Bill!, [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. I see my zen practice as a 24/7 thing (including the fast amounts of time when I'm caught up in my thoughts/desires and aversions - coming back to 'the now' is an indispensible part of the practice) and so I include everything in my practice. An understanding of what happens physiologically is not essential to my practice, but is IMHO useful in grounding the practice of people starting off in Zen away from all things ethereal and metaphysical.
[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. It does help you create concepts of WHY and WHAT things are, but all these are illusions. 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. I don't think science has an aversion to unity and maybe the deconstruction process is essential to discover the underlying unity of everything - just as zazen can be a deconstruction of the layers that obscure Buddha Nature. Each layer is an illusion, but needs to be seen for what it is before it is let go of. Science, or at least the natural sciences, castegorises things out of a convenience for research (think of the vastness of each discipline) and not because there is no connection. [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. I don't believe science shows us the ultimate 'truth' because we can't even define it in the first place. Is it even an objective 'truth'? Never the less, I'd still argue that the scientific method takes us closer to a stripping of the superflous, supernatural dressing of zen which does more to obscure zen than anything else. True, rationality and logic aren't truth, but they are easier tools to work with cutting the path and are easier to put down when the Truth is (re)discovered. [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. Only when you've passed thru the gateless gate and met Buddha eyeball to eyeball can you say such a thing... Hmm, maybe poetry and literature are better tools for expressing zen?..... ; ) ...Bill! Mike