Sunday, November 16, 2008


All that I know, really and truly, is this: fixing the head down on the front of the spine by pulling in the chin, as I was taught to do it, for the purpose of stopping thought, is never part of the solution to the problem of suffering. It is part of the problem.

Fixing, as FM Alexander said, is our worst evil. I think fixing is the fault at the centre of all faults, as the Moro reflex is at the centre of the whole tangle of vestibular problems. Fixing is right at the center of the tangled skein of faults that, as Ashvaghosha described, sets dukha in motion.

If I sometimes seem strident it is because I know the above, I have had it clearly demonstrated to me, whereas if any of the so-called Soto Zen masters of the present know it, I do not see the evidence of them knowing it. I see the evidence of them not knowing it, and yet teaching others. They put on a show as if they might be sitting in the enlightened glow of ancestors like Ashvaghosa and Dogen, while actually they are manifesting the gross stupidity and delusion of the bad teachers of recent times who taught them, throwing away mindfulness, unconsciously to pull in their chin. Kodo Sawaki, Shunryu Suzuki, Taisen Deshimaru... I don't care how great and famous the Roshi was; if he advocated pulling in the chin, then the "right posture" that he thought of as enlightenment was actually the very essence of subjective delusion. And Gudo Nishijima, my own teacher, has continued to be a prime example of this stupidity, this arrogant madness. Now, in his old age, he thinks he has got enlightenment at last. But I know for sure that he is not enlightened. He is just a stubborn old man who did not like, when I confronted him with the reality, to look in fact at the reality he preached in theory. He opted for denial. He preferred to listen to people who curried favour with him, wanting to get his Dharma so that they could believe themselves to be -- even announce themselves ridiculously on their web-pages to be -- a certified Zen Roshi. Gudo in recent years has taken to calling those who revere him "Venerable." That became his criterion -- whether a person reveres him or not. What a joke. What a tragedy.

Gudo is like one of those old dentists who, having made a career of putting mercury into people's mouths, would rather die in ignorance than admit that amalgam fillings can have a very toxic effect on some, if not all, people.

Even though I know, I have been taught, I have been shown, by Alexander teachers, that fixing is never part of the solution but is invariably part of the problem, I continue to do it, because I forget, I fail to remember, what I have already been shown.


As this breath passes in,
I try to remember not to interfere.
As this breath passes out,
I try to remember not to interfere.
What was it, not to interfere?
It is difficult to remember.
But one thing I know:
It was not that.

Finally there is nothing to do but express gratitude to the stupid bad teachers of recent times like Kodo and Gudo. They did their best, in a degenerate age, to go back to the source. Binding on the armour of mindfulness, let us try to follow their example of heroic endeavour -- while striving to be freer of foe-like faults like fixing, than they have been. For, as Ashvaghosa said:

Even a hero is not considered heroic if he is struck down by the foe-like faults.

Saurandananda 18.28, trans. Linda Covill

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