The Fragrant Emperor

"The Fragrant Emperor", number 127 of 200 from Robert Aitken's book Miniatures of a Zen Master.

Be decent. This is a reoccurring theme, both in this book and in life. We can not be reminded too much to "be decent".

This "be decent" is something that would be helpful in our current political and economic situation. I see so much indecency on the news, particularly around health care reform. I recently heard the argument that the divide in health care reform debate was one between those that valued personal freedom more and those that valued societal cohesion more. What makes this debate particular to Americans is that those who value personal freedom over all else have been a disruptive element of American society since its inception.

I'm encouraged by a recently Op-Ed piece on The Health Care Blog titled "Health in all policies" by physicians Susan Blumenthal, M.D. and Denis Cortese, M.D. In it they frame the conversation so as to shift things away from a conversation about 'disease and death care' and move towards a focus on health. Living healthy and encouraging healthy behaviors is the way out of the mess we are in.

"... medical care alone does not determine our health status. Decades of scientific research shows that our health habits – the choices we make regarding tobacco, alcohol, food and exercise – and the communities we call home – with their transportation systems, workplaces, schools and environments – all impact our health. That's why health promotion and disease prevention must be cornerstones of health reform. A broad range of policy changes, such as regulating tobacco products, nutrition policy changes including implementing healthier school lunch programs, encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption, labeling food content in supermarkets and restaurants, funding bicycle paths and pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, expanding parkland development and improving air and water quality – when taken together – can dramatically improve the health of Americans."

I think the doctors tread too lightly on the troubles with our food supply. There is a correlation between the health of our farms and the health of our people. Commodity subsidies, price controls along with the corporatization of the farm has degraded the health of our food supply. Problems in our food supply and the problems of our health are intimately related.

"You can only know you know after you've been it. And in order to be it, you've got to give up knowing you know. It's a fantastic paradox." Baba Ram Dass

Any error or confusion created by my commentary on
Miniatures of a Zen Master
is solely a reflection of my own delusion and ignorance.
Any merit generated by this activity is solely the result of
Aitken Roshi's clear teaching and is dedicated to
all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas throughout space and time.