I just bought Charlotte Joko Beck's new 3-CD set of Dharma talks, called Living Everyday Zen:

http://www.amazon.com/Living-Everyday-C ... 021&sr=1-5

I'm still on the first CD and already I'm getting a lot out of it. I was listening to it as I was driving to work this morning, and Joko offers an equation:

"Being zero = a life of freedom and compassion"

As she explains, zero equals "this very moment," stripped of any baggage or other stuff we may bring to it. Simply living "just this." She said that this is all Zen students really need to know, and I thought this was a nice way of expressing this. Then she said that if we truly lived this equation there would be no way to be unhappy. Okay, I thought, perhaps. But then she said something like since we don't live this equation, since we don’t truly live in this very moment, this is the very cause of every human ill and suffering. If we lived this very moment there would be no ills and suffering. I’m very skeptical of this. Her idea here leaves no room for, for example, child abuse, famine, various forms of oppression, etc.

Perhaps, I do not understand what she’s saying here, but I’d welcome your thoughts.

Also, this may warrant another thread, but Joko’s use of “compassion” in her equation, brought up another question for me. Zen teachers always use this word, but never really seem to define it. I know about the Bodhisattva model but this seems too esoteric to me to be of real use. What does it really mean to be compassionate? I know the Golden Rule and caring about others, and I also realize how VERY difficult it is to practice, but sometimes it seems we just give it lip service in Zen. Is being compassionate really just about living Joko’s equation? Any thoughts?