Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Around here (Massachusetts, U.S.A.), it is a good time of year to see what is sometimes called the intertwining of all things.

I am thinking of my backyard.

There, the grass is still a lush, emerald green. But sprinkled on that lawn, like some delicious salt and pepper, are orange and yellow and brown leaves that have started to trickle from the nearby trees.

Summer is obvious.

But so is autumn.

Where is the line between the two seasons we so casually separate with our adjectives and nouns? In words, there are two things. In smarmy realms, everything is one. But neither approach brings any real peace of mind.

The whole matter is so simple that our minds and lips are comfortably sealed. Every blade of grass and every leaf giggles like a school girl: "Shhhhhh! Shut up! Don't be a twit! Enjoy yourself!"


  1. Here is your second use of the term "smarmy" in as many days. Just recently, Barbara O'Brien used the word twice in responding to a comment after one of her blog entries.

    Since "smarmy" has been making the rounds on Buddhist blogs lately, and since, in all cases, the meaning wasn't obvious from the context, I looked it up. defines "smarmy" as "ingratiating and wheedling in a way that is perceived as insincere or excessive".

    Is it only coincidence that has led to the recent surge in the use of this word on Buddhist blogs? Or could it be that, in the wake of "The Scandal", its cover-up and its absurdly halting and vague resolution, Buddhists themselves feel a little smarmy?

    We can all keep sitting, meditating, reading sutras, attending retreats, bowing, chanting, etc., but if all of those efforts have failed to produce enlightened behavior on the part of Shimano, the ZSS, the Zen leadership in Japan, and the greater Buddhist community, maybe we need to rethink what practice actually means.

  2. "Smarmy" is kind of like "enlightenment:" Have a little patience and it'll go out of style. :)