Tequila/Monk

The Ten Suggestions, Phil Jackson

June 6, 2008

From an email to a friend:

Taking a break from the working and packing ...

I agree on the part about Catholics (not) canceling out large portions of humanity. The phrase “Thou shall not kill” comes to mind. (As someone once said, they are The Ten Commandments, not The Ten Suggestions.)

BTW, The Ten Commandments are similar to vows of Buddhist monks, so again I think there is similarity.

These emails made me think of Phil Jackson (coach of the L.A. Lakers) last night. He was brought up in an extremely strict Pentecostal household (both of his parents were ministers), then picked up Sufism and Zen from one of his brothers, and now describes himself as a Zen Christian. He makes an interesting distinction: growing up he was always taught to keep his mind full of prayers, and when he learned Zen he was told to empty his mind. Now I guess he splits his time.

In using gathas I think Thich Nhat Hanh is a little different for a Zen Master. Everyone else I’ve talked to always told me to ask myself only “What am I?” I think they aim for the same thing — mindfulness — but use a slightly different approach.

Your pre-meal prayer is a wonderful description of “interdependence.” I always wondered if people would eat less meat if they contemplated that cow a little longer?

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