by Scott Bradley
by Scott Bradley
Just recently I met Trey and Della for the first time. And it is just as I suspected — they are people. I suppose I had some vague expectations about what they 'looked like' and 'how they would be', but not so much that I was surprised. Trey said I was not what he had imagined, however, though he only mentioned that I wasn't wearing a flannel shirt.
Have I failed to share that I am an ugly old fart?
About five years ago I was in a restaurant with a girlfriend and went to the restroom where there was a large mirror. This was in Mozambique where Dylan tells us there are lots of beautiful people. I was not one of them. In fact, I didn't even recognize the wizened guy looking back at me. No wonder the 'girlfriend', a ‘looker', had yet to identify me as 'boyfriend'.
It is no coincidence that aging tends to focus one's attention more on ideas of emptiness and transcendence. When the attractive youth begin to give you as much thought in passing as a fire hydrant, you start to realize that emptiness is.
But we are all people. And if we can begin to understand what that really means, we are well on the way to understanding something of the Taoist sensibility of sameness, of non-discrimination. We are well programmed to recognize attractive/unattractive people, smart/stupid people, good/bad people, winners/losers, but until we have realized sameness and acceptance, we have not recognized people at all.
I love those representations of Bodhidharma, Lin-chi, and other Zen masters. These were not 'beautiful people'. It's as if the artists themselves wanted to break us free from our bondage to form and prejudice. And that, by-cracky, is a liberation that renders all people beautiful.
You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.