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Thursday, July 15, 2021

Lew Richmond article and some DC comments

 A Buddhist Approach to Disagreement - in the Good Men Project.

Excellent points by Lew Richmond emphasizing finding common ground, showing respect, and changing level. I'm going to try to apply this more.

It starts with a story about someone he calls Richard (clearly changed the name) rapping to Shunryu Suzuki about brown rice - and Suzuki's response.

I just was reading in a Suzuki lecture something that reinforces what Lew wrote about Suzuki's comment on food emphasizing the spiritual aspect. I can't find the excerpt right now because it's hard to search for. He said the word food about 350 times in the lectures we have in the database. What he said I'll summarize as what we eat is important but our attitude toward food and eating is more important than concerns about how healthy it is. He said the health aspect is important but that one's approach to food and eating is more important. He indicated we tended to have our priorities in reverse order. He really didn't like food fanaticism but he did like us eating brown rice because he agreed that it was nutritionally better. I'm sure he'd rather have eaten just white rice though. 

Lew's comments about brown rice are incidental to his wise points on disagreement but Suzuki was quite familiar with brown rice when he lived in Japan. There was the same sort of trip there that there is here. People into nutrition promoted it, some fanatically, especially during the war--including one of his closest friends, Kazo Kato. Kato turned Suzuki on to the book Food to Win the War With (don't have Japanese name right now) which promoted Brown Rice as the patriotic food to eat. 

A few time, Elin, my wife back then, and I would be with friends or happen on a place to stay or a restaurant that served brown rice exclusively. And it's not as simple as white and brown. All over Japan there are rice stores with hulling machines. I'd walk to one nearby us and tell the proprietor how much I wanted to buy and how many runs through the huller. It was just him, unhulled rice, and the huller. Ten runs was pure white rice. We'd get three runs through it usually. Bob Halpern turned me on to not getting it 100% brown. I miss that nanabuzuki - I must be saying this wrong cause I can't find it in Google translate.  People would come in and order different levels. Mainly pretty white I'm sure. I'll make a note to write some emails inquiring about this. 

Another thing. There's not much, but there is some brown rice served in Japanese temples. I've heard of it being used in the morning gruel at Eiheiji. There are always exceptions in Japan and eccentrics.