Ed, The one constant theme that runs through your comments below is that prior to kensho (glimpsing Buddha Nature) it is okay to engage in intellectual activities that you think help you understand zen.
Zen is not something you can understand. You can form concepts and opinions about zen, but they are not zen. Any attempt to understand zen at best will be unhelpful, and at worst will be misleading and detrimental. A few posts ago I posted comments that I labeled as logical and alogical. The alogical comment was actually not presented alogically. It was a logical presentation of the concept of something alogical. Since its relevant here, and since Id also like to correct that error on my part, I now present an alogical response to your comments post below. It can also be directed at Mike's recent comments on the same subject. It is a paraphrasing of a story of an excellent alogical response given by an historical zen master: Ed approached Joshu in all earnestness, I want to practice zen. Ive read many books on zen, meditation and consciousness. I keep up-to-date on all the latest discoveries in the realm of physiology and psychology that relates to zen. Please give me instructions. Joshu asked, Have you eaten your lunch yet? Ed replied, Yes I have. I just got up from the table, and I know from my studies that when I eat my body redirects a large portion of my blood to my digestive system and that results in decreased ability to concentrate, so I probably shouldnt sit zazen right now. What do you recommend? Joshu replied, Wash your dishes. adapted from JOSHUSWASH YOUR BOWLS, Case 7 THE GATELESS GATE Bill! From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of ED Sent: Sunday, October 24, 2010 8:39 PM To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com Subject: Re: [Zen] Zen and the Brain --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <billsm...@...> wrote: > Mike, You bring up some important points to which I want to respond: [Mike] Well, I can't speak for others, but this zen practioner finds such articles both interesting and helpful. [Bill!] I can understand that, but interesting and helpful for what? Certainly not for your zen practice. [ED] Prior to kensho, for some minds, expending much time and effort on zazen, based on an act of faith is not an option. [Mike] Science helps us get down to the 'nuts and bolts' of how and why things are what they are. [Bill!] Science is just another worldview, and it's viewpoint is no more valid than any other worldview. [ED] That's one POV. [Bill] It does help you create concepts of WHY and WHAT things are, but all these are illusions. [ED] That's your assertion, belief, POV or experience, but not everybody's. [Bill] The 'nuts and bolts' are fantasy (concepts) but very important for science because science focuses on deconstruction. It is based on believing nothing exists as a whole in and of itself, but everything is just a compilation of other things. [ED] That appears to be similar to or identical with the Buddhist 'Emptiness' conception. [Mike] I'm not completely *all* for the jettisoning of the more traditional/arcane side of Zen and meditation (I also like the gongs and incense etc), but an understanding of what physically/mentally happens to us as a result of meditation weakens the grip of the supernatural/esoteric aspects sometimes afforded to Zen/zen. [Bill!] I am for jettisoning ALL the traditional/arcane side of zen, and all the other unnecessary layering that serve only to further obscure Buddha Nature. These unnecessary layers include supernatural/esoteric layers, AND scientific explanations. There is no difference. Layers are layers. Some are just more fashionable at certain times and in certain circles than others. [ED] I am for demystifying zen, so that practitioners (prior to kensho) possess an understanding of what zen is about and why they expend so much time and effort sitting on a zafu, sometimes in much pain. [Mike] If we think, and appreciate, that science has helped us debunk most religious dogma and superstition, then I find it hypocritical to not turn the light of science on zen. [Bill!] Science has merely replaced religious dogma and superstition. You seem to have the idea that science shows us ultimate 'truth' rather than just being another perspective on truth (reality) based on what we perceive to be probabilities. Logic is not truth. Rationality is not truth. Buddha Nature is truth because it is pure experience. [ED] Regardles of what science, truth and rationality are or are not, if they assist the practitioner, prior to kensho, to persist in his/her practice, that's all that matters. [Mike] Or perhaps we'd secretly like to keep zen "cool and mysterious"... ; ) [Bill!] Zen might be thought of as 'cool', but it's certainly not at all mysterious - and you know that as well as I do. [ED] Zen may not be mysterious to some, but can be as mysterious to most as are the monotheistic religions! __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5558 (20101023) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com __________ Information from ESET NOD32 Antivirus, version of virus signature database 5560 (20101024) __________ The message was checked by ESET NOD32 Antivirus. http://www.eset.com ------------------------------------ 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! 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