s I’ve mentioned, I’ve written erotica in the past. Even got paid for it.
But that isn’t what this piece is about.
One of my other interests in Zen meditation. We’ve joined a small group that meets in a bookstore Sunday night. It’s a very small and tight group and the master is very knowledgeable. Whether it’s making a difference, I cannot say.
After the temple formalities are done, we go through two chants. To my surprise, the master mentioned that we had a word change. The original chant read as follows:
Far apart from every perverted view one dwells in Nirvana.
And that’s fine. But it turns out it was of concern to some people. Now, I’m not claiming ‘woke’ here (because ‘woke’ is really a limp codeword phrase by bigots and thugs to get around social considerations). But someone didn’t like it, so now the chant reads…
Far apart from every deluded view one dwells in Nirvana.
This is a shame, really, this dismissing of a word. It’s as if language is a toolbox and you’ve just tossed out one of your screwdrivers. The world “perverted” is perfectly acceptable (and useful). It describes a corruption of something, an alteration of a thing or concept to make it into something more base, perhaps even evil.
For example, let’s say you play park-bench chess with someone. Chess is a game of strategy, a celebration of the long-view. But let’s say your opponent attempts to bet on the outcome. Or brags loudly about his wins. Or attempts to distract you with talk or noise or loudly eating potato chips. Or by simply and obviously cheating.
What word best describes what is happening to this noble game? It is – of course – a perversion of the contest. It ruins it. Belittles it. And so that word still has a place and a meaning that cuts to the chase.
In my writings and conversations, I will still use the word – it is just part of the wondrous English language. Others can choose not to. Their loss.
In my view, rejecting words from use for such petty considerations is nothing short of the perversion of language.