virus: Coy and evasive

Richard Brodie (
Thu, 18 Feb 1999 00:49:45 -0800

David McF asked:

<<Interesting. I guess up until now I had expected a level 3 practitioner to adopt the worldview of his or her intended audience in order to better relate to them. Maybe you can help me understand how being coy and evasive is a good strategy for sending a message to a skeptical audience.>>

Remember the story of the University professor who, after 30 years of studying Zen writings but never entering the monastery, finally got an appointment with the Master. He was told that, following the elaborate tea ceremony, he would be permitted to ask the Master only one question.

Although the professor, being an esteemed man, has attended many tea ceremonies, the beauty and purposefulness of this particular one filled him with joy. At its conclusion, he bowed and humbly asked the Master his one question:

"Master, after so many years of studying Zen writings, I have concluded that
the essence of Zen teaching is the statement, "This mind is Buddha." Master, do you agree?

The Master cocked his head and considered the learned man's face. Finally, he said this:

"Professor! If I said yes, you would think you understand without
understanding. But if I said no, I would be denying something
that many know to be true."

Richard Brodie Author, "Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme" Free newsletter! Visit Meme Central at