--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "Bill Smart" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: > > Jeff, > > First of all, WELCOME TO THE YAHOO! ZEN FORUM. We're all beginners > here, so I hope you will feel right at home. > > Since you're a newbie, I'll be especially gentle with you. My > comments on your posting are imbedded below: > > > --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "JEFF K." <quietmind@> wrote: > > > > Hello, > > My name is Jeff K., and I am a new member, and a newcomer along the > path of Zen Buddhism. I am wrestling with the Buddhist concept > of "no birth-no death", which I first encountered in Thich Nhat > Hanh's book, "The Heart of the Buddha". > > > > When I first came upon the concept, I was mystified and confused. > Thankfully, I continued reading the book (which I find excellent!) > and Thay returned to the "no birth-no death" concept from another > angle. Now I am beginning to understand the concept, though not as > deeply as I'd like. > > First of all, a concept like this 'No Birth-No Death', is not an > important component of zen. In fact no concepts are. Any concept > you, or Thich Nhat Hanh, or even Siddhartha Guatama himself had or > have are a not an imporant component of zen. > > Second of all, UNDERSTANDING, such as 'understanding concepts like > this one', or 'understanding koans', or 'understanding Buddhist > dogma', is not at all necessary to practice zen - in fact in my > opinion the more 'understanding' you have, the further you are from > Buddha Mind. > > > > > My superficial understanding is: Most people fear death because we > believe that once we "die", we are annihilated. Buddhism teaches that > the person is never "destroyed"; rather, our existence continues, > albeit possibly in another form. Even a cremated body is never > totally destroyed or eliminated; ashes, bones, and vapors still > exist. I analogize this to the concept in physics that matter cannot > be destroyed. These elements of our body, now in the soil and/or air, > will sustain other life forms. > > > > Perhaps I have it all wrong, but I'd greatly appreciate feedback > from other group members. > > ...Jeff K. > > > > You don't 'have it wrong'. Your understanding of this concept is as > good as any, and better than most - but I again want to emphasize > that whatever that understanding is, it is not relevant to zen. > > My 'understanding' of 'No Birth-No Death' is just what it says: > There is no such thing as 'Birth' or 'Death'. They are both just > concepts which attempt to characterize a begining of life and and end > of life. Life is not 'you', as in your ego, your sense of being or > sense of individualism. Ego and individualism, the subject-object or > me-you separation, are just illusions - dreams. Since life does not > begin at your birth, and does not end at your death, then what good > are these words? What do they mean? Birth-Death, No Birth-No > Death. You might also say 'No Good-No Bad', or 'No Me-No You'. None > of these things exist. There is only THIS! > > But again I want to empahsize that whatever MY understanding of this > concept is, it is not relevant to zen. > > Only THIS! And to experience THIS, you need only to meditate > (zazen). You don't need to UNDERSTAND anything. > > ...Bill!
Hello Bill, Thanks for your reply. I have come across the Zen view that, as you say, "you don't have to understand anything". Why, though, did Thich Nhat Hanh, a Zen Buddhist, deal with this "no birth-no death" in his book? The impression I got was that one should contemplate "no birth- no death" as a core concept of Buddhism. If it is a core Buddhist concept, is the Zen concept ("you don't need to understand")at odds with Buddhism? ...Jeff 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/ <*> Your email settings: Individual Email | Traditional <*> To change settings online go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/join (Yahoo! ID required) <*> To change settings via email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> 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/