It’s Good to be Mediocre

From Peanuts LLC

Master Jingzong; English translation by Foying, edited by Jingxing

I’ve grown fond of the Chinese character Ping (平). To describe someone as Ping Yong (平庸) (mediocre) is rather unflattering, isn’t it? Not necessarily so. To be mediocre is fine: just ordinary and moderate. Being mediocre means of only average quality, but aren’t we all like that? Consider the grass. It is most commonplace; it neither towers above us like the trees, nor delights us with colors and fragrance like the flowers, but it is bursting with life nonetheless.

Indeed, most of us are mediocre. As members of this “mediocre club,” we should feel content. Even sages who have great accomplishments, noble morals and outstanding literary contributions have their mediocre sides – and they would neither deny nor resent them.

It is impossible for those who do not accept their own mediocrity to become universally accepted. The Buddhas permeate all worlds; they never abandon any mediocre being while accepting their own mediocrity. Actually, Buddha-nature, Amitabha-recitation and achieving enlightenment are eminently pedestrian. But we label them as remarkable because we are unwilling to accept ordinariness. Thus, we drift further and further from the Buddhas.

The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas issue from “thusness” (That is the way things are). There is nothing extraordinary about them; they are all mediocre. In Chinese, Ping (平) refers to a state of equality in which there is no superior or inferior, and Yong (庸) means taking the middle way – a state of cleaving to the average with neither excess nor deficiency – which is just right.

Certainly, we are all ordinary and undistinguished persons. However, once such a nobody starts to recite Amitabha Buddha’s name, her mediocrity will never be the same; it will be transformed from an ordinary person’s mediocrity to a Buddha’s.

But if we deny our own mediocrity and search for esoteric or magnificent realms at the start of our spiritual journey, we will have no link with the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

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