So, you think 'The atom certainly existed long before humans came along to
"see" it.' Did it? That sounds like the old question of 'if a tree falls
in the forest and no one is there, is there a sound?'. I'd extend that
question to 'if there is no one there, is there a forest?, is there a tree?'
You're absolutely right about the masters warning us about the use of words.
That's one of the severe drawbacks about an internet forum such as this
where you're not only restricted to words, but worse yet only text. One
could argue that the birth of Zen Buddhism was when, according to the myth,
Gautama Buddha addressed his followers at Vulture Peak by just raising up a
flower. No words were necessary, and in fact Buddha probably knew his words
would have actually been a hindrance. Anyone who has gone through koan
study, even partially, has experienced this firsthand.
I also believe, as you, that spiritual experiences are exclusively
individual. Religions are usually a collective attempt to codify someone
else's experience in order to pass it along to others. This is also why I
insist that the zen (lower case 'z') I talk about is not a religion.
Buddhism is a religion, and Zen Buddhism is a subset of Buddhism. The zen I
talk about is not a subset of Buddhism but a superset or an essence which
can be found in most all religions.
Still hungry for dessert? I'll get back into the kitchen and see what I can
whip up. In the meantime you can prepare for that by taking the time to
WASH YOUR BOWLS!
From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 8:52 AM
Subject: [Zen] Re: 2009 Best Way Pledge
Glorious Good Evening Bill!
You certainly live up to your name. Your post is absolutely delicious!
--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> In a recent post you wrote:
> >I do disagree with Bill's point that Zen has always
> >stood alone and that other beliefs have tried to
> >incorporate it, I believe it is the opposite, Zen
> >has been isolated from Zen Buddhism and incorporated
> >into other people's beliefs. Or something like that.
> This is an important point to me so I'd like to try to clarify it.
> If zen is indeed a 'direct experience of reality', then the
> that experience that has existed 'forever', or at least as long as
> (self-aware) beings have existed. This experience certainly pre-dates
> Siddhartha Gautama Buddha. That is why I say 'zen' pre-dates Buddhism,
> Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc...
This must be so, how could it be otherwise? Reality has always been
there, has it not? I would go so far as to say reality pre-dates
sentient beings, that must be so too. I hope Edgar can contribute
something of his physics knowledge to this point. But for the mean
time I'll give it a try... The atom certainly existed long before
humans came along to "see" it. That's kinda' what I mean.
> I don't believe that 'other beliefs' (religions) have tried to
> it (zen)'; I believe a direct experience of reality (zen) is the
> all these other beliefs, and that the differences we see today are
> different culturally-based terms used to describe this experience,
> and lots of extraneous add-ons.
> For example when I read the Bible I interpret accounts of directly
> communicating with God (like Moses) or with the Archangel Gabriel (like
> Mohammed), or the experiences Jesus had after fasting for 40 days in the
> wilderness as equivalent to the Japanese Zen Buddhist term 'satori'. I
> believe these are accounts of people directly experiencing reality,
> trying to describe it in the best way they could.
The problem with this is words, language. Don't the old masters warn
us about the use of words? Not once, not twice, but many times? Don't
they tell us zen is not something that can be expressed or understood
with words, that zen is something that must be EXPERIENCED DIRECTLY. I
know in my own case this is true, I trust the old masters on this
point. What I have written here is a good description of my
experience, but it really only conveys less than one tenth of.
> When Jesus says, 'I am
> the Way, the Truth and the Light; and no one can come to the Father
> me', to me he is saying 'I am not 'me' any longer. I am no longer
> man, I'm the way, the truth, the light. I am no longer under the
> have a self that is different and separate from other beings and other
> things. I am no longer under the delusion of duality. 'I' cease to
> There is Only THIS. 'I' am my experience, nothing more and nothing
> And having this experience (direct experience of reality - zen) as I
> is the only way for you to 'come to the Father' (come home, return
> origin, realize your Buddha Nature, become enlightened).
Jesus also said, I am of the Father, AND SO ARE YOU.
To me Jesus was saying 'If I can do it, if I can experience it, so can
The other thing is, I agree with Jung- this is not something that can
be taught by religion or psychology or even zen masters. While it is
an ability or a potential all sentient beings share, it is a DEEPLY
individual thing. This is why religions "fail". As Jung put it,
"Collective (cultural) methods don't work for individual situations."
There are no "saviors". Each individual must find his or her own way.
And it doesn't matter how people get there, as long as they get there.
> This is what I believe because I do believe most of the major
> started with good intent, and since I don't believe in actual
deities I can
> only assume the impetus for all of these is from the same source:
> a direct experience of reality - or what I choose to call zen.
I agree wholeheartedly. It's what I've been trying to express when I
talk about the compassion that is a natural outgrowth of Satori. Once
you've had it, it is such joy and freedom, you want to share it. Then
you realize you really can't. You realize it can't be taught, you
can't show someone how to do it. All you can do is support them and
maybe help them find a way that will work for them and celebrate with
them if and when they do find it. I think the major religions were
good-intentioned efforts to help people get there, but were destined
to fail before they started because each individual is different.
> All of this is just a comforting thought for me. It's not really
> in the long run. It's just a way I've found to rationalize other
> without completely negating them.
Your post is definitely a bull's eye. Absolutely scrumptious. If this
is dinner I can't wait to see what you've cooked up for desert.
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