Zen and Vajra

John Blofeld's 'The Wheel of Life' culminates in his initiation into a Vajrayana path in Sikkim. He has tested many of the principle paths in Buddhism and has been drawn to this one.

Zen requires one to plunge to the heart of things, and from there surface, allowing that centre to verberate through the layers of obstructing ignorance. Vajrayana peels those layers away, one by one, confident in arriving at the centre. The choice is one of temperament (shaped a Buddhist would argue by karma). The intensity of Zen proved unfitting to Blofeld's ox-like nature: plodding towards truth rather than plunging!

The account of that plodding is at once informative, illuminating and delightful. It both captures alluring incident, trending narrative, and intelligent discourse on the core truths of Buddhism (shared by the cores of all authentic traditions).

It stirred my own slothfulness towards truth: a nurturing of holy desire.

It, also, evoked the Himalayas: seen from diverse distances but never tasted. Add them to the aspirational listing!


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