Zen and Parenting

Despite the title of this post, I don’t actually know much about Zen except that it has something to do with Buddhism, and I’m not going to go clicking my way over to Wikipedia to become a half-arsed expert on it because I’m a time-poor parent and can’t be buggered studying anything…

Oh stuff it then, here it is if you’re interested.

Anyway, the conversation below contains my definition of Zen. It occurred as I pulled out a steaming hot tray of Aldi nuggets for the boys:

Lewis: Daddy, what are those?

Reservoir Dad: They are nuggets.

Lewis: Why?

Reservoir Dad: … (the sound of one hand clapping) …

This is what kids can do. They can pull a question down from outer space and test your logical, methodical mind in such a way that it just shuts down. Bye-bye thoughts. I challenge anyone to answer that question. Here it is. Spend some time with it…


Nirvana is the answer. With my mind quiet and my being centered I ran outside to smell a flower.

And I mean to REALLY smell a flower, without social expectation, past experience or intellectual dogma to dilute it. I found the true form of the formless, the subtle dharma gate that does not rest on words or letters but is a special transmission outside of the scriptures. (Okay, I did read Wikipedia. The words above are Buddha’s, not mine. Truth is, the flower smelt just the same as they’ve always smelt – flowery. I’m not really into flowers though, so next time I reach such Nirvanic heights I might try something a little more central to my experience… smell a can of beer perhaps.)

Anyway, my advice for those who are searching for meaning, or enlightenment, or God is to give up the hours of daily meditation and have yourself some kids. They’ll ask you why, why, why over and over until the mind gives in and there is nothing left – No concern for yesterday. No worry for tomorrow. No sleep deprivation. No washing. No dirty house. No dinner time battles. No Geelong Cats injury list. And finally, no Reservoir Dad.

Bet the Dalai Lama has never experienced toddler-inspired Nirvana. Tom Cruise and his scientology crowd would have to “donate” 10 million dollars to even get close to it, and the Mormons… well let’s not discuss those crazy bastards.