our Perspective, available on iTunes for FREE, is a good start.

“I don’t believe that Elvis is dead” – Everything Zen, Bush

 

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