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
it’s relevant here, and since I’d 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.  I’ve 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 shouldn’t sit zazen right now.  What do you recommend?”

Joshu replied, “Wash your dishes.”

…adapted from JOSHU’S”WASH 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!
 



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