Edgar, (The ILLUSARY Edgar) Thanks for your post and your considered remarks.
As a result of your post I have changed my idea about the meaning of the words 'emotions' and 'feelings', at least the way I use them. This all has to do with, as you've also pointed out, the connection with 'self'. If there is a self to connect with, the experience is an observed experience. The self, in order to be an observer, separates itself from the experience and gives the experience a name (sad/happy/angry) and a quality (good/bad). These are emotions. Because these are observed they are subject a timeframe (more self illusion), emotions can change. There can be prior, current and future emotions. If there is no self, the experience is a direct experience. Because there is only the experience (no observer), there is no name and no quality. The experience is reality and nothing else exists. These could also be called feelings: undifferentiated, unclassified, unfiltered, unadulterated experience. Because direct experience is not subject to a timeframe, it is all that exists. It is JUST THIS! ...and nothing has ever happened prior, nor will anything ever happen subsequently. Just THIS! Only THIS! Thanks for the seed crystal that prompted me to better express this understanding (feeling). ...Bill! From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Edgar Owen Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 8:20 PM To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Zen] zazen Hi Bill, Yes, this one is the real me. What a humorous concept since of course there is no me to begin with! Thanks for your very open and considerate response. It's a pleasure to find someone who is so non-judgmental and willing to actually consider every idea on its merits rather than according to some rigid programmed mentality. To my mind there is nothing better than having one's beliefs intelligently challenged. After all that is how I can learn things I didn't know before and 'poof' away another illusion. As to emotions and thoughts I think we are both saying things that are correct but a little different in approach and I think there is an important point hidden in the difference. It has to do with the connection between emotions and thoughts, and the difference between emotions and 'feelings'. In almost all cases emotions and thoughts are continually intertwined. E.g. one has a sad thought (loss of a friend) and then feels sad, that sad feeling then engenders more sad thoughts, and one feels even sadder, and on and on it goes. That kind of emotion is the kind of emotion I was referring to as one of the veils of illusion that keep us from seeing reality directly. After all the loss of the friend is now in the past and thus no longer a part of reality. Thus the sadness can be released merely by letting go of it and the thoughts that perpetuate it. Both those thoughts and the sadness caused by thoughts rather than reality are illusions. Almost all emotions are like this - they are the result of thoughts rather than actual here-now occurrences. I would say 99% of emotions moment by moment have no connection with anything actually present in the reality of the here-now. In this view 99% of emotions can be vanished just by not indulging in them, not perpetuating them, letting go of the thoughts that engender them and turning the mind elsewhere. The soap opera vanishes if one just ignores it. Now let's consider sadness at the actual loss of a friend as the friend sickens and dies. This kind of emotion is an actual visceral reaction to an actual here-now situation in the reality of the moment. Or is it? In one sense yes, but it depends entirely on how we view reality. Being sad at seeing a friend suffering and dying really depends on thoughts as well, but thoughts that are hidden deeper in one's basic internal world view. That sadness is a response based on first seeing the friend as a separate being rather than as part of the continuous protoplasmic exchange of the universe, it depends on seeing death as something unnatural and not the natural fate of all compound entities, and it depends on attachment, the attachment one has to that friend. At some level all these are illusion and impediments to enlightenment, and we can easily find confirmation of this in a number of Zen writings. If one really experiences oneself as being the entirety of reality rather than a separate being, then there can be no attachment to a separate being that does not actually exist. On the other hand we can complete the circle and recognize our biological being trapped in human form as a creature that naturally forms social bonds and feels sadness at the loss of friends. In other words we can experience that happening as part of reality without seeing the world through that sadness. We experience the sadness, but we don't see reality through that sadness, we see the sadness as part of reality. So basically it depends on who the 'I' is, and where it positions itself relative to thoughts and emotions. Inside them looking out is not enlightenment. Now I realize there is some contradiction here, but contradiction is part of reality.... Edgar On Aug 19, 2008, at 9:20 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: Edgar, (The REAL Edgar) Thank you for your post. I accept with relief your explanation of the TEST OF CHARACTER post. At first I thought it was from Charlie Cruller who occasionally submits outlandish posts to presumably try to goad the members into rude replies. I was very surprised when I double-checked the author and found it was not Charlie but you. I'm was having difficulty resolving the juxtaposition between your very knowledgeable and insightful posts with that other drivel. I'm happy to see your explanation. Don't ever worry about 'criticizing my views personally'. All my views are personal, but I am not inseparably attached to them. I'm also not easily offended, and if I do read something and feel offended, I know that is my shortcoming not yours, and is something I need to address within myself. I have always thought of rationality and emotions differently. I think that is because when I sit shikantaza (clear mind) and loose my sense of self, my rational mind melts away but my emotions are still present. I think of rationality as something I DO (with the emphasis on I), while emotions are something that just IS, without any relationship to self. You are absolutely right, however, about not becoming attached to either, but of course attachment can only occur in the presence of self. I have the same association I have with emotions that I have with other bodily states like hunger, tiredness, pain, etc... I put emotions in this same general category, but not intellect. I did like your reasoning in the second paragraph below. It has some very good points which I will have to think more about. (When I say 'think more about', what I really do is re-read the paragraph over and over, and then use my rational mind to pick it apart into its constituent concepts and relationships, and then just let the pieces 'lay there' spread out all over my mind as see 'how they feel'. Am I comfortable with all the concepts and especially the way you have connected them together? That's how I 'think more about' things.) Later...Bill! From:[EMAIL PROTECTED]:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Edgar Owen Sent: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 7:56 PM To:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Subject: Re: [Zen] zazen Bill, Thanks for your response. First I wasn't intending to criticize your views personally, I was simply discussing the issues, so don't worry about that. I don't make the distinction you do between thoughts and emotions. Both just are, and as such are part of reality, both can be seen as what they are, veils of illusion, or the world can be experienced through them, from inside them, in which case the nature of things is not clearly seen. Let me clarify a little. True as you say that sad is sad, sad just is. That is not in question. The distinction I wanted to make is that one can simply experience the emotion of sadness as passing by, or one can become attached to it and have it color and distort one's whole world view. That is the distinction, but the distinction is the same for thoughts as well. One can simply experience a thought passing by in the mind, or one can become attached to that thought and keep adding thought after thought after thought to it so that one's mind is in the thoughts rather than in the world, and the world is seen only through the thoughts, not directly. Just as the emotion just is, so the original thought just was, and one can become attached to either the thought or the emotion, or one can just experience them and let them go. Same same. Glad you agree with the transmission paragraph. I've had some really crazy arguments on that one, especially with those who have strong sect attachments. Best, Edgar On Aug 19, 2008, at 7:49 AM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: Edgar, Thank you for your post. I disagree with several points of the first paragraph of your recent post attached below. First of all I DO include intellect in the category of maya - illusion/not real. Intellect arises AFTER experience of reality, and creates dualism which then distorts and misrepresents all experiences. I DO NOT, however, believe emotions are illusory. They are real, they are reality. They do not distort experience. They are experience. Sad is sad. Happy is happy. This is not illusion. Sad just is. I do however agree with you (in your last two difficult but important sentences in that first paragraph) that both rationality (the product of intellect) and emotions need to be taken 'as is', and not given undo importance. They just are. They're no big deal, and certainly not the be-all and end-all of reality. Second of all I don't equate zen and satori. I define 'satori' as a 'small or first breakthrough', a first glimpse of reality unfiltered through intellect. It is short-lived and temporary. I believe there is more to zen then just that. I do include satori as part of zen, but believe zen practice starts before satori, continues on after satori as cultivation and complete integration of buddha mind into your life (or you could say becoming completely absorbed into buddha mind), and culminates in the realization that zen practice, satori, buddha mind, and everything else associated with this is all maya - illusion. There is after all only THIS! I do agree however with the second paragraph of your post which correctly calls me on my use of the word 'transmission'. I am guilty of just regurgitating popular, but inaccurate, terms used in describing zen. As you've pointed out there is nothing transmitted. There is only a realization or discovery. I agree with the all the rest of that paragraph. Thanks...Bill! From:[EMAIL PROTECTED]:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Edgar Owen Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 6:25 PM To:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Subject: Re: [Zen] zazen Bill, Good post with which I'm pretty much in agreement. Zen, or satori, is certainly nothing above anyone's head as it is the natural state of all being. Satori is simply a matter of looking and seeing what is actually there right now unmediated by intellect or emotion - but that is with a caveat since one also must realize that intellect and emotions are part of that reality. The trick is to see them for what they are rather than seeing the world through them. In other words satori involves recognizing that illusion is part of reality, but seeing the illusion as illusion rather than taking it for reality. I do have a little quibble with the notion of 'transmission' however. In reality enlightenment is never transmitted from a teacher to a student. The realization of the student is always entirely his own, the teacher merely directs his attention to that realization which he already had but hadn't yet realized. The only really legitimate use of the term 'transmission' in Zen is the transmission of the worldly authority to head a sect or temple from one head to the next, but that is politics not Zen. Edgar On Aug 12, 2008, at 11:01 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote: Sean, I think the fundamental meditation practices of both zen and Vispassana Buddhism are the same. There is a zen saying that when you're meditating and thoughts appear, you should treat them like you would treat a visitor knocking on your door while you are busy doing some important task. You should answer the door and acknowledge the visitor, tell him that you are busy right now but assure him that he is welcome to come back later - but above all, no matter how tempting, you DO NOT invite them in for tea and conversation. 'Non-verbal' transmission has to do with the way zen is taught. It especially concerns how the actual experience of Buddha Mind is passed between teacher and student. The basis for it comes from the story of how Siddhartha Buddha passed on his enlightenment to one of his disciples during a teaching session at Vulture Peak. Instead of preaching to the multitudes assembled, Siddhartha only held up a flower. Mahakashyapa smiled and Siddhartha knew that he now understood. The point of the story and the term is that experience of Buddha Mind cannot be transmitted via words, spoken or written. The act of understanding words and the concepts they represent will not lead you to experiencing Buddha Mind. The actual experience is indescribable and any attempt to do so is not only ineffectual, but usually misleading and can in fact be counterproductive. That leads me into the last sentence of your post. Zen is not 'ABOVE your head', as some eclectic knowledge that you can't understand. Zen in fact is very, very simple, so simple that it exists everywhere all the time unnoticed. Zen has nothing to do with your head at all, as in your intellect or any type of rational thinking. Zen is unfiltered, unadulterated, direct and immediate experience of reality, which can only be done in the ABSENCE of your intellect which creates all dualism, including the concept of self. When you stop your intellectual (rational) processes you will lose your sense of self and all dualism. It is then and only then that you will be able to experience Buddha Mind, which has been there all along hidden behind all the rational static. Zazen is the only thing I know that can help you do that, although there are other techniques such as bowing or chanting that can reportedly bring you to the same place. IMNSHO, I think all religions were initially established to bring you to this very point. Unfortunately all religions I know of have lost sight of that and instead have fallen back to stress rules and rituals. This is a good example of the saying 'Can't see the forest for the trees.' Enough for now. Thanks for your post. Please respond and let me know how you see things. In the meantime, JUST SIT! ...Bill! From:[EMAIL PROTECTED]:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf Of Sean Lukens Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 3:32 AM To:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Subject: [Zen] zazen Hi Bill, I agree with your description of the two practices. Yes, I do differentiate non-grasping and repressing or avoidance, although when I find myself avoiding something I will sometimes label it as such - "avoidance" - and then let go of that internal process. I am new to the conceptual practices of Zen, so ideas such as "non-verbal transmission" are still above my head. Maybe some things Zen will always be "above my head." Thanks for your input. Sean ----- Original Message ---- From: Bill Smart <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> To:[EMAIL PROTECTED] Sent: Tuesday, August 5, 2008 10:53:17 PM Subject: [Zen] Re: zazen Sean, Sorry for the tardy reply, but I did not get your posting via email as I normally do. I logged into the site today and saw your post. I am not an expert in Vipassana, but I do live in Thailand where Vipassana is widely practiced and have spent a short time at a Vipassana training center and believe I do have some knowledge of it and its teachings. Your description of Vipassana meditation, '...sitting and not grasping any thoughts, emotions, experience, etc,...', is also completely applicable to zazen. I think it is important, however, to emphasis that 'not grasping' does not mean 'rejecting' or 'avoiding'. 'Not grasping' means 'not holding onto', or 'not forming attachments to' thoughts, emotions, experience, etc... >From my experiences and observations the major differences between Vispanna and zen are in the rites and rituals, rather than the meditation. Also, as far as I can tell Vipassana does not recognize mind-to-mind (non-verbal) transmission which goes to the core of zen teaching. Hope this helps. Let me know what you thnk. ...Bill! ------------------------------------ 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/