Hi Mike-

--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, mike brown <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> Thanks for your email. As always you write very eloquently. 
> I haven't read that in Alan Watts, but I think he's 
> absolutely correct. How many non-Buddhist Zen practitioners 
> do you know who look really good on paper, but if they get 
> a toothache or are criticised their whole 'house of cards' 
> comes tumbling down? I know quite a few.

Agreed:-) But to be fair, a rip-roaring toothache is enough to put
anyone off their game (seriously). Also I know lots of people who's
house of cards tumbles down under criticism, not just non-buddhist zen
practitioners. Criticism activates the insecurities and puts the ego
on red alert. I once knew a psychologist who talked about "belief
structures." He was fond of saying "The acronym for belief structure
is B.S., and we all know what B.S. stands for!" I think he had a good
point.

Ah yes, little ego, problem child. But I always try to remember the
ego has a lot in common with James Brown- the ego is the hardest
working part of the psyche. I try to remember that egos really do need
love and compassion too - even my own.

> Yes, the Eight Precepts are the 'standard' ones in 
> Buddhism. I'm not sure if they're used so much to keep 
> people grounded after realisation (zazen should be taking 
> care of that), but rather that it's difficult to sit in 
> meditation if you've just broken a precept (eg, stolen or 
> killed something). Similarly with the others (right thinking, 
> right livelihood etc) - it's difficult to mediatate or be 
> mindful if you've just sold drugs to a teenager or been 
> perving on your friend's husband/wife or gossiping about them 
> etc.
 
Is it difficult because of guilt? Or some other preoccupation with the
transgression? Yes, these questions are partly rhetorical, but they
are partly serious as well. It seems like a no-brainer to me that it
would be difficult to meditate or be mindful after killing something
or selling drugs to a teenager (and I'm not being a smart-alic), it
seems to me it would be hard to concentrate on much of anything. That
is, at least, for some people. 

That is the interesting thing about morals (precepts)- the people who
"need" them the most don't see any value in them or follow them.
Again, I'm not trying to be a smart-alic. I know many people (myself
included) who don't follow any precepts or other moral code that would
never sell drugs to a teenager or sleep with a friend's husband or wife.

On the other hand I can also see how precepts could be an aid to
mindfulness.

> To sit zazen as a regular practice and follow the precepts 
> (I believe) helps to transform the self andkeep it that 
> way. Enlightenment is a moment to moment 'experience' and 
> therefore it is easy to backslide back into samsara (for 
> want of a better word). I think many people have had a 
> glimpse of their true nature, but then make the mistake of 
> thinking that they now 'have it' permanantely. Ability to 
> write academic treatises about consciuosness, chi, time, 
> causality doesn't replace the need to periodically 
> sit zazen/shikentaza and just BE. This is where zen is 
> watered, nurtured and flowers. But just try and do this 
> if you don't at least try to follow the precepts. I hope 
> this made sense to you.

If what you are saying is that "enlightenment" is a process, I
wholeheartedly agree. The only difference is that I think there are
more ways to do the process than just zazen and precepts. I could very
well be wrong.

I should say now, I have a personal problem with religion. It's just
something that's not right for me. You seem quite sane and sincere and
I very much enjoy talking with you and hearing your point of view.

Margie (roloro1557)


--------------------------------------
FROM: Over the hills and far away. . .
Don't wobble. Yunmen
OldWomansZenChronicles.blogspot.com



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