November 23, 2012

The Zen Master Goes Black Friday Shopping

Elizabeth Bastos

When the Zen master Black Friday shops, it is not hard to understand! When breathing, breathe! When Black Friday shopping, shop!

When finding "jingle socks" and "scarves for her," and "hostess gifts under $25," just find them. Go to aisles 7 and 14 and 15 and find them!

Do not rush, but neither shall you go slow like the snail climbing Mt. Fuji, and miss out on the Crock Pot Spectacular. 

Here is a koan: Customer Service, how does one translate this? Mu, in Japanese. Wu, in Chinese. Or, in English, nothingness

Have a goal and simultaneously have no goal regarding the sutra, The Overpriced Holiday Toy List: You Should Have Bought The Toys Way Back in October When They Were Available.

Mindfully, is how to approach the sale rack of neckties.

Like a river that stays within its banks, this is our way, joriki, the power of concentration on free wrapping and free shipping. 

How the swans land on the lake is how you want to land in the checkout line that snakes around the building and out onto the street. 

Chop wood and carry water is our practice, but it also doesn't hurt to carry cash.


Elizabeth Bastos is a stay-at-home mother of two in the Baltimore suburbs. Her work has appeared at The Smithsonian, McSweeney's, The New Yorker's Page-Turner Blog, and she is a contributor at Book Riot. She went to Smith for English and Marine Biology so she knows a thing or two about spinelessness and buoyancy. Her personal blog is Goody Bastos.

More from the author: Chopping Onions | Walking Meditation or 'How to Get the Shpilkes Out' | Swamp Marigold | Taking The Dog For A Walk


Image: Caro Scuro/Flickr

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Hey's picture

What a dissapointing article. Please peddle the consumerism and classism elsewhere.

jesse.bercowetz's picture

People are boycotting Black Friday in solidarity with wal- mart shoppers and ferguson protesters. This article really pisses me off !

stuff's picture

The holidays are such a rich time to practice with desire. Of course I think a Zen Master might be more likely to practice Buy Nothing Friday, but merely because Buddhists have a penchant for nothingness.

Dominic Gomez's picture

Shop wood, carry water, chop till you drop. Repeat.

celticpassage's picture

That's funny.
Kinda undermines the spiritual consumerism interview about Buddhism's ability to shape the world.