Where Did Lou Reed Go When He Died?

lou-reed_bpI heard about Lou Reed’s death via a posting on Facebook. But the first article I read about it was in the English paper, the Daily Mail. The paper was one of the free newspapers available on a flight I took from Glasgow to London the day after the news of Reed’s death was announced. Their obituary, if one can even call it that, was nasty, mean-spirited and kind of pathetic. The writer says, “He did more than any other rock star to give drugs a false and dangerous glamour,” and that, “Lou Reed’s own excesses have finally caught up with him.”

It all sounds like the typical jealousy of one who wishes he’d lived the kind of “debauched life” he criticizes when he sees others doing it. If the life of purity you lead is its own reward, then I don’t see the need to gloat over the death of someone who didn’t share your values.

The writer also offers this little tale, “Reed’s music reached a much wider audience in 1997 when the BBC chose his sweet melody Perfect Day as a promotion to publicise the Corporation’s music coverage. It featured a host of big-name stars (including David Bowie, Bono, Boyzone and the BBC Symphony Orchestra). The record was released as a charity single in aid of Children In Need and was No 1 for three weeks. But few licence fee-payers — or, clearly, BBC executives — realised the song and its seemingly romantic chorus, ‘It’s such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you’, was a paean to heroin.”

Here are the lyrics to Perfect Day:

Just a perfect day / Drink sangria in the park / And then later, when it gets dark / We go home

Just a perfect day / Feed animals in the zoo / Then later a movie, too / And then home

Oh, it’s such a perfect day / I’m glad I spent it with you / Oh, such a perfect day / You just keep me hanging on / You just keep me hanging on

Just a perfect day / Problems all left alone / Weekenders on our own / It’s such fun

Just a perfect day / You made me forget myself / I thought I was someone else / Someone good

Oh, it’s such a perfect day / I’m glad I spent it with you / Oh, such a perfect day / You just keep me hanging on /You just keep me hanging on

You’re going to reap just what you sow

Now if that’s a “paean to heroin,” I certainly don’t see it. I don’t imagine heroin feeding animals in the zoo, taking in a movie, or drinking sangria in the park. The song was used in the 1996 film Trainspotting, which is about heroin addicts. But that doesn’t indicate the song is about heroin. Although now it’s in the Daily Mail so it has to be true, I suppose.

But where did Lou Reed go when he died? The factual answer is that nobody knows. Or perhaps Lou Reed knows. But he’s got no way to tell us because the apparatus he previously used to tell people about things has been damaged and no longer operates.

I got a weird question via Facebook the other day. It went, “I have been sitting with this, and reflecting on different comments – like Huang Po’s ‘all sentient beings are expressions of the one mind’ and examples like waves versus the ocean. I’m curious where you fall on the divide: is the ocean conscious? How else call it ‘mind’ or ‘awareness’? I have embraced ‘no self’ as referring to non-essence, but ‘no self’ as non-separateness seems to undermine any possibility of awareness. Why would we want to progress toward the Buddha-mind (or return to the ocean, or whatever) if it is indistinguishable from entering a coma?”

To this I answered, “Your awareness now is the awareness of the universe. There is no difference. But ‘awareness’ is also just an idea. There is awareness in a coma and there is awareness in a rock or in so-called ‘empty space.’ ‘No self’ means that ‘self’ is a poor image for what you really are, and not that what we mistakenly refer to as ‘self’ does not exist.”

Unfortunately the conversation just went downhill from there. But perhaps I can use it as a way to express where I think Lou Reed went.

We believe that the mind we experience is our mind, our awareness. We believe it is unique to us. This seems to be demonstrably true. No one else can enter our mind, no matter how hard they try. They can enter our bodies through sex or through violence. But they can’t enter our minds. Or can they?

I don’t want to get into a discussion about psychic phenomena here. But most of us have experienced moments of deep connection with others. Since, even then, we usually can’t read other people’s thoughts or hear their inner monologue, we tend to imagine that these moments occur only within our minds. They may occur simultaneously with the same sort of thing happening in the mind of another. But even then, we view them as separate instances occurring in two different minds at the same time.

But if you can establish great silence within yourself, you can start to see that this isn’t quite the case. The lines between yourself and the outside world begin to blur and lose the distinction you believed they had. This is not easy to do. But it just takes a certain degree of patience and discipline. It’s something you did naturally when you were a child but that you were taught not to do as you grew up. It’s something you continue to do anyway, but you’ve developed the ability to ignore it.

Lou Reed was a manifestation of the universe. What made him Lou Reed wasn’t confined to the space of his body. It was a function of everyone and everything he ever encountered or that ever encountered him.

Lou Reed is dead and we can’t make him come back. I’m sad about that. I feel like I took a long time to finally discover him. Friends of mine who knew I loved 60s psychedelic rock told me about the Velvet Underground for years. But they’d always play me songs like Heroin or Waiting for the Man as examples. To me it just sounded like bad Bob Dylan imitations with pretentious lyrics about drugs. It wasn’t until I heard Venus in Furs that I was sold. Now that is psychedelic! I was a fan from that moment on. I’m sorry he’s gone now.

But he isn’t really gone. Nothing is ever really gone. He’s just changed his shape so radically we can’t find him anymore.

The awareness he thought was his own awareness wasn’t really his. The mind he thought was his own mind, wasn’t really his own. The awareness he felt he had of the universe was just as much the universe’s awareness of him. It was our awareness of him.

We block that aspect off from ourselves so thoroughly that we question its very existence. But it is the foundation from which we spring forth.

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57 Responses

Page 1 of 2
  1. Fred
    Fred November 5, 2013 at 3:02 pm | |

    “The mind, having no fixed abode (location), flows forth”

    Where did Lou go? He was re-absorbed into the dependent origination.

  2. Harlan
    Harlan November 5, 2013 at 3:22 pm | |

    “The end of laughter and soft lies
    The end of nights we tried to die..”

  3. Oli Bainbridge
    Oli Bainbridge November 5, 2013 at 7:21 pm | |

    ‘The Daily Hate Mail’ – I always wonder whether this title is more accurate, and hence better, and to be insisted upon even in polite company, or too mean spirited in any case and hence unhelpful.

    It just seems too misleading, and indulgent of what needs resisting, to reproduce the traditional respectability of their title. There has to be a better noun for them than ‘newspaper.’

    Sorry that Lou reed has ‘gone’. I’ve only listened to the album with the banana. Even when the lyrics are drug fetishising, there seems to be a pretty fierce integrity to the music which lightens it up on it’s feet rather than dragging it down.

  4. Jan
    Jan November 6, 2013 at 12:40 am | |

    You say: “It’s something you did naturally when you were a child but that you WERE TAUGHT not to do as you grew up.”

    What exactly is it that we were taught not to do as a child? What would a parent say to stop the child doing it / in which situation ? What can a parent do to not stop the child doing it?

    I know the “goal” (yeah, I know there are no goals, but lets keep it simple) of Zazen is to get silent, but I cannot remember a situation were my child wanted to get silent and I would have started to stop her from doing so – normally it’s the other way round:-)

    So I don’t really understand that. Do you have a concrete example?

    Jan

  5. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 4:48 am | |

    A concrete example of the ineffable? You humans make my ass twitch.

  6. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 4:51 am | |

    “You” get silent, to allow it to express itself without the squelch of conditioning

  7. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 5:01 am | |

    ” Why would we want to progress toward the Buddha-mind (or return to the ocean, or whatever) if it is indistinguishable from entering a coma?”

    You are already there. The thought between you and the ocean is the actual coma

  8. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 5:07 am | |
  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 6, 2013 at 9:09 am | |

    While I’m mixing up history, here’s one for Brad:

    Night on Mount Baldy

  10. Andy
    Andy November 6, 2013 at 9:15 am | |

    On BBC’s Question Time, recently, guest panelist Mr Mehdi Hasan summed up the Daily Mail wonderfully. The usually rather tame audience reacted as I’m sure many did at home.

    As someone once said, The Daily Mail/ The Mail on Sunday consistently expresses the worst of British values presenting itself as the best.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RrjyHlbZck

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 6, 2013 at 10:41 am | |

    My friend who sent me

    “Mind,having no fixed abode, should flow forth”

    as the words that Huineng heard from the Diamond Sutra in the marketplace when his zither got plucked now sends me other possible translations and their source:

    ‘…Robert Aitken says, “One tradition states that this moment occurred at the lines: ‘Dwell nowhere and bring forth the mind.” Sekida says it was, “Without abiding anywhere, let the mind work.” Shibayama says it was the line, “No mind, no abode, and here works the mind.” These are all from commentaries on Mumonkan case #23′

    My friend is still looking for the line in the Diamond Sutra itself.

  12. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 10:51 am | |

    Sitting on this cushion come here, dwelling no where, the Mind flows forth in
    its own inevitable way.

  13. shade
    shade November 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm | |

    Lou’s excesses caught up with him? He was like, 70. By that logic a person who refrains from using controlled substances can expect to live – what? Forever?

    Not recommending hard drug use, but jeeze.

  14. foucault
    foucault November 6, 2013 at 3:26 pm | |

    Hi Brad,

    could you please point out some ‘beginners’ literature to the idea you share with these lines:

    “But he isn’t really gone. Nothing is ever really gone. He’s just changed his shape so radically we can’t find him anymore.

    The awareness he thought was his own awareness wasn’t really his. The mind he thought was his own mind, wasn’t really his own. The awareness he felt he had of the universe was just as much the universe’s awareness of him. It was our awareness of him.

    We block that aspect off from ourselves so thoroughly that we question its very existence. But it is the foundation from which we spring forth.”

    Thanks!

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 6, 2013 at 5:06 pm | |

    “…we spring forth?” I thought we were supposed to “fall back”!!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84aWtseb2-4

  16. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 5:23 pm | |

    “could you please point out some ‘beginners’ literature to the idea you share with these lines”

    Beginner’s literature:

    “As to the first: he must recognize and be fully convinced that this triple world is nothing
    but a complex manifestation of one`s mental activities ; that it is devoid of selfness
    and its belongings. That there are no strivings, no comings and no goings.
    He must recognize and accept the fact that this triple world is manifested and imagined
    as real only under the influence of habit-energy that has been accumulated
    since the beginning-less past, by reason of memory, false-imagination,
    false-reasoning, and attachments to the multiplicities of objects and reactions
    in close relationship and in conformity to ideas of body-property-and-abode.

    As to the Second thing ; he must recognize and be convinced that all things are to
    be regarded as forms seen in a vision and a dream, empty of substance, un-born
    without self-nature, that all things exist only by reason of a complicated network of causation.

    As for the third; He must recognize and patiently accept the fact that his own mind and
    personality is also Mind-constructed, that it is empty of substance, unborn and Egoless.”

  17. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 5:34 pm | |

    You might read this for a week
    http://huntingtonarchive.osu.edu/resources/downloads/sutras/08technicalMayayana/Lankavatara_Sutra%20abridged.pdf

    And then sit for a day
    And then say yes that is it, or that is not it at all.

    Or Brad may have sat a lot in Europe and the above words spring forth from the
    certainty of insight.

  18. Fred
    Fred November 6, 2013 at 5:47 pm | |

    So while Foucault became a professor of the History of Systems of Thought, the
    gist of what is “falling back” into original primordial awareness ” springs forth ”
    from thinking of non-thinking.

  19. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 6, 2013 at 6:48 pm | |

    Isn’t thinking of non-thinking… thinking?

    Concepts!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilFuX26lhJM

  20. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 6, 2013 at 7:05 pm | |
  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 6, 2013 at 7:10 pm | |

    “earnestness being the only deciding factor.”

    Like the way that guy smiles!

    The Blessed One, knowing of the mental agitations going on in the minds of those assembled (like the surface of the ocean stirred into waves by the passing winds), and his great heart moved by compassion, smiled and said :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaiqcE1jjYU

  22. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 6, 2013 at 7:49 pm | |

    Good advice, as usual. Love Rudi.

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

  23. Fred
    Fred November 7, 2013 at 6:13 am | |

    ” Isn’t thinking of non-thinking… thinking?
    Concepts!”

    Sorry, semantics. It should have been thinking without thinking – the thinking of
    pure presence without conceptual discrimination.

    from Angelfire:

    C. WITHOUT THINKING (hishiryo): This is no-thought (munen; wu-nien) or no-mind (mushin; wu-hsin): pure immediacy in the fullness of things as they are.

    1. About “not-thinking,”: (1) noetic attitude: nonpositional (neither affirming nor negating); (2) noematic content: pure presence of things as they are (genjokoan).

    a) Noetic attitude is nonpositional (neither affirming nor negating): Consciousness is no longer an intentional vector proceeding from a subject to an object but is, rather, an open dynamic field in which objects present themselves.

    b) Noematic content: The object is no longer an object that is the target of an intentional act but is, rather, the object itself as it presents itself within the open dynamic field of consciousness.

    c) Aspects of “without thinking”:

    (1) No subject-object distinction: The subject has disappeared—this being the Zen interpretation of Buddhist anatta or no-mind.

    (2) Immediacy: Without a subject standing back, the experience is one of immediacy within the dynamic field of consciousness.

    (3) Fullness: Because the object is not filtered through an intentional act, it presents itself in its fullness.

    (4) Such immediacy and fullness are genjokoan, “pure presence of things as they are.”

  24. Fred
    Fred November 7, 2013 at 6:20 am | |

    Rudi – I see the women doing the work and the men standing around

  25. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 7, 2013 at 9:43 am | |

    straighten right out, there, Rude! Think of your future, pal!

    Or not; seems like the nice footwork around “noetic” and “noematic” all concerns the cessation of the exercise of will, “habitual activity” as it is referred to in the Angutara Sermon volumes.

    Gautama didn’t offer a method of induction of the meditative states, but he implied that when the five hindrances are overcome, such a state exists.

    Either that, or:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KU7utSwjyIg

  26. mb
    mb November 7, 2013 at 10:47 am | |

    Mark -

    Rudi died in a plane crash in 1973. So his “future” is has already been spoken for…

  27. Jinzang
    Jinzang November 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm | |

    “My friend is still looking for the line in the Diamond Sutra itself.”

    Therefore then, Subhuti, the Bodhisattva, the great being, should produce an unsupported thought, i.e. a thought that is nowhere supported, a thought unsupported by sights, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables, or mind-objects.

    It’s discussed on page 48 of Edward Conze’s “Buddhist Wisdom Books.” The word “unsupported” in Sanskrit literally means not to cause to stand.

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 7, 2013 at 7:55 pm | |

    Fred, whose blog is that? I notice that he says this about a key phrase in the passage:

    “(the phrase) is literally, “The place of abiding (which) is not,” or less literally “abides nowhere/has no place to abide.”

    Jinzang, thanks for the reference. My friend did come up with four translations in all, each of which differs radically from Conze’s translation:

    “Mind,having no fixed abode, should flow forth” (Bassui?)

    “Dwell nowhere and bring forth the mind.” Aitken

    “Without abiding anywhere, let the mind work.” Sekida

    “No mind, no abode, and here works the mind.” Shibayama

    My friend says these are all from commentaries on Mumonkan case #23.

  29. kaleva
    kaleva November 8, 2013 at 12:42 am | |

    Here’s the obituary that Laurie Anderson wrote for her dear husband.
    “We tried to understand and apply things our teacher Mingyur Rinpoche said – especially hard ones like, ‘You need to try to master the ability to feel sad without actually being sad.’ — As meditators, we had prepared for this —-I have never seen an expression as full of wonder as Lou’s as he died. — I’m sure he will come to me in my dreams and will seem to be alive again.”
    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/laurie-andersons-farewell-to-lou-reed-a-rolling-stone-exclusive-20131106#ixzz2k2eH8GiX
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook”

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/laurie-andersons-farewell-to-lou-reed-a-rolling-stone-exclusive-20131106#ixzz2k2e3FkZg
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

    Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/laurie-andersons-farewell-to-lou-reed-a-rolling-stone-exclusive-20131106#ixzz2k2duJ3w8
    Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

    http://m.rollingstone.com/music/news/laurie-andersons-farewell-to-lou-reed-a-rolling-stone-exclusive-20131106

  30. anon 108
    anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 6:19 am | |

    I don’t know the Diamond Sutra well. Assuming Jinzang is right about the origin of the line Mark’s friend can’t find, here it is in Sanskrit with my own ‘literal’ phrase-by-phrase translation.

    Tasmat tarhi Subhute (‘Therefore then, O Subhuti’)
    bodhisattvena (‘by a bodhisattva’)
    mahasattvenaivam (= mahasattvena’, by a great being’ + evam, ‘thus’)
    apratisthitam (‘not situated/unplaced/not dependant on’)
    cittam (‘thought, thinking’)
    utpadayitavyam (*is to be caused to be arisen* = ‘[is] to be produced’)
    yan (‘which/whatever’)
    na kvacit-pratisthitam (‘not [an] anywhere placed/dependent on’)
    cittam (‘thought’)
    utpadayitavyam (‘[is] to be produced’]
    na rupa-pratisthitam cittam utpadayitavyam (‘not [a] form/appearance-dependant thought is to be produced’)
    na sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavya-dharma-pratisthitam cittam utpadayitavyam (‘not [a] sound-, smell-, taste-, touch-dependant thought is to be produced’).

    Sanskrit often, even usually, uses passive expressions like “not a thought is to be produced” where we might use the active: “do not produce a thought” – although here the passive voice seems appropriate in English, to me. And Sanskrit often uses ‘causative’ forms (*is to be caused to be arisen*) without any distinction of meaning from a non-causative form; so meaning essentially the same as our “is to be produced”).

    All sorted :P

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 6:21 am | |

      That smiley is supposed to be a sarcastic toungue-out, not a smug grin. Hmm…

      1. anon 108
        anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 6:48 am | |

        I left out a translation of ‘dharma’ in the compound “na sabda-gandha-rasa-sprastavya-dharma-pratisthitam cittam utpadayitavyam”

        So – ‘(Whatever ['yad'] is a) sound-, smell-, taste-, touch- or object-dependant thought is not to be produced.’ “Object” being my suggestion for ‘dharma’ in this context. Conze has “mind-object”. Same thing, no?

      2. anon 108
        anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 8:00 am | |

        My apologies. I haven’t been closely following the discussion about “Mind, having no fixed abode, should flow forth.” I saw Jinzang’s quote from the Diamond Sutra and went for it. It seems that the passage I had a go at is unlikely to be the one Mark’s looking for; no “no abiding…mind flowing forth/working” there. Not quite.

  31. Fred
    Fred November 8, 2013 at 6:34 am | |

    “The place of abiding (which) is not”

    The unsupported thought is the subjectless awareness of reality.

    Observing all that is without there being an observer.

    Wei Wu Wei : “It was Mind that was looking for Mind and not finding itself as an
    object. And not finding was finding.”

  32. Fred
    Fred November 8, 2013 at 6:42 am | |

    “Fred, whose blog is that?”

    Mark, I think that it is a Buddhist nun soon to become an academic who can
    juxtapose the words to describe the abiding where there is no abiding.

  33. anon 108
    anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 9:02 am | |

    Even though the passage quoted from Conze may not be the one Mark was looking for, dependantly-originated thoughts have been caused to arise and here is a provisional translation:

    ‘Therefore then, O Subhuti, non-dependant thought will thus be produced by a bodhisattva, by a great being.
    Thought that is nowhere-dependant will be produced; whatever thought that is form/appearance-dependant will not be produced; whatever thought that is sound, smell, taste, touch or object-dependant will not be produced.’

    I’m off to the shops.

  34. yesno
    yesno November 8, 2013 at 3:46 pm | |

    ” in robert heinlein’s ‘the unpleasant profession of jonathan hoag’, the hero tells randall and cynthia he has discovered some fundamental flaws in the universe. later , driving home,randall asks cynthia to open the car window. now, outside, instead of sunshine and a normal city street, all they see is ‘a grey and formless mist, pulsing slowly as if with inchoate life’. when cynthia winds up the window, the normal city is restored. “

  35. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 8, 2013 at 5:37 pm | |

    Stonemirror, maybe you can magically make sure the dupe doesn’t appear? I know it took ’cause when I tried to enter it again, it said it had already been entered. Maybe the link? I’m taking it out.

    I have one more this morning, from Thomas Cleary in his translation of Denkoroku (#34, Huineng):

    “You should activate the mind without dwelling on anything.”

    anon 108, if we are talking about the same passage, your tranlation and Conze’s are really different from the others I’ve quoted- of course, everything I’ve quoted may be translations from a Japanese version of the text, who knows (bet that’s it- saw that you’re aware of the difference- thanks much for the Sanskrit treatment, though!).

    I look at the sacred literature this way:

    * does the text tell me to do something?- take it with a grain of salt or throw it away

    * does the text attempt to describe a physical experience, or is it someone’s understanding of the significance of an experience?- if the latter, grain of salt or throw it away

    * does it accord with the statements in the first four Pali Sutta volumes? … if not, grain of salt or throw it away

    The passage in the Diamond Sutra, as you have meticulously provided and translated it, fails the last test, due to this scripture:

    (Anyone)…knowing and seeing eye as it really is, knowing and seeing material shapes… visual consciousness… impact on the eye as it really is, and knowing, seeing as it really is the experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye, is not attached to the eye nor to material shapes nor to visual consciousness nor to impact on the eye; and that experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye—neither to that is (such a one) attached. …(Such a one’s) physical anxieties decrease, and mental anxieties decrease, and bodily torments… and mental torments… and bodily fevers decrease, and mental fevers decrease. (Such a one) experiences happiness of body and happiness of mind. (repeated for ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind).

    (Majjhima-Nikaya, Pali Text Society volume 3 pg 337-338, ©Pali Text Society)

    In particular, note that the above passage appears for “mind”, although the Pali Text Society spared us the repetition; thus we would have:

    (Anyone)…knowing and seeing mind as it really is, knowing and seeing mental objects… mental consciousness… impact on the mind as it really is, and knowing, seeing as it really is the experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the mind, is not attached to the mind nor to mental objects nor to mental consciousness nor to impact on the mind; and that experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the mind—neither to that is (such a one) attached.

    This is about nonattachment to occurring phenomena, not about producing phenomena (even if it’s “is to be caused to be arisen” production of phenomena). Moreover, Gautama spoke of “deliverance from thought without grasping”- this is a different animal from “thought that is nowhere-dependant is to be caused to be arisen”, which would be more like “deliverance from that thought which has a dependent origination”, rather than “deliverance from thought”.

    Thank you very much for your translation. Whenever I read translations of scriptures like the Diamond Sutra, I end up confirming my suspicion that there has been no voice on the subject like Gautama’s since. My loss, I suppose.

    I take Cleary’s translation with a grain of salt because it says, “do this”.

    This one is the closest to my experience:

    “Without abiding anywhere, let the mind work” (Sekida)

    Sekida neatly steps over “Mind” to point to the sense of location only; the trick is hidden in “without abiding anywhere”, or in “should flow forth”. It’s a trick because the sense of location does not flow forth without the induction of one of Erickson’s everyday trances, the unconscious equivalent of “the weight of your whole body completely relaxed breathing in, the weight of your whole body completely relaxed breathing out”. Of course, the sharpening of the senses Erickson spoke of in trance includes the sense of equilibrium and gravity, as well as what we now refer to as proprioception or the contribution of the place and movement of the part to the sense of place of the whole.

    “Let the mind work”, that’s like Nishijima’s “zazen is action”. Zazen sits. The sense of place that flows forth sits, and no other.

  36. anon 108
    anon 108 November 8, 2013 at 7:08 pm | |

    Thanks, Mark. I see the distinction you point out between Guatama’s words and those of the Diamond Sutra.

    I wonder – could ‘apratisthita’ be translated as ‘unattached’? Not, I think, without considerable license – and not in the sense that the Pali text uses it.

    Could ‘utpadayitavyam’ be translated simply as ‘arises’? I don’t think so. The word is a (causative) gerundive form – a future passive participle, expressing necessity; something that must be, or will be. With ‘na’ (as twice in this Diamond Sutra excerpt) the -tavya’ gerundive often suggests a negative prohibition. So I take your points.

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 November 9, 2013 at 7:51 am | |

      Mark wrote: “This [from the Majjhima-Nikaya] is about nonattachment to occurring phenomena, not about producing phenomena (even if it’s “is to be caused to be arisen” production of phenomena).”

      Mind you… ut-pad, the verbal root of the gerundive utpadayitavyam, does mean simply ‘arise/take place/occur’. Without being too familiar with the Sanskrit style of the Diamond Sutra I can’t say for sure whether this gerundive HAS to be read as I’ve described – as per classical Sanskrit – or not.

      In my first shot at a translation I chose “will/will not” rather than “should/should not” to avoid a clear sense of obligation, but maybe we can go further. Perhaps this is acceptable:

      ‘Therefore then, O Subhuti, with a bodhisattva, a great being, non-dependant thought will take place [no pun intended], thus:
      Thought that is nowhere-dependant will take place; whatever thought that is form/appearance-dependant will not take place; whatever thought that is sound, smell, taste, touch or object-dependant will not take place.’

      - Which is less pre/proscriptive. But then I’m left wondering ‘why bother to use the gerundive ‘must/should/will/is to be done’ form at all?’ The classical Sanskrit gerundive expresses obligation or necessity; something that must or should be done, rather than merely describing the way things happen to be…for Bodhisattvas.

      Even if utpadayitavyam is not here intended to prescribe but to describe, I agree that whatever it’s describing is different to what the Pali text you quote describes.

  37. Fred
    Fred November 9, 2013 at 9:09 am | |

    The use of words is part of dependent origination, and thought that is not of
    dependent origination cannot necessarily be described.

    A brain may encode that something happened, ie., the action of zazen or
    realization, but a blank exists for tangible descriptions of that action.

    And why does the blank exist. Because the seer of the action is the Universe itself

    And later the individual’s brain invents plausible explanatory words for the action. Since everyone’s conditioned reality is different, the words chosen will be
    different.

    So to say that some master can speak well from the unknowing is dubious.

  38. Fred
    Fred November 9, 2013 at 9:17 am | |

    Sweeping Zen:

    “Genjo Marinello
    November 29, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I trained for twenty years with Genki Takabayashi, fourteen years with Eido Shimano and did several sesshins with Joshu Sasaki. In my opinion, all three penetrated deeply the depth of unknowing and could clearly speak from this depth. I also think they all would be the first to admit they are human with real flaws”

  39. Fred
    Fred November 9, 2013 at 9:30 am | |

    ““Let the mind work”, that’s like Nishijima’s “zazen is action”. Zazen sits. The sense of place that flows forth sits, and no other.”

    At the moment of realizing there is no place or time or anyone.

    Flowing forth flows forth. As Brad has stated ” It wasn’t me. “

  40. Fred
    Fred November 9, 2013 at 9:40 am | |

    Brad wrote:

    ““But he isn’t really gone. Nothing is ever really gone. He’s just changed his shape so radically we can’t find him anymore.

    The awareness he thought was his own awareness wasn’t really his. The mind he thought was his own mind, wasn’t really his own. The awareness he felt he had of the universe was just as much the universe’s awareness of him. It was our awareness of him.

    We block that aspect off from ourselves so thoroughly that we question its very existence. But it is the foundation from which we spring forth.”

    I think that this just as deep as anything ever written. Kudos to Mr. Warner.

  41. GreenTara
    GreenTara November 9, 2013 at 10:49 pm | |

    i can’t say the guardian was wrong. i did a lot of stupid things probably b/c of listening to lou reed songs…”we’re gonna jump and shout and shoot together!”. but oddly i did it for the same reason i study zen now. so was he a bad influence? or good??

  42. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 10, 2013 at 4:45 pm | |

    GreenTara, can you put words to that reason? I think I know intuitively what you are talking about, but I’d like to hear what you would say.

    Rereading stuff I wrote five years ago, and I was singing the same tune, which surprises me since I didn’t have the lingo for it I have now then:

    ‘Equanimity toward feeling at the place of occurrence of consciousness frees the occurrence of consciousness, and through the clear sense of location in the free occurrence of consciousness the stretch necessary to ease at the moment is effected.

    Shunryu Suzuki said:

    “If you are not disturbed by the sound of the bluejay when you are reading something, the blue jay will come right into your heart, and you will be a bluejay, and the bluejay will be reading something.”

    To paraphrase his words: if you have equanimity when you hear the sound of the bluejay as you read, feeling is freed, consciousness is freed, and the sense of location in consciousness at the sound effects the stretch necessary to ease that reads.’

    Left out the part about trance, non-abiding (non-thinking?) and letting the mind work.

    1. GreenTara
      GreenTara November 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm | |

      hmmm…words to the reason for jumping and shouting and shooting and reason for studying zen… good question mr. foote. probably just ill from maya and thought jumping and shouting and shooting would help. which it didn’t. just kind of heightened and strengthened that which i was sick of. so now study zen to disentangle myself from all that height and strength. works much better!! thanks for asking!

  43. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 10, 2013 at 4:46 pm | |

    er, no I didn’t. “ease”.

  44. Mumbles
    Mumbles November 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm | |

    Hi Mark,
    I have a very different take on the whole thing as you know, I don’t need a sense of location, don’t have one in fact, and am quite happy with that. Without this, there is not need for conjecture upon the subject.

    That doesn’t mean its not important to you. It just says that for others such a myself, it is not a central issue. It does not explain anything. It is not a point of reference to do so.

    I know how it is to get stuck on a particular. But letting go means just that. letting go of everything we are stuck on as the “answer” to everything. No matter how fine a point we put on it. No matter how well it fits out arguments. It simply is another explanation among so many many others.

    I feel we are friends here on this blog, I mean no disrespect. If anybody is a Buddha, you are, brother.

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer November 11, 2013 at 9:14 am | |

      Mumbles,

      I might add that I suspect that certain idea or technique might be incredibly useful to one person, but that the chances that the same technique or idea would then work for another person is pretty remote. People just think and experience the world in too many different ways.

      I’d agree with you that fixating on a certain idea or technique is an attempt to freeze reality. And reality is just going to keep flowing and changing…

      The only two exceptions that I can think of off the top of my head are koans and zazen.

      Cheers.

  45. Andy
    Andy November 11, 2013 at 6:00 am | |

    This toad, eye to eye
    With its made-up water-line
    Has no place to hide

  46. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote November 11, 2013 at 9:12 am | |

    This morning I’m thinking, eh- just sit with the back straight and breath naturally. Ha ha, as if it was something I could do!

    Thanks, John, I was swift kicking myself for writing explanations of things like “let the mind work” or “let the blue jay read a book”, and it’s always good to have company! Ha ha!

  47. JohnKobeck
    JohnKobeck November 17, 2013 at 6:49 pm | |

    What a wonderful and beautiful explanation about death! Seriously, this is very well spoken……
    Regarding the Daily Mail’s comments
    “Lou Reed’s own excesses have finally caught up with him.”
    Don’t they realized this man was in his 70s! Im 49, and I hope I make it into my 70s. I mean, seriously, if it took 50 plus years for drugs to catch up to him, then I say he did a pretty good job outrunning them.

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