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I like the idea that Buddhism is about "authenticity."

Some Buddhists might ask 'Authentic to what?' with the thought in mind that emptiness or selflessness leaves nothing to represent authenticity.

But you do have to stop 'gaming your life,' I think -- which involves setting oneself up as representative of something. And I think this happens as much inside the Buddhist community as outside of it.

It is so easy to want to appear to be virtuous more than to be virtuous -- to take up a romanticized notion of oneself. To my mind, even a straightforward effort to be virtuous is wrongheaded unless you are truly fully comfortable in every step of the effort. It is perhaps better to be the jerk that we truly are -- and thus work through our problems -- than be a faker, smiley broadly on the outside while suffering on the inside.

On the other hand, I do want to buy that latest teeth whitener that I saw on an infomercial. You know the one? The chemicals work while you grip a light in your mouth?


this was a great post. i can relate so strongly to the desire to fix that one last thing about yourself. it is indeed a delusion. it is nice to be almost free of it. at least i see it for what it is.
i've seen the book "hardcore zen" highly recommended before, but i think this time i'll order it.
the new format looks great, by the way!


Tom, when you said:

It is so easy to want to appear virtuous more than to be virtuous -- to take up a romanticized notion of oneself.

...that really states very well one of the things I was thinking as I was writing this post. It's common for all of us to do this to some extent.

I think the danger is that when we are walking around trying to be "good little Buddhists" we may just be spreading icing on a moldy cake.

Instead of trying to be a certain way, I think we just need to practice.

You can have your teeth whitener if you want. I'm not saying that all products in infomercials are evil and to be avoided. I'm not even saying that all self-help books are evil and to be avoided (though it probably sounded that way). I'm suggesting that we look at what drives us to consume these things... If we think we can somehow resolve our dukkha with all of this "stuff," maybe we just need to think again.


Thanks, haiku...

Hardcore Zen is really great. I'm on the chapter where Brad explains the Heart Sutra, which I must say is awesome.

I think you'll enjoy the book.

Press Guy

the idea that Buddhism is about authenticity was really grate!

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