Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Charlie Crews mantra

You hear this (being played on a self-help audio tape) at the end of episode 8 of the first season of Life; Crews recites it during his interrogation by IAD as well:

"We are none of us alone. Even as we exhale, it is inhaled by others. The light that shines upon me shines upon my neighbor as well. In this way, everything is connected to everything else. In this way, I am connected to my friend even as I am connected to my enemy. In this way, there is no difference between me and my friend. In this way, there is no difference between me and my enemy. We are none of us alone."

Is this Zen Buddhism? Or a popularization of Zen Buddhism? (Part of the series set-up is this: Crews picks up Zen while he spends time in prison for a crime he didn't commit--it is the Zen outlook that helps him survive the experience.) It certainly doesn't approach the radical monism of Buddhism, admitting the existence of separate individuals--though maybe the higher truth that all is one cannot be attained by a beginner, and would not contradict the the apparent truth of pluralism (according to Buddhism).

Contrast this with the following Gospel passage:

Matthew 5:43-46

You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?
Audistis quia dictum est: "Diliges proximum tuum et odio habebis inimicum tuum". Ego autem dico vobis: Diligite inimicos vestros et orate pro persequentibus vos, ut sitis filii Patris vestri, qui in caelis est, quia solem suum oriri facit super malos et bonos et pluit super iustos et iniustos. Si enim dilexeritis eos, qui vos diligunt, quam mercedem habetis? Nonne et publicani hoc faciunt? Et si salutaveritis fratres vestros tantum, quid amplius facitis? Nonne et ethnici hoc faciunt?

Thus Christ concludes:
Estote ergo vos perfecti, sicut Pater vester caelestis perfectus est.

Here Christ teaches about charity and how it extends to all. Charity has its source and end in God, and so we are called to love our neighbor not because he is identical to ourself, and not merely because he is akin to us, possessing the same nature and sharing and being a part of the same Creation, but also because he too has been called to be a son of God and Christ died for him.

Just as God's love for us is not caused by us, so our participation in His love diffuses itself without consideration of what others deserve, seeking to bring them to Him.

Zen Buddhism WWW Virtual Library
Zen Texts

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