9215. NOTHING TO PROVE / NOTHING TO GAIN:
Back in these earlier days when they were still being called 'Beatnik Days' there was a concept going about (Alan Watts) which set Zen Buddhism into three distinct parts - there was 'Square Zen' the zen of the established tradition which was still foreign and forbiddingly stern somehow and which no one really wanted to adhere to and then there was 'Beat Zen' with its digging of the universe and all that - sheer caprice which almost seemed perfect for these new masses and small coteries - and finally (my most important one this final third) there was what became 'zazen' for want of a better term : 'NOTHING TO PROVE / NOTHING TO GAIN' and that's fairly where I stopped in my pursuit of perfection my slow transformation to hip my own changing of the guard (also grateful for the established and traditional rules of the zendo unquestioned which allowed one's mind freedom within the form).-
And the first words I ever heard were an almost prison-like 'hope you like it here' - 10-inch rails and the mother of kings and worn-out parsons and what Spring brings - new growth perched in trees and shafts of life cutting through soil - the sticky bright-green of a brand new leaf and the freshly moistened smell of morning air and it seemed as if everything conspired to come together at once and move the world along : magnificent murals on the walls of the museum where small groups of curious people walked along engaged in something unknown - the patter of words there too the small steps of adhesion towards understanding and realization the unwritten stories of each of their lives while ten blocks away an old woman handles melons and vegetables at an outside cart - as intent on inspecting the wares there as were the gawkers viewing the art - somehow one day I awoke in a gutter and felt I'd hit bottom and I really wanted out but couldn't bring it forth 'why die when you still can live' an inner voice said so I got up and brushed myself off AGAIN and went forward towards another round of going round - curlicue circles on the grass at old Madison Square and that old clock-tower striking something noisy in the air - Tom Paine again and Washington Irving again and Mark Twain again and Poe once more as I walked around saddled with endless woe but managed to eke out a composure worth every bit of what the city brought forth and it all just seemed always to just go on.
Some things just spring from Nature while other things are as artificial as all get-out : money I figured being one of them the why bother and the who cares all together and down by Water Street and over by Pearl or on along Wall and to Maiden Lane the only thing you'd hear was the swank-scum of money turning hands being thought about dwelt upon and piddled over like it was some great God's come-fest some orgy almighty : I was never understanding of that and hated it too while all those small local business people along the way there I never figured how they could stay in business but they did and then I realized it was uniform and garb and all these people had to look together look alike only for a means of keeping conflict at bay : wing-tip shoes those fancy black leathers the stuffy Savile Row shirt and collars more like Servile Row to me and along with fancy rich lunches and the endless patter of slovenly talk buttering up the guides and the leaders of all everyone seemed always on the make, digging for more for the problem with money is as much as you get it only breeds want for getting still more.