Hi Margie,

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.

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 etc.

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.


----- Original Message ----
From: roloro1557 <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, 15 October, 2008 18:53:57
Subject: [Zen] Re: TNH - Fifty Verses of the Nature of Consciousness.  Part 4, 
Sense Consciousness

Hi Mike,

My understanding is that zen is not a philosophy (intellect) nor a
religion (psychology) . It's something else, in a "category" by itself.
As someone not unfamiliar with both philosophy and religion, I agree. 

I agree with you about intellectual head candy, and I think a little
goes a long way. (I liked the poetry!) 

Alan Watts (in one of his books, sorry I don't remember which) talks
about 'zen without buddhism'. Carl Jung talked about how zen and other
asian disciplines, philosophies, etc, could be dangerous for
westerners. Watts talked about the phenomena of the "private buddha"-
someone who has a zen experience that blows their mind, and it stays
blown, they don't or can't come back to 'regular' reality. To me what
they are talking about is the realization that there's no real
meaning; the meanings we assign to everything is just one huge house
of cards that tumbles down when the wind (a zen experience) blows.
Another way to say it is the realization that the meanings we assign
to things are completely arbitrary, and most are assigned by culture,
not ourselves. As Cleary said, "Zen applies directly to the
relationship between mind and culture itself, whatever that culture
may be." I don't know if I'm being clear. . .

This is where buddhism with its' precepts comes in?? I don't know
exactly what precepts you mean - I have heard there are only 3 and
also that there are over 500. But I assume you are talking about
things like 'no killing', 'no stealing', etc. I would assume the
function is to help keep people grounded after realization? ?

One other thing- I really have noticed that people of above average
intelligence are attracted to "zen without buddhism", so maybe the
intellectual head candy goes with the territory?? :-)

I'm really looking forward to your reply.

Margie (roloro1557)

--- In [EMAIL PROTECTED] ps.com, mike brown <uerusuboyo@ ...> wrote:
> Well said. I really do enjoy reading the intellectual 
> and metaphysical postings here, but at the end of the 
> day, that is all they really are - headcandy for the 
> intellect. That's why I guess I would call myself a Zen 
> Buddhist. The danger of trying to extract zen from Zen 
> Buddhism can lead to the charge that zen is nothing more 
> than an "intellectual exercise" ala JMJM. IMHO an 
> understanding of 'emptiness' without following the Eight 
> Precepts won't  lead to a self-transformation as deep as 
> following them. I don't remember who said it, but zen 
> without Zen Buddhism is like an alcoholic going to an AA 
> meeting in the morning and a cocktail lounge in the 
> evening.

------------ --------- --------- --------
FROM: Over the hills and far away. . .
Wisdom and compassion are inseparable.
OldWomansZenChronic les.blogspot. com



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