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OCD, China, and Shakespeare in Arizona December 4, 2007

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, Random Notes, Reincarnation.

Reading about perfectionism / OCD in the New York Times. A counselor at U.C. Davis treating perfectionists gives them this advice:

Leave work on time. Don’t arrive early. Take all the breaks allowed. Leave the desk a mess. Allow yourself a set number of tries to finish a job; then turn in what you have.

David Brooks, in another part of the paper, talks about China being a radical meritocracy (no one leaves work on time there):

When you talk to Americans, you find that they have all these weird notions about Chinese communism. You try to tell them that China isn’t a communist country anymore. It’s got a different system: meritocratic paternalism. You joke: Imagine the Ivy League taking over the shell of the Communist Party and deciding not to change the name. Imagine the Harvard Alumni Association with an army.

Why the second-person here, and what’s the connection with OCD above? Don’t know. Konchog of Dreaming of Danzan Ravjaa found himself in Arizona. Will he run into another of our favorite bloggers, the Rev. Dogo Nanshin Barry Graham Sensei of Urban Monk? If the world were Shakespearean locations he sure would (see this great thing, by the way) a world with places like, “Act II, scene iii. France.” As if everyone of importance to the plot who is in France will be on the stage together. . .

Act CCCVIII, scene one million and four. Arizona.

Enter Konchog, with laptop.

I came at my teacher’s invitation, and while, as often happens at Dakini Valley, it was a bit of a karmapalooza at first, we’ve now settled into a nice, relatively low-intensity retreat rhythm. I’ve also been more extensively discussing with Jetsunma plans for a teaching visit to Mongolia next spring/summer, which would be my fondest wish come true.

SILENCE is heard off-stage. Enter Barry Graham.

cold room,
unlit logs
in the fireplace

All right, sorry. . . . The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the reincarnation row (rhymes with “oww”) in China and has this this to say:

That reincarnation could become a political issue is one of the many curiosities of Tibetan politics. If you are going to believe in reincarnation, a non-believer might ask, can you really start haggling over specifics? In Tibetan Buddhism’s case, yes. For all its pageantry and mysticism, it has always contained the pragmatic streak found in any durable religion.

The Economist also took a look at this issue. Funny to hear these stolid and starched publications discussing reincarnation with a straight face:

[The Dalai Lama] has long has said he may not be reincarnated at all, or, if Tibet is not free, that he may be reborn outside China. This would do much to undermine any attempt by China to appoint its own Dalai Lama in the way it chose a new Panchen Lama, the second highest-ranking leader of Tibetan Buddhism, in 1995. (A rival reincarnation endorsed by the Dalai Lama, a boy living in China, has not been seen since.) Recently the Dalai Lama has gone further, proposing that his successor be chosen while he is still alive, by himself or by senior monks. And this week he even suggested that Tibetans could hold a referendum to decide on the Dalai Lamas’ future.

And more science-type stuff (yawn) saying meditation is good for you:

Research from the University of Oregon claims to prove that attaining a state of “restful alertness” for 20 minutes a day over a period of just five days can reduce anxiety and lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

The millions of people worldwide who practise meditation may well allow themselves a wry smile at receiving the approval of modern science. For theirs is a tradition that dates back nearly 3,000 years.

Comment. Meditation is enlightenment. And so is everything else. So where is the stress? (Massage is good too. – Eds. See this Wildmind post (courtesy Simra.net) for a more satisfying read on the benefits of meditation vis a vis ADHD.)

Oh yeah, can’t let this pass: Bush insists pressure be kept on Iran. Stay afraid, America, say very afraid!

– Philip Ryan, Web Editor



1. Dogo Barry Graham - December 5, 2007

This made me laugh so hard, my cats are staring at me.


2. Stalking the possum - July 23, 2010

“Will he run into another of our favorite bloggers, the Rev. Dogo Nanshin Barry Graham Sensei of Urban Monk?”

Of course Graham was laughing. You gave him a blurb to use on his wikipedia profile. Whoops – that whole page got deleted as ‘self-promotion.’ Sometime after this, Tricycle (somewhat inaccurately) reported on the controversy surrounding Mr Graham’s claims for Soto Zen legitimacy/dharma transmission, which numbers of former students, and apparently the one confirmed/non-fictional teacher Graham has ever had, say are completely bogus.

In addition, Graham’s blog is a record of half truths, an agonizingly childish understanding of Zen, and juvenile narcissistic ramblings with occasional attacks on other teachers (including his own, who’s now renounced him.)

Yeah, a real fave. Good discernment there, Tricycle. He’s a real peach.

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