Friday, June 20, 2008

Cake Anyone?

A couple of weeks ago I was watching my granddaughter eat a piece of cake, so naturally I thought of Ajahn Brahm! What?? :-) Coincidentally the topic of cake and Ajahn Brahm has been popping up in a couple of places that I visit on the web as well. For anyone who hasn't heard one of his Dhamma talks on the different types of Buddhism, here is my favorite. In it he explains, as only he can, that the various schools, traditions and sects can be compared to different flavors of icing on the same cake. I first heard this talk a few years ago, and it quickly helped to ease those pesky questions about which was "right" or "better", and yes even, "which one is authentic?".

Back to my granddaughter for a moment. Here's the thing - she only wants the icing! So when I said I was watching her eat a piece of cake, that wasn't really accurate. She was actually eating icing that happened to be on a piece of cake. She's always only been interested in the icing. Serious sweet tooth that one! All the color and sprinkles and creamy sweetness! Mmmmm. It's all so very enticing, especially for a 9 year old. She asks for cake but never eats any of it. It's all about the icing! As far as she's concerned, cake is something that holds icing, nothing more. Plus, she's smart enough to know that if she asked for a bowl of icing and a spoon the answer would be no. Over the years she's missed out on some really good cake!

To wrap this up, my natural inclination when it comes to cake is yellow cake with a bit of chocolate butter cream icing. I'm also quite content with just the cake if there isn't any icing available. It's delicious just the way it is. If you'd ever like to offer me a taste of cake with a bit of your favorite icing that would be lovely. And you're always welcome to have a taste of mine.


Anonymous said...

Cake is one of lifes absolute treats. No matter how hard the day has been cake can put a smile on your face. Well it does mine anyway.

puthujjana said...

Mine too :-)

G said...

Eating cake with you sounds lovely, Kris. Maybe if I ever visit your neck of the woods I'll pop by for a bite & a chat - on Dharma, of course!

Thinking of talking of the Dharma, I read your post as having a double layer of icing, as it were. Yes, just as your granddaughter likes to eat the icing on a cake, so many people only really like the icing that makes up the outer appearance of the Dharma, getting caught up in the peculiarities of the various Buddhist sects. Surely, as your post hints, it's eating the actual cake beneath the icing that really counts, whether it be Theravadan icing, Zen icing, Pure Land icing, or whatever. That's what Ajahn Brahm meant, too, wasn't it?

Be well in the Dharma,
icing and all;

puthujjana said...

Hi G, You have a standing invitation anytime!
I guess you could say that cake, regardless of the icing, is still cake. Icing without cake is, well, candy.