Hi, I'm Ahmed. I think the questions we are talking about are pretty important. Especially when I saw the word "skandha," I felt a need to thoroughly explain the term since it is so deep. Especially when skandhas are a neat classification system of the universe--all forms and movements, body or mind--the small dictionary definition will not do. But it would take a while to explain subsets and subsets of subsets . . . to map things out would take a great book to guide the discriminative thinking of our mind.
[Please skip eight paragraphs if you agree with the usefulness of mental discrimination, classification, organization and cutting the world into pieces.] Bill Smart, I think you would disapprove of my mental discrimination with me on this point. "In fact the ONLY thing that is important is to sit (zazen)," you replied once. Sitting is important but not ONLY. "Being knowledgeable or understanding things about zen, Buddhism, the Dharma, Sutras, Taoism, Hindi, yoga, physiology, philosophy, etc..., are not important at all. They're fun, but not important." Can you tell me discrimination is not useful in saving lives, in planning for the future, in discovering and solving interpersonal issues, and in advancing science not only for better physical understanding but also spiritual understanding and acceptance? What about for a job? Does one sit down and get paid in this world? Sure, sitting unifies one with the universe so that one has greater energy and capacity to understand. In fact, one MUST sit and BE in order to evolve one's theoretical knowledge to insight. But it is hard to imagine that one comes up with solutions magically from sitting. Once again, understanding the principles throughout the universe (of yin, yang and their many products), can these be called unimportant to one's mundane life and spiritual cultivation? True Buddhas must have "skillful means," methods of teaching which take into account context, audience, and environment. Buddhas must know of how the mind works (psychology) and the positions of others (Hindu, Muslim, Christian, this-and-that philosopher etc.) in order to compassionately guide him/her out or into a certain train of thought. Buddhas do not rigidly sit there, teaching corpses to become schizoids. I hope I have gotten my point across: mental discrimination is a difficult process to master, a process that cannot be ignored, despite the paradoxical nature of ideas, especially if one aims to be a Buddha. Also, the downside, mental discrimination is a process many people have a habit of using too much nowadays, me included, and if you tell someone to "'just sit' they'll probably just be spacing out most of the time becuase they have no concentration." (dkotschessa) But with mental discrimination one can logically explain to another personal the benefits and effects of meditation thus counteracting their discrimination within their own world of rules. One can even understand the conditions and causes of meditative rest and better be able to handle issues when they arise and help others if they request it. This is called using "fire to fight fire." Using the thinking mind itself to learn to stop itself. [The previous eight paragraphs were written for the sole purpose of explaining why discrimination is important, I know it's not complete--I hope you can fill in the rest.] The questions that arose about physical stature, hua-tou, skandhas, and what entails true zen practice were very important. And explanations are long. A book which desribes this aptly is "How to Measure and Deepen Your Spiritual Realization: A Short Multi-disciplinary Course on Evaluating and Elevating Your Meditation Progress and Spiritual Experiences." This book was written by William Bodri (manager of www.meditationexpert.com) and Huai-Chin Nan, a enlightened Esoteric master and Zen master, confirmed by many people all over Asia. This book will take you through a journey of understanding the different perspectives and cultivation schemes of different cultures, religions, and philosophies, the skandha system and it's relevance to cultivation, true Ch'an practice, the structure behind all sorts of Oriental practices from physical pranayama to mental visualizations, chi cultivation (hows, whys, don'ts), the metaphysics of cultivation and skillful means in order to help all of the universe. I assure you, after reading this book you will have no questions other than whether or not you can trust yourself to put forth the effort to go forward. But this book is darned expensive ($97) even if it has a lot of bonuses. Even worse, it's an e-book so you have to print it. But I promise it's worth the pain. Just read the raving excerpts for a taste. But this 700+ page but comes with a neat guarantee, which is the epitome of why I think you should try it: "If you buy this material and after reading it don't find it useful or instructive at all, not only will I return your money but I will send you every other ebook on this site for FREE! That's right ... I will send you every other book for free! Why such a guarantee? I want you to be totally satisfied with our materials and in this way I'm guaranteeing you'll get something that can benefit you." -- William Bodri (author) Good deal if one wants to get some other book on the site which altogether are probably worth nearly a thousand dollars. Not to even go into the intrinsic value. I challenge everyone here to see for yourself because, now, because no excuses can possibly remain. http://meditationexpert.com/measuringmeditation.html But I didn't mean to silence your questions or discussion. Thank you for listening, anyway. Good luck. Bye. --Ahmed [Non-text portions of this message have been removed] Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! Talk about it today! Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/ <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/