What is Zen Anyway?

ZenifyLots of people commented on my previous post that Ryushin Sensei was asked to leave Zen Mountain Monastery not because everyone at ZMM is a prude but because his conduct violated the monastic code. I wasn’t trying to address that aspect in my previous piece, but rather the way in which people uninvolved in ZMM’s business seemed to be taking the news.

But with that as a lunching point, I thought I’d try and explain what I think Zen is.

To me, Zen is a communal practice of individual deep inquiry.

Throughout history there have been people who were concerned about the deeper meaning of existence. There are many ways to try to figure that stuff out. Some study science, some study psychology, some study by writing books or poems, or by playing music or sports, and so forth.

Among those seekers, there is a certain class of people who try to understand the human condition by sitting very quietly and simply observing themselves in action. The Buddha was one of these.

The Buddha had his great revelation after he split from the group of five fellow meditators he’d been wandering with. After his great awakening he decided to try to tell those guys about it and maybe teach them how he’d come to the understanding he’d discovered. Those five guys became the world’s first Buddhists.

Everything that has come along since then in the realm of what we now call “Buddhism” is based on that series of events. We need to always remember how it began.

Although you can, and I think ought to, do zazen alone, that larger thing we call Zen Buddhism is a communal practice. It’s not something you do by yourself. And yet we have no doctrines and no belief system.

That’s kind of weird. Every church I ever visited was all about doctrines and beliefs. As far as I’m aware most Hindu temples, mosques and synagogues are too. In fact there are a number of forms of Buddhism where they are very concerned that all members share a common set of beliefs and can recite the basic doctrines of their form of Buddhism on cue.

But my teachers never made any effort to get me to memorize doctrines or creeds or to make me believe what they believed. Noticing this has led me to form a different sort of vision of what we’re doing when we participate in this practice.

When we come together to sit on our cushions and stare at the walls, we don’t look to anyone else to frame our experience for us. We don’t, for example, do guided meditation sessions in which a leader tells us what to focus on or how to breathe. We are left to discover for ourselves whatever it is we might discover.

It’s just as if we’ve climbed up to the top of a mountain or entered a deep cave to get away from all distractions and focus on ourselves. But – very significantly – we are not on the top of a mountain or deep in a cave, and we are not alone. Instead, we’re in a temple, a rented yoga studio, a house, or wherever we’ve found to gather. And we are with a group of others who are similarly interested in this kind of deep inquiry into what it means to be human.

We don’t try to impose what we find on each other. Even the person who leads the group does not try to impose what she or he has discovered on anyone else there. We regard every person’s unique experience of themselves to be fully and equally valid.

However, in order to establish a space that is somewhat like what one would find if one were to climb to the top of a mountain or enter a deep solitary cave by oneself, we have to set up some rules about how to conduct ourselves within the space we have chosen to do this.

Very basically, we have to be quiet and respectful so that everyone involved can get on with the business of studying themselves.

That, to me, is the ultimate objective of any Zen space – to provide as adequate a place as possible for people to sit quietly together and look deeply into themselves. The people who come to such spaces come because they want two basic things. They want to search within themselves and they want to do this with others, not alone.

Unlike any other religion I know of, the rules in Zen are strictly about how to conduct ourselves in the spaces in which we gather together to work on ourselves.

To take what seems to be a favorite example, let’s look at the Buddhist ideas about homosexuality. For many religions, homosexuality is forbidden as a sin. For Buddhists, homosexuality is only addressed in terms of how homosexual activities can be disruptive in shared spaces where people come to study themselves.

There are no rules saying that you can’t have gay sex. There are only rules saying that you can’t have gay sex while undergoing meditation training in a communal setting and only because that activity makes all kinds of weird noises and potentially sets up uncomfortable social interactions. Furthermore, it’s not just homosexual sex that’s disallowed in these settings; all types of sex are similarly against the rules. But once you leave that setting you can do whatever you like.

Every other rule that we establish in our communal spaces of individual deep inquiry is established for the very same reason; to make sure everyone involved can focus on what we’ve all come together to focus on.

An interesting thing happens when we do this together. Without ever getting indoctrinated into a common set of beliefs, we find that we start to align with each other, like magnetized pieces of metal. You begin to discover that all human beings are very, very similar. You discover that your most fondly held belief systems are actually entirely superficial, no matter how deep they appear to be. You discover that what is truly important is shared with everyone and everything you encounter.

Practicing Zen simply means to come together in this spirit and learn how best to allow each other the proper space to find it for ourselves. We have rules and codes of conduct, but only in order to allow the space for this individual inquiry and never to try to impose a belief system or way of life upon anyone else.

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Every Monday at 8pm I lead zazen at Silverlake Yoga Studio 2 located at 2810 Glendale Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90039. All are welcome!

Every Saturday at 9:30 am I lead zazen at the Veteran’s Memorial Complex located at 4117 Overland Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230. All are welcome!

Plenty more info is available on the Dogen Sangha Los Angeles website, dsla.info

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I really need your kind donations in order to keep doing this blog. Every little bit helps. Thank you!

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325 Responses

Page 2 of 2
  1. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 3, 2015 at 10:35 am |

    Yer still chewin the mind taffy bud.

  2. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 3, 2015 at 11:28 am |

    Ain’t taffy. Its a delicious rice cake painted in a painting of rice paper. Here, have a piece

    http://www.mro.org/mr/archive/22-1/articles/paintedcakes.html

    1. Shodo
      Shodo February 3, 2015 at 2:01 pm |

      Ooooooh nice talk/encounter… 🙂

  3. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 3, 2015 at 5:35 pm |

    “The joy was surprisingly physical. Made me wonder about what I had read of further joys and raptures, ecstacies and nameless refinements of pleasure when the clinging to the coarser forms of pleasure and ignorance are let go of.”

    Thas’ intrestin’.

    I still think Woodward’s translation is better, “ease” in place of joy. It also jives with Gautama’s characterization of the first jhana as characterized by the cessation of dis-ease.

    Interesting too, the transition from the first jhana to the second, wherein thought applied and sustained is left off, and unhappiness ceases. Unhappiness presumably a thing of the mind and mental state. What I came to in writing “Letting Go of Action: the Practice of Zazen” (shameless plug) was that the transition has to do with coming to one’s senses, and this would be the coming to one’s senses that occurs out of necessity in the movement of breath. Cannot actually be made to happen, anymore than one can cause a feeling for activity in the resile of fascia and ligaments to arrive through the exercise of will– but without the rhythm of stretch and resile the cessation of dis-ease does not take place.

    So what’s numb mother to do! How about this, some thoughts that recently flew away to Kansas (with their little dog?):

    “Seems to me like once I accept that kinesthesia/proprioception is consciousness of place and motion generated by muscles and ligaments, then I must accept that there is consciousness generated by senses apart from consciousness generated by the mind, and that openness to consciousness as it takes place is Dogen’s “nonthinking”.

    With rapture, you enter a state between “the states of waking and sleep” (as Nisargadatta characterized them), and the experience of action out of consciousness as it takes place replaces the action of volition.”

    1. Fred
      Fred February 3, 2015 at 5:49 pm |

      The action is the universe being conscious and shining its light through the veil of maya

    2. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 3, 2015 at 8:26 pm |

      Have you read anything about the neurologist CS Sherrington, Mark? He believed that “the motor act is the cradle of the mind”. Which seems to chime with what you’re saying.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Scott_Sherrington

  4. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm |

    Of course, if I get that hypnic jerk thing going, ‘s hard to stay between waking and sleep- uh, where was I…

  5. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 3, 2015 at 10:55 pm |

    Yes, aware of Sherrington, from wikipedia proprioception, thanks Shinchan.

    ‘Just make the transmission continue without a break from source to source, and then you will be a joyously alive person on the road of eternal life.

    The ancestral teacher said: “Mind turns following the myriad objects. If you can really reach the hidden depths of this turning and recognize true nature going along with the flow, then there is no joy and no sorrow.”‘

    (“Zen Letters”, trans. by Cleary and Cleary, pg 92, ©1994 by J. C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)

    Nice one, eh?

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 4, 2015 at 9:33 am |

      … and while I’m name-dropping, Chodo Cross’s take on the relation of developmental reflexes to zazen posture is also interesting

      http://www.zen-occidental.net/enseignements/cross4.html

      (I guess you’re au fait with all of this already, Mark F – I’m just merrily weaving the internet together for the sake of any lurkers who might take interest in the physiological side of zazen)

  6. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 3, 2015 at 11:02 pm |

    How place acts in zazen:

    ” …if the little fingers leave the abdomen, awareness of the forward and backward motion wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can restore the little fingers to the abdomen. Similarly, …if the elbows lose their angle from the body, awareness of the side-to-side motion wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can restore the angle. Likewise, …if the shoulders lose their roundedness, awareness of (the rotation) left and right wherever consciousness takes place and relaxation of the activity of the body in awareness can help restore the round to the shoulders.”

    Want to see place act?- want to see it again?

    And as I wrote to a friend in connection with the practice above: “keeping on that knife edge of necessity in the movement of breath might be the real practice, yet I appear to be developmentally challenged with respect to some aspects of sense perception.’

  7. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid February 4, 2015 at 10:32 am |

    Shinchan Ohara, I think the emptiness of the 5 skandhas leads to One Mind, or the primordial awareness without subject/object division.

    Read this Dharma Battle when you have time:
    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/290-philosophy-and-ethics/71152079

    I extensively quoted Dharmic literature and also added a couplet of my own poetry.

    I also brought up the Neuroscientific theory of consciousness being attention to memory based off how it relates to the 5 Skandhas. Check out fully, and I want to hear your response to it here.

    I ultimately conclude the same thing Adi Shankara does, but I argue it is best for the non-dual tacit apprehension to manifest in action or so. Read the whole thing and tell me your thoughts.

    1. Fred
      Fred February 4, 2015 at 10:45 am |

      “I wind up at a station where I have never been before…The view includes the dingy interior of the station, some grimy buildings, a bit of open sky above and beyond. Instantly the entire view acquires three qualities: Absolute Reality, Intrinsic Rightness, Ultimate Perfection.”

      ” With no transition, it is all complete….Yes, there is the paradox of this extraordinary viewing. But there is no viewer. The scene is utterly empty, stripped of every last extension of an I-Me-Mine [his name for ego-self]. Vanished in one split second is the familiar sensation that this person is viewing an ordinary city scene. The new viewing proceeds impersonally, not pausing to register the paradox that there is no human subject “doing” it. Three insights penetrate the experiant, each conveying Total Understanding at depths far beyond simple knowledge: This is the eternal state of affairs. There is nothing more to do. There is nothing whatsoever to fear.
      “””

      A viewer without a viewer. This contradiction would be considered intolerable in classical forms of logic, but accepting paraconsistent logic makes it a possibility. This is possible if codependent origination is accepted.”

      This is possible because it happens/has happened, not because of logic, paraconsistent logic, any type of thought or whether a viewpoint caught in time accepts codependent origination.

      It happens/has happened and analyzing it is irrelevant.

      1. Fred
        Fred February 4, 2015 at 10:51 am |

        Facing the wall it happens/has happened/will happen.

        1. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid February 4, 2015 at 12:44 pm |

          You’re correct and wrong at the same time…

          It can be good to defend paraconsistent logic in order to get more people interested in doing Zazen and exploring Zen ritual and practice. Basically, it will make more people interested in getting involved in the Zen scene which is good.

          Most of the Dharma, whether Advaita or the majority of schools in Mahayana, rely on a form of paraconsistent logic to argue for the validity of such mystical insights that involve extraordinary viewing without a viewer. Paraconsistent arguments (e.g., the Tetralemma which is paraconsistent) of emptiness show how such experience indicate the lack of division between subject and object, doer and doing, and etc.

          1. Fred
            Fred February 4, 2015 at 4:44 pm |

            No special logic is necessary; just drop the self. Chop,chop

    2. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 4, 2015 at 3:58 pm |

      Will do

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara February 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm |

        Not today, but I may get a chance tomorrow

  8. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 4, 2015 at 8:10 pm |

    Shinchan, thanks for the Cross word puzzle. The Moro response, I hadn’t heard of; you can see by my practice for the vestibularly challenged above, that it was the hands, the elbows, and the shoulders whose action/placement I chose to relate, but I could have done the feet, knees, and hips, or the molars, incisors, and eye teeth, I suppose.

    “a human being’s consummation of the longing to belong”- I like that.

    “In sitting-Zen the Universe is realized, and if you grasp this meaning, whatever your peculiarities as an individual, you belong.” I would say you belong when your actions belong, which makes it sound like there’s somebody acting, but as I tried to demonstrate with my quick draw above- t’aint necessarily so. The place acts, if the place is inclusive and free to shift. There’s no satisfaction in truly belonging. There is no joy and no sorrow.

    There is no crying in baseball.

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 4, 2015 at 8:29 pm |

    So I wrote to Mike, and said:

    “…it’s great to read that one of Gudo Nishijima’s spiritual heirs is very much concerned with the roles of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and the possible relationships between things physical and the mysteries of belonging.”

    Thanks again for that, Shinchan.

    Many late walks back from here, starting in the year after this was filmed:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue3nGNjt38E

    1. Fred
      Fred February 5, 2015 at 6:59 am |

      Mike Cross :

      “Finding the far shore in today’s verse is a metaphor for what in Nāgārjuna’s words is the destruction or cessation of ignorance, and this destruction is accomplished not by an act of doing, but by an act of knowing.”

      Mark Foote’s post:

      ““In sitting-Zen the Universe is realized, and if you grasp this meaning, whatever your peculiarities as an individual, you belong.” I would say you belong when your actions belong, which makes it sound like there’s somebody acting, but as I tried to demonstrate with my quick draw above- t’aint necessarily so. The place acts, if the place is inclusive and free to shift.”

      Yes, the place acts in terms of Gudo’s Action, when not clinging to ignorance there is No Where, as in Kobun’s no-self upon the Absolute.

      An act of Knowing without a Knower.

      However, the place that acts is not a hand inching towards a vagina.

  10. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 3:28 am |
    1. Fred
      Fred February 5, 2015 at 7:18 am |

      Mike Cross:

      “So one reading of jñāna-pradÄ«paḥ is as “the lantern which is knowing itself” and another reading is as “the lantern which will illuminate knowing.”

      Either way, the great darkness is ignorance, and what opposes this ignorance, as in Nāgārjuna’s most excellent elucidation, is jñāna, the act of knowing…

      The doings which are the root of saṁsāra thus does the ignorant one do. / The ignorant one therefore is the doer; the wise one is not, because of reality making itself known. //MMK26.10// In the destruction of ignorance, there is the non-coming-into-being of doings./ The destruction of ignorance, however, is because of the allowing-into-being of just this act of knowing.//MMK26.11//

      In today’s verse, then, I submit, as in MMK, jñāna does not mean intellectual knowledge. It means knowing as an act. It means knowing as an act of knowing, as opposed to an act of doing. It might describe as “an act of knowing,” the one great lantern which is buddha sitting.”

      “The lantern which is knowing itself” is shining through the egoic constriction and upon the egoic constriction.

      Too bad Ryushin Sensei’s flock were focused on the darkness.

      1. The Idiot
        The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 8:36 am |

        Did you knowingly just write that?

        1. The Idiot
          The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 8:48 am |

          (I didn’t)

        2. Fred
          Fred February 5, 2015 at 3:32 pm |

          Yes

          1. The Idiot
            The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 9:42 pm |

            Really enjoy your posts Fred :0)

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 5, 2015 at 9:08 am |

    ‘It means knowing as an act of knowing, as opposed to an act of doing. It might describe as “an act of knowing,” the one great lantern which is buddha sitting.”’

    Good luck bringing the triple gate out of the buddha hall on that lantern.

  12. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon February 5, 2015 at 11:01 am |

    I have to find a new cyber-sangha, because YOU people are fucking retarded. You make 4chan look like the Algonquin Round Table. Go sit with THAT.

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 5, 2015 at 11:27 am |

      🙂 No. Stay. Please please please please please please stay. You’re our last frickin hope.

    2. Harlan
      Harlan February 5, 2015 at 11:37 am |
    3. justlui
      justlui February 5, 2015 at 3:45 pm |
    4. Fred
      Fred February 5, 2015 at 3:55 pm |

      This is a cyber-sangha? I thought it was just a bunch of random people talking about nothing(ness).

  13. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 5, 2015 at 11:24 am |

    [Responding to SamsaricHelicoid’s request for comment above]

    I read the Graham Priest/Jay Garfield essay referred to in the page you linked. I can’t find fault with it: their argument seems internally consistent on first reading; and nothing they say is in conflict with what I’ve come to think Nagarjuna is expressing in MMK (from looking at various translations and commentaries of MMK, and trying to make them fit with the words of his dharma descendents).

    I’m not yet convinced that Priest’s Inclosure Schema idea is the last word on the various paradoxes it seeks to explain: I’m not dismissing it either. But there may be other ways of explaining the seeming contradictions in Nagarjuna, without resorting to paraconsistent logics.

    In one of my earlier rants in the current thread, I was complaining about Zen Teachers talking about The Universe as if it’s a thing. I had a suspicion when I wrote that, that to agree with Nagarjuna AND to be consistent, we just have to [logician’s jargon alert] ban specific operations on predicates that have been generated with the universal quantifier: i.e. pretty much ban talk about ‘Everything’, while still being able to talk about ‘each single thing’. But Priest’s answer is a lot more straightforward than mine (and he’s a pro): so let’s work on the assumption that he’s right 🙂

    Apart from my basic agreement with the essay. There are a few points of the discussion that I can’t follow.

    1) “A viewer without a viewer. This contradiction would be considered intolerable in classical forms of logic” … What? This seems to be a response to the quote from Austin, “this extraordinary viewing. But there is no viewer”. I know of nothing in classical logic that says that a viewing must have a viewer. Logic does not rest on a distinction of subject and object in experience: it’s just about the structure of thought. A “viewer without a viewer” is a contradiction in classical logic, but a “viewing without a viewer” is fine on purely logical grounds. A viewing without a viewer would piss off most epistemologists and theory-of-mind people: but it’s OK on purely logical grounds.

    2) The very first comment on the page (#1) … I simply can’t follow the argument here. The most I can say is, it shows an understanding of the essay significantly different to mine.

    3) WTF has Adi Shankara got to do with any of this?

    4) Where are the couplets of your poetry?

    5) Did you even post the right frickin’ link, SamsaricHelicoid?

    6) I can’t really interpret the rest of that discussion. It looks like two people arguing at cross purposes… pretty much like every discussion between two people.

  14. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm |

    7) Did Paul McCartney really die in a car crash on November 9, 1966?

  15. jason farrow
    jason farrow February 5, 2015 at 11:04 pm |

    wasn’t Dipankara a Buddha?

  16. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 4:29 am |

    Excuse me, what time does the 11:45 to Trumpton go?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BY6dV-Chv7s

  17. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 11:23 am |

    Shinchan Ohara, after a lot of thinking I was able to succinctly summarize the premises that lead to non-dualism in much of Buddhism and Vedanta.

    1) everything empirical is contingent.

    2) what is empirically contingent lacks an fixed self-nature (i.e., “an independent essence that comes to define it”)

    3) the mind projects the illusion of fixed self-natures onto the empirical world.

    4) the self and mind lack an inherent fixed-nature

    5) the mind is not cut off from the world given its lack of an inherent nature.

    I think what this point to is how everything must have a non-conscious first-person awareness (i.e., One Mind or non-abiding awareness) which is inherently formless prior to thinking. It just becomes self-reflexive for humans due to higher brain complexity and the 5th Skandha of consciousness, which is attention to memory and depends on memory processes. The purpose of consciousness is to be a deceptive illusion that covers the fact there is no “I-me-mine”.

    I do not think it’s possible for Zen to leave behind its Yogacaran influences and become physicalist/materialist. By doing this, it’d no longer be Dharmic, I think. Physicalism/materialism invariably lead to nihilism, I feel.

  18. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 12:44 pm |

    Samsaric, your 5) premises appear about right to me (for what little my opinion is worth).

    I’m not so convinced about your conclusion, though. I agree that Zen can’t be physicalist/materialist, but equally it can’t be mind-only/idealist. If “the mind is not cut of from the world…”, then neither mind nor matter have primacy. If there is a spade, it is just a spade; if there is a hallucinated flower in the sky, it is just a hallucinated flower in the sky; if there is an intellectual understanding of dharma, it is just an intellectual understanding of dharma. Ordinary life is Zen life (all of it)

    1. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm |

      I’ve been trying to figure out what it means ontologically. I think it either means that there is a kind of internal mental life of matter or that it coalesces itself into certain psychophsyical forms (i.e., 1st Skandha). Therefore, I’m more agnostic about what the “mind not being cut off from the world” entails ontologically, except for the fact mind is not separate.

      I think that’s more difficult to ascertain… It’s a small disagreement in Dharmic circles, I think. I think it simply means an extraordinary view without viewer points to the fact mind is not cut off from the world and that it has equal importance as matter or so (e.g., check out neurologist James H. Austin’s Kensho experience on the subway in the Wiki).

    2. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 2:29 pm |

      Even the Zen Buddhist community is divided on what this leads to, but they don’t deny it’s most likely one of these answers:

      1) there is a kind of internal mental life of matter
      2) primordial awareness coalesces itself into certain psychophsyical forms (i.e., 1st Skandha)
      3) there is a primordial awareness without subject/object distinction which our brains are like “fractal antennas” that channel it ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_antenna )

      The argument does destroy claims such as, “the mind is reducible to brain activity”, “the mind is generated by brain activity”, “the mind supervenes on brain activity”, etc. Rather, certain changes in the mind depend on brain activity for its existence, but this does not mean mind originates entirely from brain activity given its inseparability

      If neither mind nor matter have primacy… what does that mean?

  19. Zafu
    Zafu February 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm |

    “Physicalism/materialism invariably lead to nihilism, I feel.” — SamsaricHelicoid

    Invariably leads to nihilism, yet it is just a feeling you have. Do you mean to say that you feel strongly about this, and don’t have any rational explanation? Maybe you could share any reasoning or evidence behind this feeling.

    1. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 3:55 pm |

      Because one is nothing more than localized brain activity then.

  20. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm |

    “What it means ontologically”: just this, ONLY this.

    1. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm |

      Come on man, just tell me which you think is more likely:

      1) there is a kind of internal qualitative mental life of matter (i.e., mind and life are more continuous than has previously been accepted and where there is life, there is mind).
      2) primordial qualitative awareness coalesces itself into certain psychophsyical forms
      3) there is a primordial qualitative awareness without subject/object distinction which our brains are like “fractal antennas” that channel it ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fractal_antenna )

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 5:10 pm |

        Those are all just dualistic fantasy stories. If I must give an answer, I’d say there are material leprechauns and spiritual dryads. They live below the planck scale. Five times per picosecond a leprechaun sucks off a dryad and they undergo mutual annihilation. At that point Brad Warner creates a quantum of consciousness by waving a hairy fly whisk. Fred takes the quantum and rams it up the cosmic poop chute, where it experiences itself as this story

        1. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 5:30 pm |

          But the non-dual must have a mind-like quality in it, otherwise the experience is impossible and we are forever cut off from it. That’s what I mean.

          1. Fred
            Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:49 pm |

            That’s what they say brother, but we are illusions and live on as the experience itself.

          2. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 5:51 pm |

            Sorry SamsaricHelicoid I don’t have an answer to what philosophy calls the Hard Problem of consciousness. Except to say that if Nagarjuna and Graham Priest are both right then it’s logically impossible to answer it. Go get a kensho experience: all this stuff will feel less important afterwards

          3. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 5:52 pm |

            I did have a Kensho experience and it seemed to point to a “primordial awareness without subject/object division”.

          4. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm |

            Yup! Kensho experiences: not worth a f**k. ;P

          5. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 6:52 pm |

            http://www.zenforuminternational.org/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=8938

            ^ I wrote about the kensho experience there. At no time did it feel like there was no awareness but memory was dissipating. It’s kind of how J. Krishnamurti describes his “benediction”. J. Krishnamurti also argued Mind is everywhere, same with UG.

            I think it’s impossible to argue against the non-duality of mind in Dharmic faiths. neither perception nor non-perception (8th jhana) seems to point to all-pervasive non-abiding mind or so

          6. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara February 6, 2015 at 7:12 pm |

            SamsaricHelicoid I can recall similar experiences to what you and James Austin relate. At the time I thought it was really special.

            But I don’t think it’s safe to extrapolate a physical or metaphysical theory from them.

            I had experiences on lsd that were much more ‘altered’ than the ‘kenshos’, but I didn’t credit them with explaining the universe.

          7. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 7:36 pm |

            (reposted here because branching texts confuses me)

            But i’ve had to decapitate rats for lab. The idea of the mind being entirely localized in brain activity disturbs me. Also, I see more reason to believe the mind is not cut off from the world. So then which is more likely out of the three possibilities I gave?

            Zen doesn’t completely avoid metaphysical conclusions. Non-dualism is metaphysical for example, claiming everything is One Mind which is itself multitudinous.

        2. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm |

          http://www.allvoices.com/article/100001444

          “One of the patients, a 57-year-old social worker from Southampton, recalled an OBE in which he watched from a corner of the hospital room as the medical staff tried to resuscitate him. The researchers were able to determine that the patient’s recollection of conscious awareness was not illusory or hallucinatory because he was able to describe his visual awareness of specific events in the hospital room while he was being resuscitated.

          An element that added credibility to his account was his recollection of the bleeping of a machine. The researchers were able to determine that the patient’s OBE spanned a period of about three minutes after his heart had stopped beating because he recalled hearing the three-minute interval bleep twice. His case appeared to give evidence that consciousness could persist after the brain has shut down because the brain typically shuts down within 20 to 40 seconds after cardiac arrest.”

      2. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid February 6, 2015 at 7:35 pm |

        But i’ve had to decapitate rats for lab. The idea of the mind being entirely localized in brain activity disturbs me. Also, I see more reason to believe the mind is not cut off from the world. So then which is more likely out of the three possibilities I gave?

        Zen doesn’t completely avoid metaphysical conclusions. Non-dualism is metaphysical for example, claiming everything is One Mind which is itself multitudinous.

        1. Shinchan Ohara
          Shinchan Ohara February 7, 2015 at 9:04 am |

          Bring me the mind of the rat, and I will pacify it: show me the locus of mind in your brain, and I’ll absolve it.

          1. SamsaricHelicoid
            SamsaricHelicoid February 7, 2015 at 1:43 pm |

            That leads to the One Mind of Lankavatara Sutra. It resembles a kind of type-F monism: ““Type-F Monism is the view that consciousness is constituted by the intrinsic properties of fundamental physical entities … phenomenal or protophenomenal properties are located at the fundamental level of physical reality and in a certain sense underlie physical reality itself … If so, then consciousness and physical reality are deeply intertwined … the view can be seen as a sort of idealism” (‘The Character of Consciousness’, pp.133/4)

            The idealism of Ch’an is one of non-abiding awarenesss (post #2):
            http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=9510

            The Kyoto school is partly responsible for distorting Japanese Zen to be less ontological based, and as a consequence, it becomes nihilistic. There was a time in a Soto school where Chinese texts were read as much, if not more, than Dogen (e.g., Diamond, Lankavatara sutras and Han Shan’s poetry). Completely leaving Zen’s metaphysical and ontological basis isn’t good, and it is no longer a religion worth practicing.

          2. Shinchan Ohara
            Shinchan Ohara February 7, 2015 at 8:13 pm |

            OK Samsaric. I’m leaving this pointless conversation. As a parting shot, I assert again that any philosophy has only one sensible basis for a metaphysics or ontology:

            >> THIS! <<

            Oh, and this…

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor

        2. SamsaricHelicoid
          SamsaricHelicoid February 7, 2015 at 8:15 pm |

          Your comment is awaiting moderation.

          Shinchan, read this interesting lecture from a Tibetan Lama explaining the differences between consequentialist Madhyamakist and yogacaran views on non-duality before reading my respond:

          http://www.lamayeshe.com/index.php?sect=article&id=879

          Here is an interesting quote before I comment:

          “It is helpful if we understand the realization of non-duality has many levels or degrees. From the philosophical point of view there are two Indian schools of Mahayana Buddhist thought: the Cittamatra or Mind Only school and the Madhyamaka or Middle Way school with its Prasangika or Consequentialist subdivision. Both of these schools agree that the dualistic view is deceptive and therefore not ultimately true, and both assert that non-duality is the absolute nature of all things and is ultimately true. Though the Mind Only and Consequentialist schools agree on these points, their understanding of what is meant by non-duality varies somewhat.”

          By breaking off from Yogacaran (Cittamatra) roots and going for a consequentialist interpretation, Zen will become nihilistic and without vigor. Chinese Ch’an originally more tilted to the Yogacaran side than the Consequential Madhyamaka side. For example… the Lankavatara Sutra is fits exactly into the Mind-only non-dual descriptions from the Lama’s lecture I linked.

          Many modern Soto Zen Buddhists seem to arguing “non-abiding awareness” lacks an essential nature, arguing it is incidental from brain activity, even though Chinese Ch’an Buddhists frequently refer to the non-abiding awareness (or One Mind) as being the fundamental universal ground that is without appearance (i.e., formless) and without intrinsic division. It is a form of type-F monism (note, link at bottom explaining what this means) that is based off the paradox of projecting the illusion of inherent mental imputations within Mind, based off the correlation of first-person and third-person facts.

          Buddha nature, as interpreted by Zen and not other Mahayana schools, is a metaphysical concept that originally pointed to common unifying thread that the mind is not severed from, and that the mind is equally a part of. It points to the unity of opposites such as the real and unreal and the importance of no separation between doer and doing, but at the same time it’s enmeshed in a mirror-like mind or so, think back to Hui Neng’s poem. The pointless point must be in the mind, as Bodhidharma pointed out. Zen cannot escape its Yogacaran roots.

          The problem is the Kyoto school pushed forward nonsensical Heidegger philosophy merged with Ueda’s notions of a double-door emptiness/being (language). It totally removed any possibility of Zen practice pointing to a deeper underlying reality or the all-encompassing place, placing a more focal emphasis on the Consequential Madhyamaka school. Chinese Ch’an Buddhists and early Japanese Buddhists would frequently use metaphors of the moon to the point to the One Mind, which people now avoid even discussing its (non-)nature. Without the Yogacara roots, Zen becomes nihilistic and moves towards Tsongkhapa-like nonsense.

          I think a combination of Henri Bergson’s philosophy, older Chinese Ch’an, Schopenhauer, and a more eclectic combination of rhetoric from the neurosciences and physics could point to the pure awareness monistic source again or so. Then one can practice without intent — great faith, great determine, great discipline. The “Mind-stream” is an important part in Zen too.

          The solution to The Hard Problem of Consciousness is type-f monism within the context of all Ch’an and Zen.

          http
          (connect)
          ://tinyu
          (connect)
          rl.com/q63jsaq

  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm |

    Surprised me to discover considerable additional info about the situation at ZMM on the tail end of the comment thread of the last post, all which info was added after this here post was posted.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W-NIIjjKyVM

    1. Fred
      Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:17 pm |

      Thanks, Mark

      1. Fred
        Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:19 pm |

        “Those are all just dualistic fantasy stories. If I must give an answer, I’d say there are material leprechauns and spiritual dryads. They live below the planck scale. Five times per picosecond a leprechaun sucks off a dryad and they undergo mutual annihilation. At that point Brad Warner creates a quantum of consciousness by waving a hairy fly whisk. Fred takes the quantum and rams it up the cosmic poop chute, where it experiences itself as this story”

        Brilliant!

    2. Shodo
      Shodo February 6, 2015 at 5:47 pm |

      To be honest…
      Electricelf was a troll who took a strange sort of glee at trying to spread easily dismissed bullshit.

      1. Fred
        Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:55 pm |

        I guess that we will have to take your word for it.

        But if Ryushin Sensei was your teacher or whatever, wouldn’t you be in contact. Wouldn’t the relationship be valid anywhere, in any context.

        The vow is to the self and the universe, not to the walls of the zendo.

        1. Shodo
          Shodo February 6, 2015 at 6:01 pm |

          I am in contact with him, and I have talked with him.

  22. Fred
    Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm |

    Speaking of dualistic fantasy stories:

    “I was a close friend of Daido after he split with Myotai, and that man liked to fuck, I know that firsthand…. big Dick too on that Roshi.
    oh, now does that make you feel sad that your teacher Ryushin likes to fuck.
    Let me tell you, it would make him a better, more alive teacher, so please grow up and stop pretending Zen is the Catholic church.
    Of course, Zen masters like to fuck, fuck, fuck, Hell Yes!!!!!!!!”

    1. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 7, 2015 at 6:02 am |

      But what none of that explains is whether Daido was foolin’ with Myotai, before or after Myotai was foolin’ with Prince?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFtNChII78k

  23. Fred
    Fred February 6, 2015 at 5:40 pm |

    Big Dick Daido and the Horny Roshis

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xGFTBNy3Hdk

  24. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 6, 2015 at 8:47 pm |

    Fred, I nominate you for the whisker-wielder of the nonce! If anybody can get a rise outta somebody, it’s the nonce’s whisker-wielder.

    SamsaricHelicoid has a dual-carb exhaust system. Double overhead cam.

    Mizzen mast or mains’l, steady as she goes; foaming breakers on level ground, don’t fail me now!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VmZcnWfN6s

  25. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 6, 2015 at 10:49 pm |

    “…have no coughing or sighing in the mind–with your mind like a wall…”

    (Bodhidharma)

    “When you find your place where you are, practice occurs…”

    (“Genjo Koan” by Eihei Dogen, trans. by Aitken and Tanahashi)

  26. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 7, 2015 at 5:53 am |

    Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

    1 John 2:15-17 KJV

    1. Fred
      Fred February 7, 2015 at 7:21 am |

      ” but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever”

      There’s the problem. Some guy will tell you what the will of God is, and cut off your head for not following it.

      Or pull out your sister’s finger nails with a pair of pliers for wearing nail polish.

  27. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 7, 2015 at 7:56 am |

    oops

    1. Fred
      Fred February 7, 2015 at 5:39 pm |

      “But what none of that explains is whether Daido was foolin’ with Myotai, before or after Myotai was foolin’ with Prince?”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yvfsXu_VqM

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 7, 2015 at 8:29 pm |

    thanks to the idiot, for the good words.

  29. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon February 8, 2015 at 2:14 am |

    THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 8, 2015 at 6:23 am |

      THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE

      1. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 8:38 am |

        Wait, did you call me an idiot or are you referring to someone else?

      2. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 11:56 am |

        THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE

    2. justlui
      justlui February 8, 2015 at 6:44 am |

      Everyone is tough behind a screen. 😛

      Dang, Brad I would totally delete GC’s comment if this were my blog. It’s filled with hate speech that will seriously bother some people on a level that’s totally uncool.

      As to not knowing what zen is, here Grand Canyon, I will tell you. It’s you. All you, bud. Totally.

      Now that will be $499, please.

    3. Fred
      Fred February 8, 2015 at 8:12 am |

      You mad bro?

    4. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 11:50 am |

      THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE

  30. Mumbles
    Mumbles February 8, 2015 at 8:13 am |

    The world we live in is the illusion, Maya, including our sense that we live in the body and are restricted to the body and whatever we are will die with the body. The highest expression of consciousness of the body, of the world, is the concept of Brahman, Love, which is also interpreted as God(s), the I Am, etc. All of such concepts are just the awareness that consciousness is present, and the body is basically fuel for the rocket (of consciousness). It is a relatively simple thing to be aware of consciousness, as Rene Descarte famously said “I think, therefore I am.” We know we exist, we know because we are conscious of it. We worship the consciousness on many levels, primarily through thought and action in the world. Although we may accept the world as illusion, through our consciousness we can make something out of it that may make the body safe, more comfortable,
    etc., during its short appearance in the world. We may even pray to our highest consciousness in whatever form we perceive it and receive help in this way. It happens. Then there is the Parabrahman, which is the aspect of ourselves that is so quiet and unassuming, beyond space and time, that cares nothing about our conscious efforts or prayers, or thoughts, or efforts, or accomplishments. It cannot “care.” It is formless and needs nothing in the way of support. It is impossible to conceptualize. And it is the part of us, that was never born, and can never die. Once we realize this, our “spiritual search” is over. Once this aspect of who we are tips the balance and is predominant over the illusion of the world, over concerns about preserving the body, or our knowledge, etc., it’s a done deal.

    “One cannot be at peace with consciousness and tries to forget it in activity.” (Nisargadata). Most people run here and there and everywhere trying NOT to have to just be with consciousness, buying this or that, doing doing doing to put off the inevitable of just being alone with themselves, being quiet, seeing what that is like. Most people who try to meditate have a hell of a time because their minds run a million miles an hour plotting things they can do do do.

    As a child in school I was always getting in trouble for “daydreaming,” leaving the busyness of whatever the teacher was talking about, or what the class was doing to just lose myself looking out the window into the empty sky.

    Understanding that everything everyone is doing is just as empty as that sky took a bit longer, but this is what Nisargadatta meant when he said we should realize the Self and go on doing what we do in our daily life to provide for ourselves and our families, etc.

    What I was saying about the different ways we perceive reality is that some realize this underlying emptiness, the Parabrahman, that is always around even when it goes unnoticed and understand it’s supreme value; while others are only aware of the limits of consciousness, the understanding that “I Am.” Some are so caught up in the “doing” that the rest is lost to them, and their lives become a tiresome, repetitious succession of acquisition, under the spell of Maya, caught in the illusion that it will all add up to something. This is the root of suffering.

    1. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 8:45 am |

      Mumble, what a beautiful post, but Parabrahman is still non-abiding awareness or One Mind. This non-abiding awareness is both fundamental and universal, it contains and pervades the universe:

      http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=9510 (read the 2nd post)

      Parabrahman is the same as sat-chit-ânanda. Everything you say is true, but the fact is Atman is not separate from Brahman. Atman is infinite, Brahman is infinite.

      It is a kind of type-F monism. If Zen were to leave behind its yogacaran roots completely it becomes nihilistic. The Madhyamaka Consequentialists were nihilists.

  31. Mumbles
    Mumbles February 8, 2015 at 10:16 am |

    A close re-reading of what I said above would reveal that the initial points you make are included in my statements.

    The Parabrahman is Nothing conceptually speaking. It is the First Matter of the Alchemists, found everywhere but overlooked by just about all. One in a million will find it said Nisargadatta. Jesus’s quotes about the Heavenly Kingdom of his Father abound. God the Father is the unknowable Parabrahman. Jesus is Love, the limit of consciousness. Go beyond, into nothingness. (we will anyway, when we die, why not die already and live eternally while here and now? “Die before ye die” said the Prophet Mohammad S.A.W.) We want to believe in somethingness, we look around, at our love of our self, and think “this is it.” Or, “we can make something out of this nothing.” What a con. Con-sciousness is all Con.

    There is no evolution of consciousness, the animating factor in matter, which would be inert without it, going where? No, instead we have the continued and increasingly vicious magnification of the leisure of the rich dependent on the backs of the working, or non-working and simply dying, poor; we are deeply immersed in the hunger games, where big pharma is in collusion with other poison manufacturers who use the general population as expendable guinea pigs to see how efficiently Monsanto et al can kill us off, while the grocers sell the plants they poison lining the shelves genetically altered and cloned as “natural” products. What use is the concept of a “higher order free from the limitations of personal striving and futile self aggrandizement” when the real order of things is reaching the priority level set at acquiring a cell phone and a pack of cigarettes?

    Is this an evolutionary or de-evolutionary process, or just the Yugas rolling along, the expansion and contraction of a meaningless Whole that does not need meaning to roll? Believing in consciousness is an experiment in futility.

    1. SamsaricHelicoid
      SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 10:23 am |

      Gassho.

    2. The Idiot
      The Idiot February 8, 2015 at 7:13 pm |

      Oh snap. What he said.

  32. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 10:39 am |

    The question, “Is the moon still there when Einstein is not looking at it?” is only a failing strategy to preserve Platonism or philosophical idealism: it is, in fact, only half a question, the other half being: “Is Einstein still there when the moon is not shining?” (Plank, 2000, The Implications of Quantum Non-Locality for the Archaeology of Consciousness)

    Neither Einstein nor Moon. Neither Einstein nor Moon.

    Only the freeing luminescence into Infinity

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 8, 2015 at 11:23 am |

    “What is Zen, if the chief good and market of a Zennist’s time be but to sleep and feed? a beast’s way, no more. Sure he that made us with such large discourse, looking before and after, gave us not that capability and god-like reason to fust in us unused on a cushion.”

    “Sweet prince, why speak not you?”

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm |

      Cuz you done gasted my flabbers?

    2. Shinchan Ohara
      Shinchan Ohara February 8, 2015 at 1:41 pm |
  34. SamsaricHelicoid
    SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 11:50 am |

    THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN DELETED FOR INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 8, 2015 at 12:02 pm |

      That’s quite some time-delay circuit.

      1. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid February 8, 2015 at 12:04 pm |
    2. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon February 8, 2015 at 1:46 pm |

      No, no, no.
      I was referring to The Idiot’s bible quote 5 comments above mine, not SamsaricHelicoid’s closest comment that was 12 above that for a total of… carry the one… 17 comments higher. Not. Even Close. That is quite the persecution complex you have there.
      Autistic cunts who think they are clever tits need a punch in the dick every now and then to remind them of “here-now-reality”.
      So here’s another clue for you all:
      The walrus was Paul…

      1. Fred
        Fred February 8, 2015 at 2:18 pm |

        Autistic cunts who
        think they are clever tits
        need a punch in the dick
        every now and then
        to remind them of
        “here-now-reality”.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hU1Wg_I6_t4

  35. Fred
    Fred February 8, 2015 at 4:14 pm |

    Wha’d you call me?

  36. Fred
    Fred February 8, 2015 at 4:19 pm |

    Hey MF, are you talking to me?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNupcCaoFoo

  37. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 8, 2015 at 7:17 pm |

    The attitude that comes from selfishness leads to death, but the attitude that comes from the Spirit leads to life and peace. (”­Romans”¬ ”­8”¬:”­6”¬ CEB)

  38. The Idiot
    The Idiot February 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm |

    …aaaand I’m doing selfishness here. Time to quit. Bye y’all.

  39. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 8, 2015 at 9:30 pm |

    I was attempting to Goad Carmichael into a soliloquy of his own invention.

    I know dialing for dollars is trying to find me, but:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5madtiLf7DI

  40. Harlan
    Harlan February 8, 2015 at 10:10 pm |

    It’s all good. It’s our party and we can do what we want..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXYWDtXbBB0

  41. Michel
    Michel February 9, 2015 at 3:12 am |

    The Idiot February 5, 2015 at 3:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    “7) Did Paul McCartney really die in a car crash on November 9, 1966?”

    Well then, those who found the sosie would have been exceedingly lucky in finding a look-alike who was as good a composer and musician as the real Paul McCartney, wouldn’t they?

  42. Shinchan Ohara
    Shinchan Ohara February 9, 2015 at 5:16 am |

    No. That in itself is the tragedy.

    Wake up! The Beatles are at best average. Am I the only one who sees through this plot. There is a discernible toneless brown note in everything they ever recorded. Their entire opus reeks of strung out depression, and the desperate attempts of a mediocre boy band to seem quirky and avant garde, to close the yawning gap between the hype and their own limited talent.

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer February 9, 2015 at 11:52 am |

      “Wake up! The Beatles are at best average. Am I the only one who sees through this plot.”

      Actually Shinchan, I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you are actually the very last person to see through the plot. A 10 year old girl Chunhua Feng, who lives in Taiwan, was the second to last person to realize this, but you turned out to be the last.

      It’s a real relief for sure because now we can all relax, stop admiring the Beatles and start deleting them from the internet.

      Cheers.

      1. Shinchan Ohara
        Shinchan Ohara February 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm |

        Alan Sailer: ROFLMFAO, Cheers… and, Chunhua Feng: curse your sweaty cotton gymsocks.

  43. Fred
    Fred February 9, 2015 at 6:00 am |

    Album of the year and a mini shitstorm:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJzJmUGx5oM

  44. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 9, 2015 at 9:48 am |

    Shinchan Ohara:

    “The sound (of The Byrds) actually was formed in New York before I flew out to California. Well, not the 12-string Rickenbacker part, but the part about mixing folk and rock. I was working as a songwriter in Bobby Darin’s publishing company in the Brill Building. My job was to listen to the radio and write songs like ones that came over on the radio.

    The Beatles came out about that time and I got really jazzed by the Beatles. I loved what they were doing and they were doing a lot of passing chords. Like instead of just going like G, C, D, they’d go G, Bm, Em, C, Am, to D. So, the minor and passing chords I liked and, I thought these are really folk music chord changes. I kind of got it from what they were doing, I guess because they’d been a skiffle band.

    I imagined that they were more folk oriented than they really were. I thought they were probably more a folk band that could play bluegrass banjo and mandolin, but they chose to do pop music because it was more commercial.
    Turned out not to be the case. But in my imagination this whole thing developed and I started mixing up old folk songs with the Beatles beat and taking them down to Greenwich Village and playing them for the people there. To the point where a guy put out a sign outside that said, “Beatle Imitations.” I was kind of put off by that.”

    http://die-augenweide.de/byrds/speak/aboutbeatles.htm

    I would say the significance of the Beatles was John Lennon’s beat and folk chords.

  45. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 9, 2015 at 10:01 am |

    But I digress! “What is Zen”– I would say zen is concentration, as described by Gautama when he spoke of the power of concentration:

    “…making self-surrender (one’s) object of thought, (one) lays hold of concentration, lays hold of one-pointedness of mind.”

    (SN V 200, Pali Text Society V 176)

    The one-pointedness of mind in question is described by Dogen this way:

    “When you find your place where you are, practice occurs, actualizing the fundamental point.”

    (“Genjo Koan” by Eihei Dogen, trans. by Aitken and Tanahashi)

    I have recently had a practice described to me that involved sacred words, touch of the hands to the opposite shoulders and then opposite hips, the visualization of light showering from the head-top like sparks, and relaxation to the point of sleep. Actualizing the fundamental point for me is like this, if you include hips, knees, shoulders, elbows, jaw bone, and teeth, the last part being the point of sleep moving:

    They said to Him: Shall we then, being children,
    enter the Kingdom? Jesus said to them:
    When you make the two one, and
    when you make the inner as the outer
    and the outer as the inner and the above
    as the below, and when
    you make the male and the female into a single one,
    so that the male will not be male and
    the female (not) be female, when you make
    eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand
    in the place of a hand, and a foot in the place
    of a foot, (and) an image in the place of an image,
    then shall you enter [the Kingdom].

    (The Gospel According to Thomas, coptic text established and translated by A. Guillaumont, H.-CH. Puech, G. Quispel, W. Till and Yassah ‘Abd Al Masih, pg 18-19 log. 22, ©1959 E. J. Brill)

    Just sitting.

  46. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 9, 2015 at 10:04 am |

    I really meant to just quote the part from “eyes in the place of an eye”, and I should have started a new paragraph at “Actualizing the fundamental point for me is like this”. Sleepy this morning!

  47. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 9, 2015 at 10:05 am |

    And I left out the pillar part of the practice that was described to me, the central pillar, I go for that!

    1. Fred
      Fred February 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm |

      They said to Him: Shall we then, being children,
      enter the Kingdom? Jesus said to them:
      When you make the two one, and
      when you make the inner as the outer
      and the outer as the inner and the above
      as the below, and when
      you make the male and the female into a single one”

      No self upon the absolute non-duality. Jesus was a Buddha.

      1. Fred
        Fred February 9, 2015 at 12:08 pm |

        I saw A Hard Day’s Night 8 times in 1964. The Beatles were at the front edge of a paradigm shift that altered the culture of North America, you know, acid and love, and all that shit.

      2. SamsaricHelicoid
        SamsaricHelicoid February 9, 2015 at 12:55 pm |

        That’s from the Gospel of Thomas, which is indeed very beautiful, but not really attributable to the historical Jesus.

        http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/thomas.htm

        Here are two quotes I like from it:

        11) Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above
        it will pass away. The dead are not alive, and the living will
        not die. In the days when you consumed what is dead, you made it
        what is alive. When you come to dwell in the light, what will you
        do? On the day when you were one you became two. But when you
        become two, what will you do?”

        70) Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you
        bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is
        within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”

        1. minkfoot
          minkfoot February 9, 2015 at 2:53 pm |

          “That’s from the Gospel of Thomas, which is indeed very beautiful, but not really attributable to the historical Jesus.”

          BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    2. Fred
      Fred February 9, 2015 at 1:35 pm |

      “When a temple pillar becomes pregnant, how do we discern the absence of body and mind?”

      1. Sonic
        Sonic February 9, 2015 at 3:26 pm |

        I’d worry instead when it becomes president.

      2. Mumbles
        Mumbles February 9, 2015 at 4:36 pm |

        That would likely be the father who’s absent.

  48. otaku00
    otaku00 February 14, 2015 at 11:09 am |

    Brad’s argument is illogic. 1) He says himself that the Buddha got insight all by himself (not a communal thing). 2) Actually he first refused to give talks but others stalked him and convinced him otherwise (so it was not part of his enlightenment to naturally teach, i.e. to be a communal thing).

    To make this an argument for communal zazen doesn’t convince at all. Actually the Buddha is said to have made an extensive walk after his enlightenment. Actually what we read in the Palicanon is that his life must finally have been very talkative and less sittative.

    “We need to always remember how it began.”

    It began with a newborn who could walk and talk. It went on without a zafu.

    Therefore, we cannot actually trust what is said in the Palicanon, although with a playful attitude one might choose one point for his argument and drop another point which is just too ridiculous.

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