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Hi, Stuart!

I try to apply the Buddhist ways to my life.  My friends at college played a trick on me.  I missed a day of class, so my friends called me that night to inform me of the homework assignment our English teacher had given us.  We were supposed to write an essay on the history of chewing gum.

I spent the weekend researching the origins of chewing gum, and its significance in pop culture.  I write the essay, and turn in my written work on Monday, only to be met with a puzzled look on my teacher's face.

Turns out, there was no homework assignment! (laughs)  I had written the essay in vain.


(1.) Should I take the joke my friends played on me in good humor?  I don't think their intent was to be mean-spirited.  I think it was all in good fun.  I've just never had a trick pulled on me like this.  I'm not upset about it.  Should I be?  Was it wrong of my friends?

(2.) Even our teacher laughed and thought my classmates' practical joke was creative and original.  Do you think that was unfair of her to think so?


Thanks!
-Erica

Answer
Buddhism means waking up. In this very moment, clearly perceive the situation right in front of you, and respond to that situation with compassion. That means acting with the intention of helping all beings.

If you were upset, then you'd have to deal with your upset mind. But you say you're not upset, so no problem.

Is there a particular way that you can respond to this situation, that you feel would be of some benefit to others (e.g. to your friends, to your teacher, or to someone else)? If there's something helpful you can do re this situation, then do it. If not, let it go, and be ready for the next situation that appears, whatever it is.

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Stuart Resnick

Expertise

I'm a long-time practitioner in a Korean-style Zen school. I can answer questions regarding Zen, formal sitting meditation, self-inquiry, the practice of "koan" transmission, and offer the particular perspective of this school on the great life questions.

Experience

18 years of formal practice with the Kwan Um School of Zen, currently with the Empty Gate Zen Center of Berkeley, currently a "Senior Dharma Teacher" at this center, I give periodic talks and informally answer questions of students interested in Zen practice and teaching style

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