Unwriting the I

I’m a great believer in synchronicity. Unwilling to sleep, unable to rid myself of the odd discomfort of my last post, I ended up surfing Buddhist blogs and encountered this one called One robe, one bowl on my second try.

Here’s a quote from the latest post which I don’t think requires any comment:

I mentioned my five-year-old conversion to Buddhism yesterday as well. Prior to taking precepts, I really believed that I could change the world through political and social action. What I never paid attention to was how I was engaging the world. I’d say, actually, that despite my well-meant intentions, I was living “without the world” before I took precepts. Buddhism didn’t prompt me to take a step back and examine how I was living in the world. I’d realized I needed to do so before I stepped foot in my first temple. What practice did give me was support and clarity for “shifting my paradigm of being.” And I didn’t shift right away, either. It’s not something that happens in a season, or even a single lifetime. It is something that we can observe, however; and I look back and see a difference.

Even as recently as last year, I still believed that I–we–could change the world and stop its suffering in a global and quantifiable way. What I’ve come to ask at this point isn’t how we can save the world, but if we can save the world.

What if we can’t stop the suffering? How do we practice from that point?

Her latest post drew me to read the other entries, but it was this one that prompted me to blog it:

Some things, however, do not vanish, not even with a new name and a self-erasing history. We wouldn’t want them to, anyway. Writing is still a part of my life and a part of my movement through the world. But where I once wanted to impose noise and “self” on stillness, now I’d like to try and find stillness in the noise. Rather than writing to bolster the idea of Me, I want to try writing to unravel the illusions that bind us.

It’s a paradox: how can I unwrite the I? Is it possible to admit an individual perspective while aiming at the Universal? …All I can offer is my trust in Paradox–that it leads us to our original home, and not away–and my best efforts on the journey.

I think I found the answer to my question, ‘Do I have the right to say I don’t care?’ The operative word isn’t ‘right’, it’s ‘I’. Dissolve the ‘I’ and any ‘right’ to anything becomes irrelevant.

This is one of the few things that has made sense to me for a long time, and one of the times I’m truly grateful for the internet.

Update, 28 November 2006: Note that One Robe, One Bowl is now gone. It has been taken down by the author. The URL is now used by a different blogger. But I am leaving my original post up there as it was.


2 Responses to Unwriting the I

  1. Soen Joon says:

    Thank you for taking the time to read the R&B posts so well, and that they were helpful to you. Writing, like any action, is just what is it; it’s how and why we do it that directs it and shapes its impact, not the fact that we’re doing it. And so!–best of luck with your journey. I’ll be reading…

    Soen Joon

  2. hitchhiker72 says:

    Thanks for the reply. What an honour to receive one, right after your ordination too! R&B is quite inspirational. I look forward to new posts.


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