You stated causality exists, and you confirmed that the relationship that
causality defines is between events.  This is a rational assertion.  My
questions were to show you that there is no rational defense of the concept
of events, and in the absence of asynchronous events, and following your
definition, there can be no causality.  As far as I'm concerned this case is
closed unless you can come up with a stronger rational definition of

You can of course, if you choose, quickly discard your lab coat of
rationality and don your robes of zen.  Presto change-o.  An act of pure
alchemy.  That works.  Or of course you can just opt out of the discussion.
After all, who can compete with such powerful arguments as 'illusions aren't
real but rules governing illusions (causality) are', or  speculating that
the other party is a 'successful businessman who has never been hit by a
bus'.  What more is there to say?

For no reason...Bill!

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] On Behalf
Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 7:42 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com; [EMAIL PROTECTED]
Subject: Re: [Zen] Causality

Hi Bill,

Funny, I'm looking around me and don't seem to be snared in any illusory
semantic traps. All there is is the morning light on the Autumn leaves!

I think it's you who are snared in your own elaborate semantic net here but
out of Bodhisattva compassion I'll descend reluctantly to the realm of
illusion to help untangle you! :-)

All the many questions you ask are answered simply by science and common
sense which describe causality in the realm of material things, i.e. the
rules that govern the manifestations of illusion. Who can say why they
exist, all we know is that they do, and they govern the world of illusion.
That just needs to be accepted. When we deal with that world we must follow
its rules. Just because it is illusion doesn't mean it doesn't obey rules.
As a successful businessman and a man who has gotten out of the way of
oncoming buses for half a century, you have been living by those rules all
your life and know them well. Impossible to deny them now. Zen accepts life
in the realm of illusion. Though some minor illusions may vanish with
enlightenment, the basic illusions of existence remain. The method of Zen in
daily life is not to make all illusions vanish but to see and experience
them as illusion and deal with them in accord with the causal rules which
govern them but with the source of our action rooted directly in the Tao
rather than in particular illusion forms such as desires or imaginary

That is Zen in daily life. Deeper Zen with fewer illusions manifest in
deepest meditation when all that remains is pure consciousness itself devoid
of content in the eternally present moment. And finally there is  the
vanishing of all illusion at death, the Nirvana of nonbeing, when even
consciousness and the present moment vanish.


On Oct 14, 2008, at 7:00 AM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:


Thanks. I was expecting (hoping) your answer would be 'events'. So now
that you've fallen into my trap I'll proceed knocking off all your pawns,
knights, castles, bishops, and finally your queen before I move on to

Please define 'event' for me, such as:

Are there multiple events or only one?

If there is only one event, how is any relationship possible?

If there are multiple events, are these events synchronous, asynchronous or
perhaps there are instances of each?

Do events have duration?

If not, then I assume all events are synchronous - all are happening at once
- NOW! If so, how can there be any causality?

If you claim events have no duration but are asynchronous, what separates

If they do have duration and are asynchronous...

Do all events have the same duration, or are some events longer than others?

How can you determine when an event starts and ends?

How do you know when one event ends and different event starts?

If, as you claim, that some events are in a causal relationship with

Are only some events in causal relationships, or do all events have causal

If some events do not have causal relationships, how did they come into
being if they were not an effect of a proceeding event?

If all events have a causal relationship....

Do they have causal relationships with only some other events, or all other

If all events have a causal relationship with only some other events...

Can they have a multiple causal relationship threads with multiple events,
or only a single causal relationship thread with a single event?

How do you determine if there is a causal relationship between events?
(This is a BIG question.) Is there a causal relationship just because you
notice it, or is it a real relationship that exists independent of you, the
observer, and your self-interests, prejudices and predilections?

If all events have a causal relationship with all other events (like Indra's
Web, or the chaos theory 'a butterfly flapping its wings in Brazil it part
of the cause of a thunderstorm in China', or your references to 'ripples in
the Tao'), how can you assign any particular event to have been the cause of
any other event. In this case designating any preceding event as a cause is
as good as another.

In your example of the hitting-the-big-toe event causes the feeling-of-pain
event, you left out a lot of intermediate events. Hitting the big toe
crushes nerve endings, that causes an electrical impulse to go out over the
nerve fibers, up to the nearest ganglia, then to the spinal cord, then to
the brain itself which has to then translate the impulse into a feeling of
pain. And even this doesn't include all the countless events involved in
each and every electron changing polarity all the way up the nervous system
to provide the electrical impulse at the brain. Are all of these events a
chain of causal events? And if so can't you keep going down farther and
farther until you VIRTUALLY have an infinite number of events in this casual
chain? (...assuming as you do that the universe and reality is made up of
quanta) And if you do why can't you just view these as REALLY an infinite
number events which means they are not a chain of events at all, but one
single eternal 'event'. (...assuming as I do that the universe and reality
is actually analog). 

Okay, those are my moves. By my calculations you still have your queen
left, but it's seriously on the run. It's your turn now...Bill! 

Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 8:32 AM
Subject: Re: [Zen] Causality


I'm in general agreement close enough to continue. I agree with you that in
some sense both the hammer smashing your toe and the pain in your toe are
illusions, but my point is that they are consistently related. One follows
inevitably upon the other in all normal circumstances. That's causality.
It's the rules that govern the realm of illusion, the realm of forms.
Because something is ultimately illusory doesn't mean it follows no rules
and is totally random and arbitrary. Quite obviously the daily world of
illusion follows the rules of common sense and science as they describe
particular causes and effects (though not scientist's views of ultimate
reality of course where Zen is correct).

The 'things' that stand in causal relationships are particular form patterns
abstracted or discriminated from the whole flow of process or Tao. It is
particular form patterns which do in fact tend to occur in repeating causal
sequences and that facilitate effective volition in the world of forms. (By
that I mean that organisms discriminate forms whose causal patterns they can
understand so as to be able to function successfully in the world of forms.
E.g. If a hammer hits my toe I feel pain, therefore I don't hit my toe with
a hammer.) Those 'things' are normally referred to as 'events' of course.


On Oct 13, 2008, at 8:28 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:


Thanks for your response, although it's far from satisfying for me. I could
go on with this discussion from the exchanges below, but I think we've
started in the middle and both have a lot of assumptions that we may not
fully share. If we're going to have a discussion on causality, and I hope
we are, I'd like to get a clarification from you before we start:

Causality to me is a term for the concept of cause and effect. I believe
cause and effect is illusory and you are stating that it is not. You say
the our concept of cause and effect is a reflection of a mechanism of cause
and effect that exists in what you've referred to as the real physical
world. Causality presumably describes a specific type of relationship. A
relationship implies that there are at least two 'things' to relate.
- Do you agree with the above three sentences? If not, how would you define
- If you do agree, or agree close enough to continue, what would you call
these 'things' that allegedly have a cause and effect relationship?


Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 7:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness

Hi Bill,

Great questions.

Take a hammer and whack your toe. I guarantee it will hurt like hell.
Causality is proven. QED. Doesn't matter whether you have satori or not.

The point is that the world of forms, of illusion, does obey consistent
rules, causality among them. Just because the physical world is illusion in
an ultimate sense and merely empty forms doesn't mean that it doesn't
operate according to consistent rules. The fact that the hammer hurts both
my and your toe means that the rules are shared to some extent, that we have
similar, but certainly not identical, cognitive constructs of the physical
world. Therefore we can assume that the physical world may in fact exist
independent of both of our existences though we can never experience that

Yes, the cognitive constructs of consciousness are what illusion is, just
another name for the same thing from a different perspective.

Yes, our concept of causality is a construct of our consciousness, but it is
our consciousness' approximation of actual physical laws of the physical
universe, at least that is where the consistency of the cognitively
constructed world in my mind leads me. When I drop that I just experience
without the causal thought net overlay. That is Zen.

Confusing and contradictory certainly and thus the Zen adage that,
'Illusion, when seen as illusion, is reality.'


On Oct 12, 2008, at 10:07 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>


In your post below you stated:
>Causality though does exist and provides the rules which make
>our conscious perspectives and material world view cognitive
>constructs consistent. Thus causality does govern what happens
>in the world of forms.

Why are you so certain that causality does exist and operates according to
some kind of rules? What kind of rules could those be? Universal rules?

You stated our concept of the material world, the world of forms, is
observer dependent and 'simply a cognitive construct of our consciousness'.
What is the difference between 'cognitive construct of our consciousness'
and illusion?

In either case, if our concept of the material world is a construct of our
consciousness, why wouldn't you believe our concept of causality is also
only construct of our consciousness; and the supposed rules which in fact
are the defining factors of causality (along with the concept of time) are,
if not completely observer dependent, at best species and perhaps even
socially/culturally dependent, and ultimately illusory? 

This is closer to what I believe...Bill!

Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness


Not quite. What I'm saying is that consciousness and the material world are
identical. Consciousness is observer dependent perspectives on the material
world from the POV of particular observers and events. Each of these
consciousnesses is all that exists for the particular observer (all is
consciousness only). Our concept of a material world is simply a cognitive
construct of our consciousness, however that construct seems consistent and
sharable thus we may assume it has an independent existence beyond our
particular consciousness though we of course can never actually confirm that
because we can never step outside of consciousness.

Not easy to explain or perhaps understand.

To address your questions: Replace Karma with causality. Karma has moral
implications that are unsubstantiated. Causality though does exist and
provides the rules which make our conscious perspectives and material world
view cognitive constructs consistent. Thus causality does govern what
happens in the world of forms.

As to when we die, the answer is that when you die your consciousness stops
and your body decays (my perspective). On the other hand I can never
experience death since death is the end of experience.

Hope that helps,

On Oct 11, 2008, at 11:00 PM, Anthony Wu wrote:

Thank you.
You seem to say that the world is nothing but universal consciousness.
Material objects and all kinds of living beings are just manifestations
(contents) of the universal consciousness. Maybe I am wrong, but that is an
interesting philosophical discussion.
Whether or not it is relevant to zen, I would like to know the practical
aspects of your theory:
-   Does karma work in the universal consciousness, or whatever you call it?
-   When we die, do we just merge into the universe and lose our individual

--- On Sun, 12/10/08, Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness
Date: Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 7:46 AM

Well not quite. Personal consciousness is associated with material beings
and disappears with the dissolution of the material form. However if you
read my paper http://EdgarLOwen. com/HardProblem. pdf you will see that my
view is that everything, that is the entire material world, is in fact the
same experiential 'stuff' of consciousness that is the same 'stuff' of human
consciousness just in a different form particular to the material it is
associated with. I.e. a human has human type contents in this consciousness
stuff and a molecule has molecule type contents of it. That's probably not
very clearly stated but the idea is that the interaction of all matter with
other matter amounts to matter's experience of matter which is what the
causal process of reality that continually flows through the present moment
with clock time is. That same flow is experienced as human consciousness by
humans, and mouse consciousness by mice as the details, the contents of
consciousness, depend on the different biological and cognitive structures
of mice and men while the phenomenon of consciousness itself as opposed to
its details is common to both mice and men, and in fact everything in the

So the contents of consciousness will be different for each being and the
contents are the forms that arise in consciousness itself which are
illusion. Whereas consciousness itself, that in which the contents of
consciousness arise is the same for everything in the universe. It is simply
the physical reality of the present moment. So tuning into the pure
consciousness itself, devoid of its contents, is Zen, or satori since the
content forms which are the veils of illusion are no longer present and do
not distract from consciousness itself.

But of course the contents do persist in the material world and so the trick
is to continually recognize these contents for what they are, contents of
pure consciousness, ripples or disturbances in the field of consciousness
itself, so that one doesn't get entangled in the individual forms but always
sees them as contents of the underlying pure consciousness itself. The forms
themselves have no real substance since they are just ripples or
disturbances in what would be the perfect stillness of consciousness itself
devoid of any forms or ripples.

Hope that makes it a little clearer.

As to the OBE, I really haven't felt I had to explain it. It was just
something that happened. In my view it is a fundamental mistake to think
consciousness is located or centered in the physical body, since everything
we see and experience is actually happening in our own head and the idea of
an individual 'self' is just a cognitive construct, so that cognitive
construct can subjectively locate its concept of observer anywhere it wants,
at least temporarily. In that view 'our' consciousness continually pervades
everything that we experience to its furtherest boundaries. Since all that
is experienced is consciousness, consciousness must then be antecedent to
the division between self and not self.

Remember the furtherest boundaries of the horizon are simply our retinas
inside our eyes, and the whole world exists in the nigredo of our brains
(the black obsidian crystal ball which we wish to turn into a perfectly
clear crystal ball brain - unconsciousness into consciousness) , but of
course that means our eyes are the sky and our consciousness in our brains
pervades the entire universe.

Thus the Zen adage: "Awaken the mind, while dwelling nowhere." Which means
wake up and recognize that consciousness is not centered anywhere but
everywhere and transcends the distinction between self and world.


On Oct 11, 2008, at 5:58 PM, Anthony Wu wrote:

Hi Edgar,
I keep an open mind. In your view, does consciousness just disappear, when
we die?
You seemed to say you had an OBE in Japan. How do you explain that based on

--- On Sun, 12/10/08, Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED] net> wrote:
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED] net>
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness
Date: Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 3:23 AM
Thanks Margie,

Your comments or questions would be welcome.

Much appreciated,

On Oct 11, 2008, at 9:55 AM, roloro1557 wrote:

Hi Edgar-

I am still reading HardProblem - I'm on page 10. So far it is
wonderful! :-)

Margie (roloro1557)

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FROM: Over the hills and far away... . .
Don't be an observer of life. Be life. T'ao Shan
OldWomansZenChronic les.blogspot. com

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