Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Jedi not an option?

On my personal blog I recently conducted a poll asking the question 'Why did you get into Zen?'. The results of my highly-scientific poll are in!

Don't know (33%)
A full third of the sample simply don't know why they started to practise Zen. Is this something to do with mokusho (non-thought)? Or are people really unaware of their own motivations?

Jedi not an option (26%)
Now this is a response I can relate to. My teacher may be be disappointed to discover that if Obi Wan Kinobi to appear to me in the desert offering me a lightsabre and paranormal powers, I would be very tempted to follow him. But it hasn't happened so I'll have to settle for the next best thing. Any Jedi masters looking for a new disciple can contact me at the email address above.

Mu (19%)
This response means 'I don't know, but I am a smartarse'.

Receeding hairline (11%)
Another valid response in my opinion. Would you rather be a disciple of The Way, a monk of the special transmission beyond words and letters, or would you prefer just to be a bald git? A no-brainer for me that one.

Like the outfits (7%)
Seems a bit superficial. I suspect that many people like the outfits because it allows them to imagine they are Jedi. If you want to be a Jedi, you should have the courage to admit it. The key question: have you ever swung around a toy lightsabre/cardboard tube/kyosaku while wearing kimono, kesa etc ?

'Nam (2%)
We had one respondant who gave this answer. I now have an image in my mind of a veteran tormented by PTSD going AWOL and trekking through jungles of Vietnam in search of a way to find peace; perhaps finding a Zen master there. How intriguing. Actually I once met someone who did almost exactly that except it was a master of kung-fu he followed. Please contact me if you'd be interesting in making a movie.

To annoy parents (0%)
So no one is prepared to admit that they practice Zen to annoy their strict Catholic/Evangelical parents? Come on - do you expect us to believe that?


  1. If you're still looking for contributors, I'm still interested.

    (commenter formerly known as cpd314)

  2. Send me your email (to the address on the upper right). I'd be keen to hear your stories about Buddhism and being a cop.

  3. I did send the email, but for some reason I guess it isn't getting through. I'll try again.

  4. Isn't zenzen a breath mint?----reason enough with all that prana breathing and such.

  5. I would choose "Dun Know"

    BTW: Who am I?

  6. I had heard that zen practice was about learning how the mind worked and seeing the source of suffering. There were a series of classes on Suzuki's book given by a Zen Sangha in town. I read the book, it made no sense to me, which appealed heavily, and went to the class. I wound up going to another groups sitting that night and got instruction on beginning meditation. I never did get to the class on the book and just kept going back each week to where I ended up in the first place. I certain drive was taking over and over the years i would se people come and go in the group and would wonder what brought the there.
    As head of the zendo for 7+ years I watched and listened. The answer of Don't know seemed overwhelming and as I saw it was due to mainly two reasons. First was a rejection of peoples current religion and lack of a sense of belonging. The second was an implied desire for someone of authority to tell them how to live their lives. These seem like such cut and dry reason, but they were of different degrees and not everyone for sure. Most people, though, would say they didn't feel right, but couldn't put their finger on why.
    This is a very short and general way to put my experience.