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vomiting dharma & what to do about it

bleuurrrgh so cute

bleuurrrgh so cute

I’ve always intended for this blog (and its previous incarnation) to have something to say about my ever-wavering practice as a Buddhist. The trouble, though, is that I’ve never really known what to say. I’ve finally started to figure out why.

Back when I began my dharma journey with the Soto Zen school, the whole idea of saying something about my practice would have been anathema. Transmission outside the scriptures makes it real hard to do much more than pair inspirational quotes with photos of lakes and shit. In the Soto school you sit down and shut up and try to let realization happen spontaneously. If I just stare at this wall long enough, if I just wash these dishes mindfully enough, if I just stop discursive thought once and for all I’ll finally throw that switch and get satori. There’s nothing to say. You just sit down and do it. Nothing to put on a blog except maybe occasional quotes from Dogen.

I got a little excited when I moved on (or scooted backwards, I guess) to the Theravada teachings that’ve gotten oddly popular lately. There was no stuff in Soto Zen. There was lots of stuff in Theravada. Crazy visions! Altered states of consciousness! Maps and charts and diagrams! Descriptions of states that look like this!

But what to blog about? I’ve tried doing the whole “man this commercial really makes me think about compassion, you know?” thing, and I can’t fake that tone very convincingly.  More than that, it feels kinda crass to write “hey I finally hit 3rd jhana today BIG UP” on a blog. I want a place where I can openly discuss this kind of stuff, but just farting it into the ether to be read by perhaps weirdly fascinated but otherwise disinterested parties doesn’t really do the trick. I need a place to put this stuff.

So: I’m trying to start a South Austin Vipassana Group. With all the free time I have.

Apparently there was an irregular group that used to meet a few years ago, but they’ve since disbanded and their organizer isn’t answering my e-mails. I’ve gotten in touch with a couple spaces on South Congress that might could maybe be willing to donate space for an hour a week. I’d love to do it like a reading group, maybe half an hour of sitting and half an hour of book discussion & chillaxing. Would young people show up? Would it be me and a bunch of old hippies?

We’ll see where it goes. Wish me luck. Or metta. Or whatever.


About Justin Jacoby Smith

I’m Justin Jacoby Smith. Some people call me “hoosteen.” I live just outside Washington, DC. I like punk rock & country songs. I’m a data monkey. I Occupy DC, because a better world is possible. I’m a cohost & contributor for Voices of the 99%. I’ve served on the editorial board of the DC Mic Check. I briefly developed digital strategy for The Parley. I write poems. Sometimes I get published. Dig it.

One response to “vomiting dharma & what to do about it

  1. Carly

    That picture is too scary. I’m too young.

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