the Wanderling

The Second Patriarch of Zen, Hui-k'o, who received the bowl and robe from the First Patriarch that signified the Transmission of the Lineage of the Dharma, after some forty years, passed them on to the Third Patriarch. He then went around everywhere drinking and carousing like a wildman and partaking in the offerings of the brothel districts. When people asked how he could do such a thing, being a Patriarch of Zen and all, he would respond with: "What business is it of yours?"
HUI-K'O: The Second Patriarch in the Chinese Lineage

So, is Zen Enlightenment possible for Paris Hilton --- or is it the barest of possibilites that a genuine Zen adept on one hand clapping and/or a Buddhist monk on the other, and Ms Hilton could ever find themselves meeting on common ground?

Some people say it doesn't matter much one way or the other, who cares about her anyway? Over and over it is repeated she is nothing more than a spoiled brat. Rwanda or not, the same crowd intimate her seeming lack of interest, inability, or desire to sink below the level of her so-called social standing to a more common plane of existence would inhibit or stop any serious attempt by her to gain insight along any spiritual path --- Zen, Buddhism, or otherwise. Those who say so tend to forget the all time champion of Awakening to the Absolute and Enlightenment, Shakyamuni Buddha, was born into a rich and wealthy royal family. The Buddha's father was a king and he himself was a prince. Yet still, even though it took years, he sought out and found Enlightenment.

Now, while it is true not everybody follows Ms Hilton's every move microscopically, her interest in Buddhism and things Zen have been reported quite readily in some areas, attested to by the recent photographs of her holding the best-selling quasi Zen Buddhist text The Power of Now, as well as several books by Deepak Chopra and being seen with Buddhism for Dummies, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Meditation. In-depth or shallow interest on her part for things spiritual one way or the other and, even though she and I, for example, may share a quick reciprocal access to each others pages through her private Friends listing and my MySpace account, it is questionable at best that she will, as would be most beneficial for her in the long run, avail herself exploring or incorporating into her lifestyle much of what she has been studying recently or the various offerings as presented in Awakening 101.

As stated in the opening quote above, Hui-k'o was the Second Patriarch in the Ch'an lineage --- the seal of approval having been bestowed upon him by Bodhidharma himself --- so, if it would be OK with Hui-k'o and Paris, then why not Paris and any other Zen adept? Right or wrong, merit is not a criteria for Enlightenment. One's intent is much closer.

When it comes to matters such as Zen or Enlightenment, typically Paris would not find herself placed very high up on the spectrum of things. However, considering what has been attributed to Hui-k'o, above, it sounds as though such an event could easily have transpired between himself and someone such as Paris and her minions; AND Hui-k'o was not just some bottom of the line Zen looser either. More than likely the areas Hui-k'o went around "drinking and carousing like a wildman and partaking in the offerings of the brothel districts" were 6th century AD Chinese precursors to the much later 19th century Follies Bergere and Pigalle satrapies wherein luminaries such as Toulouse Lautrec and others were habitual patrons --- all-in-all, nightlife and party environs not too different, albeit not nearly so creative for it's denizens, than what Ms Hilton, Britney Spears and her Britney Spears-like cohorts most likely find themselves.

In the Friends catagory of her private MySpace website, socialite, heiress, and consumate party goer Paris Hilton lists over 59,000 friends. In her more-or-less public MySpace site she has over 155,000 listed. In real life, both are truly sizable numbers for almost anybody. I have never done a search among the 59,000-plus side, but, unless she or one of her handlers delete me for some reason, somewhere amongst that number is me.

On MY MySpace website, which is dedicated primarily towards Zen and Enlightenment, and with considerably less than 59,000 friends listed, Ms Hilton shows up quite readily in the Friends catagory --- there because of what some preceive as her growing interest in things spiritual.

Of those 200,000-plus claiming to be a friend it is not known how many if any, have an interest in Zen or Buddhism --- or if, because their interest in Ms Hilton as a friend, and knowing of her growing need and disposition toward things spiritual, have themselves developed an interest.

For the most part, however, people with even a little working knowledge of what Buddhism is, know, at least on a general level, that the Buddha, as part of his teaching method, presented his deeply held spiritual and philosophical concepts to those so interested through the use of comparisons, allegories, similes, and metaphors. The following is presented in the same comparison, allegory, simile, and metaphor fashion for the same reasons. To wit, the following extract about a man strung out on years of drug abuse and how he turned his life around as found in a footnote to Doing Hard Time In A Zen Monastery:

"Years later I was waiting between trains at the major railroad terminal in Los Angeles, California called Union Station. Directly across the street from the terminal is a small Mexican-themed tourist area called Olvera Street. Walking over from Union Station, just on the left as you enter the street, is a small open-air stand that sells the best tacquitos in the world --- at least for me they always have been. My stepmother used to take me there when I was just kid, and being at the train station with some time to spare I could not resist going over and indulging myself.

"The man behind the counter handed me my tacquitos almost as soon as I placed my order and I sat down on a little wall close by to eat them. Within a micro-second of even taking my first bite a hulking homeless-looking man in ragged clothes and reeking with the sour smell of a unhygienically clean body stepped up basically out of nowhere and said that he knew me.

"Without the remotest chance to reply he rattled off some story of where we first met, a story that only someone who DID meet me under the circumstances he described could have possibly known. Seems when I was in the military I had the opportunity to interact with a couple of Asian warlords, both of whom the man was familar with. I bought him a double order of tacquitos and an iced tea, then, carefully positioning myself upwind from him, I sat down and we began to talk.

"He told me while other low-ranking members in the military contingent I was with were off trading cheap handmirrors and pocket combs for favors with the local tribeswomen I had gone off on my own volition like some Peace Corps volunteer rather than a heavily armed GI, to lend a hand in repairing and building an irrigation ditch and fresh water conduit that supplied drinking water to one of the villages. An advisor to the warlord, a Shaman, informed the general of my actions and the general invited me join him for dinner. Knowing only high-status people were included in such get togethers I asked the now apparently homeless man, who must have participated in the dinner, how it was he found himself in his current situation. Rolling up his sleeve he graphically showed me the scarred up chicken tracks all across the upper inside of his forearm. He told me it started with opium, then heroin. He said he had ended up with the section of the team I was with in Chaing Mai but got separated in the den after being abducted by the warlord's men. He never knew what happened to me specifically, but figured that a similar fate had befallen me. From there, for him, it was nothing much more than a downhill sprial. Now, until recently, given the chance, he injected and used just about anything. He had lived on the streets for years, eating scraps, begging food, stealing to support his habit. Then sometime back his longtime close female companion OD in a cement hole along the L.A. River. He carried her lifeless body for miles crunched up in a shopping cart to a church of her demonination and left her in front of the main doors on the stairsteps. Before he had barely even crossed the street someone had taken her shoes and jacket. That day he quit shooting up cold turkey. For weeks he had been trying to get his life back together without any luck. Then he saw me.

"We talked for a long while. Then needing to catch a train I had to go. Before we parted I called a person I knew who attended a local Zen center on a regular basis and he promised he would come by for him. I also wrote down several URLs to my websites. I told him as soon as possible go to the library and look up the websites and follow some of the suggestions as they might help. I handed him the slip of paper along with a few bucks for himself and some for the Zen center, then, taking him at his word, darted across the street at the last minute to catch my train.

"Two years passed. Then out of the blue I received an email from him. In it he told me at first he had not done so well. He didn't feel comfortable at the library or the Zen center. Then one day he was walking along outside a Starbucks and saw a woman working on her laptop computer. He asked if she could look up some URLs for him, and unbelievably, she did. He said he tried to read them, but, as nice as the woman was, he couldn't really absorb anything considering the circumstances. She said she could print them out for him that night and bring them by the next day at a certain time and give them to him. The next day he came by, but no woman. He hung around hoping she would show up, but nothing. After awhile the Starbucks manager came out and thinking he was going to be chased off he started to leave. The manager asked if he was waiting for a woman to give him some paperwork. When he nodded yes the manager handed him a large manilla envelope. Inside were all the URLs on the list printed out. He never saw the woman again, but he read the papers over and over. He cleaned up his act, started doing study-practice first at the Zen center, then on his own, all along following what he could in the paperwork as extracted from the URLs I gave him.

"He tried to get a job with a local school district as an instructional assistant working with individuals with severe disabilities, but because of his rather sketchy background, they wouldn't hire him. An instructional assistant who just happened to drop by the the school district office to sign some papers recognized him from the Zen center. He told him a nearby group home that served adults with disabilities had been looking for a person to work there. He went by the group home and they hired him on the spot. He had been there ever since. He also wrote he felt he was very close to a spiritual breakthrough. Although I haven't seen or heard from him personally for quite sometime it has been brought to my attention through intermediaries that while attending sessions at an affiliate center of the man I sent him to, and of which the man was associated with --- a center high in the mountains above Los Angeles --- the onetime homeless smell-like-a-garbage-truck man attained a state of immortality. If it happened I don't know. However, I like to think that it did." (see)

Now, although Paris Hilton may not have personally ever seen a garbage truck in her life, let alone know that the sour smell of a unhygienically clean body smells like one, it still doesn't take away from the fact that given the right effort, she, like the female Zen adept Chiyono, or anybody else for that matter, such as the man described above, could become fully realized IF her mind was ripe, thus allowing the bottom of the pail to break through. What is important is to have set into motion the correct set of principles in the past, so the fruit from those endeavors would be impacting one's present. To have that present be a positive experience, the following, given to me by my Mentor when I first started study-practice, but originally extracted from the Sutras, should be considered:

1.) From the first generate only thoughts with the right escort.

2.) Support right thoughts already risen.

3.) From where thoughts arise, generate no thoughts that carry negative escort.

4.) Dispell any negative thoughts already risen. (source)

There is an old saying found in classical Zen and Buddhist literature that goes: We are the results of what we were; we will be the results of what we are. If the above four endeavors are coupled with an escort of the right intent the outcome WILL be favorable. A Pali text called The Anguttara says it best:

"It cannot come to pass that the fruit of a deed well-done by the body, speech, and thought should have for a result that which is unpleasant, hateful or distasteful. But that it should be otherwise is quite possible." (source)

It is the first light that illuminates the room initially. Ms Hilton, by talking and thinking about things in the right frame of reference has at least struck the first match. If it goes out before she places that initial flame into a situation that will allow it to continue to glow is in her hands. Remember, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always gotten.


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NOTE: It should be brought to the attention of those who may be interested that photographs depicting Paris Hilton accompanied by a person who appears to be a Shaman or Buddhist monk, that the Shaman or Buddhist monk so shown is NOT, repeat, not the Wanderling. The man in the photos, published recently in a variety of media and shown below, is Maxie Santillan, a very fine character actor who has appeared in a number of TV programs and movies, including the Pirates of the Caribbean. To reach Maxie please click the graphic. Tell him the Wanderling sent you.


Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.