Responding to Steve the Buddhist

Will Holcomb


Last night I visited the Zen group at The Appalachian and Dharma Center. We did a meditation and afterward "Steve" came to talk to me. Here was a snippet from our conversation:

Which pissed me off, but I crawled a few feet away and found my seat. We continued and he revealed his statement was because he believed I was asking to provide myself the opportunity to talk about myself.

My répose d'escalier is I want to hear another introspective comprehension of the metaphor. 99% of people have never heard of it. We read it in the Western Buddhist group three weeks ago. I asked those people if anyone identified, and there was no one. I know how I understand it, I want the type of feedback that can only come from someone who has also internalized the metaphor. I want to model your comprehension, so I can effectively communicate with you.

The metaphor is still a little fuzzy, but it starts with the Allegory of the Cave. The shadows are the process of maintaining mental conceptualizations of ourselves, others, and the environment.

The models are real in that they arise from the environment, but they are illusion because they are fingers, not moons.

The ox, then, is the generative mechanism for those models — that conceptual comprehension of the world.

Discovering the Ox

Discovering the ox is recognizing the reflective and predictive processes that are the maintenance of the models.

Training the Ox

Training the ox is learning to take your seat, then letting the reminiscences and projections that are the presence of the ox in your consciousness come and go.

Riding the Ox

Riding the ox is developing reliable impulses. It isn't that the modeling isn't going on, but predictive planning isn't driving behavior. The ox's feet are on the ground, but your's aren't.

I'll not recount my lustrumine history, but for several years I've been falling off the ox. That has led through unsustainable behaviors such as cashing out my 401k and giving the bulk of it away.

In any case, there were two main things I wanted to talk about:

To Steve, to poke your ox since you poked mine by telling me I was seeing the tracks. My primary evaluative context for you is Perry's model of authority. I took your statement as, You can't handle the Truth, which could fit at Perry 3.

This story continued. Another part of our interaction was he told me that I shouldn't enter mid-meditation, but wait for the bell.

The next time I arrived ~17:10 to find the door to the center locked. I sat down in the hall and, after a few minutes, Steve unlocked the two doors between us and sat with me.

I sent an email asking him if it was less disturbing to others' meditations when he opened doors than when I did.

The next time, I found the door to the building locked at 16:57. I screamed on it and went for coffee with the other person locked out.

(In Island there are Mynah birds trained to fly around crying Karuna!)

I eventually made it in. The Wednesday night sangha is more engaging.