Zen, Taoism, & Dudeism Walk Into A Bar

It’s easy to be an asshole and let our minds wander. It’s easy to cling to shit and want things to be a certain way. Those three paths all involve throwing a wrench in that so that we can be free by letting the world be free.

By Lee Glazier

Uh, what? Oh, why are we drawn to -isms?

In a way, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, and Dudeism vouch for an -ismless life—without even agnosticism covering up our birthday suits. -Isms limit the mind, man, and they get stuck on shit. Once we pick up an -ism, we sometimes feel duty-bound to it, ya know?

-Isms are comforting, that’s why we dig ’em. Once we’ve got an -ism, we’ve got closure, and closure feels good. Instead of looking for closure, Zen, Taoism and Dudeism riff with no-closure. Everything is open, Dudes. A period is a question mark without a lightning flash (I’m not making this up, that’s how question marks were originally described in the 700’s).

That flash of light illuminates everything, Dudes. When the mind is set on wondering instead of wandering, all the BS—just like shadows—disappears, and what’s left is the real.

Instead of an -ism, those three, uh, mind schools, oh, schools of thought, give us three pointers to live by:

1) Don’t be an asshole

2) Focus on what you’re doing

3) Let everything be

And Zen ups the ante by throwing the Bodhisattva Vows in there, but Dudeism and Taoism don’t focus on those as much.

Really, if we can do those three things, then that’s it, Dudes. That’s abiding, that’s awakening, that’s living the Tao. It seems simple, ya know, but it’s tough as fuck. It’s easy to be an asshole and let our minds wander. It’s easy to cling to shit and want things to be a certain way. Those three paths all involve throwing a wrench in that so that we can be free by letting the world be free.

It starts on the meta level. If we can’t let things be, we let that not letting things be be.

It’s like, if we can’t accept something, we can still accept that we can’t accept it. That’s where most of the practice happens, man. After that, it’s smooth sailing. Because as humans, we’re a bunch weirdos. We don’t just think, ya know, we think about our thoughts, we have feelings about our feelings and wants about our wants.

Once we’ve got all that cleaned up, letting everything else be is a snap. When we meditate, we’re focusing on something like our posture, and then letting everything be as it is. If I get pissed off at myself for doing it wrong, I let that be too. If I start to trip out and have a mindgasm, then I can let that be. I just sit, focus on sitting, and then slowly melt into the flow of… whatever.

“What about all the problems in the world, Dude? We can’t fix them if we just let everything be.”

That’s a good point, that’s a good point. But there’s always a problem for every solution, Dudes. Life’s a no-win situation. That’s why we abide. If we could win at life, there would be no reason to abide or meditate. It’s because we can’t win that we’ve got these tools that help us stop playing the game.


“Dude” Lee Glazier is a Dudeist Priest, Zen adherent and Taoist enthusiast from Golden, Colorado. He likes reading, writing, hiking, taking baths, listening to classic rock, drinking White Russians, smoking, and having the occasional acid flashback. The only thing he truly believes is that everyone needs to slow down, mellow out, and unwad their underpants. He feels that that would solve all the world’s problems in a heartbeat. “Do you have the patience to let the mud settle and the water clear?” 


Photo: Esty

Editor: Dana Gornall


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