--- On Tue, 11/1/11, SteveW <eugnostos2...@yahoo.com> wrote:
S: Hi Mel.
S: Subject and object are conceptual constructs that are inter-dependant and
relative to one another.
S: It is meaningless to say that some object exists if it is not ever
MEL: Yes. However, to say so may not be needed. We watch in silence, and just
S: 'Exists' just means 'perceived'.
WARNING: Because of the nature of language of the current post, I may or may
not understand quite a fair bit. For future reference, it may be helpful to put
everything in just plain English, and to forget about mystical, esoteric, or
metaphysical explanations which those of low education may or may not
understand(eg. myself)...which is why I asked for daily activities to
illustriate a theory. Zen and daily life are inseparable. And now I continue to
S: By the same token, if there were no objects of perception, including mental
objects such as thoughts, then subjective awareness could not be aware of
itself, could not be aware that it existed as such.
MEL: As long as one is breathing(eg. in zazen), one will always be aware of the
'small' Self irrespective of what's out there
S: The subjective ego-self is just a conceptual boundary line that does not
really exist as such.
MEL: Ideally, yes. This 'self' is only a temporary object of existence...or at
least that's what they teach in Zen. There may be moments when the living may
have such moments, but not all the time. Unfortunately(or otherwise), Homo
Sapien has too many in-built sensors and other bells and whistles which will
always lead this creature to dualistic thinking, which is opposite of the ideal
S: Observe this curved line: ( . Is this curved line concave or convex?
It is both and neither.
MEL: Yes, but it could also be outside that line of thought. You described it
as a line, but how do we know it's not something else? Is it made up of one
thing, or many? Plural, or singular?
S: The Flower Garland Sutra says that everything exists as a reflection of
MEL: Yes, although I am personally ignorant of sutras and have no desire to
approach them(I've gone that way already..no thanks..)
S: In order to see ourselves as subjective ego-selves we must draw boundary
lines that do not actually exist.
MEL: But...why even bother to make an effort to see ourselves as anything at
all? If I'm going to cook, I will not utter to myself....
..'Ok, here I am. I exist, and therefore I will cook. Here are the knives, and
I say that because they're there'....
S: All of this is just conceptualization and, as such, is not Zen, just
Idealistic Buddhist philosophy (Yogacara, Vijnanavada, Cittamatra).
MEL: I can see that(*grin/smiles*). A part of me says.....
...'There are 2 people here, and they may be talking to each other in 2
Nevertheless, I'm doing what I can here even if it's doing my head in at the
S: Zen wants to capture life as it actually happens. In the actual moment of
any experience, such as hearing a bell ring, there is no conceptual division
between subject and object.
MEL:...How true...so true....
S: Only later (a split-second) do we conceptualize about our memory of the
experience and thereby divide Just This into subject and object.
MEL: Yes, and no. Not necessarily when we're doing activities one after the
other, and it also depends on one's mindfullness for each moment. For example,
I was working with bomb detonators and shell-casings(for bullets) by checking
them for quality. The machine belt was coming too fast, and I certainly had no
time for those I rejected for quality purposes and would therefore not waste
time thinking on them. After all, production quotas, targets, and/or schedules
must be met
On a slow day however, such as walking along the beach, I may every once in a
while check what I may have passed or even thought of(shells, beautiful women,
the waves, beautiful women, women, women...ahhh... the list goes
S: In the moment of experience, before deciding whether the curved line is
concave or convex by positioning a subject on one side and an object on the
other, we are the totality of the experience. In the case of the ringing bell,
we ARE the ringing.
S: A split-second later, we conceptualize a subject that experiences an object,
and then decide whether we like the object or dislike it.
MEL: Steve, I admire your fervor, but don't you think that may be taking things
too far? Me? I see, decide...and then gone. Zooomm!! Onto other matters.
Breaking down thinking to minute details..well..I don't know...butttt I also
have been told(rightly, or wrongly) that I myself do think too much as well.
However, it's sometimes hard to hear things when the person giving advise is
controlled by his youthful desires(I'm middle-aged, and the 'wise' boy was
well...just a boy...)
S: Anyone who does zazen long enough realizes that consciousness is
discontinuous, that there are momentary gaps. This arises in consciousness and
MEL:...But conscious of what exactly?..The only thing I'm conscious of in zazen
is the breathing(if at all), and constant streams of thoughts..which we all let
go of course
Straight spine/posture, breath(normally)...that's all I do sitting on a chair
with hands on my knees(or thighs). Eyes half-closed and facing the wall.
Thought(s) come, thought(s) go..
That's my zazen
S: As the spotlight of attention rests here and there the skanda of samjna or
perceptual recognition arises to reinforce the feeling of being an ego-self in
relation to an object of perception.
MEL: Object of perception? I don't know about that one, because I don't 'see'
anything out there but the empty space during zazen, and I don't particularly
look for anything. Or perhaps you mean when I'm tired and I start to lose my
posture. Then yes, I would certainly be called to my 'small' Self at that moment
I don't know those Hindi/Indian words above, and I personally keep well away
S: But if one pays very close attention to the gaps in between perceptual
recognitions, one will rest in the awareness of no-self, before the boundary
lines are drawn.
MEL: The gaps don't matter. Just like thoughts, they come and they go. I don't
know about any boundary lines
S: In those moments we experience life as it really is, before we cut Just This
up into fragmented pieces and decide which pieces are agreeable and which are
MEL: I can't say I know anything about such during zazen. Breath,
posture...that's it...no goals, no ideas, nothing....
S: These momentary gaps can be seen at all times. Between one movement and the
next. Between one thought and the next. Between one breath and the next.
MEL: One followed by the other, but I don't know about the gaps during zazen
S: You must see this for yourself, and not just think about it. IMO.
MEL: You know, we probably basically agree on a lot of things. The only
difference would be how we each word ourselves. Me personally? I try not to get
too wordy, mystical, or metaphysical
S: Namo Amitabha!
MEL: I don't know what that is but it sounds good. If so, likewise buddy!
S: "All Buddhas and all sentient beings are no different from the One Mind. In
this One Mind there is neither arising nor ceasing, no name or form, no long or
short, no large or small, and neither existence nor non-existence. it
transcends all limitations of name, word and relativity, and it is as boundless
as the great Void.
S: Giving rise to thought is erroneous, and any speculation about it with our
ordinary faculties is inapplicable, irrelevant and inaccurate.
MEL:..Wellll...ideally, yes. At least that's what Zen teaches..
S: Only Mind is Buddha, and Buddhas and sentient beings are not different. All
sentient beings grasp form and search outside themselves. Using Buddha to seek
Buddha, they thus use mind to seek Mind. Practicing in this manner even until
the end of the kalpa, they cannot attain the fruit. However, when thinking and
discrimination suddenly halt, the Buddhas appear." -Huang Po
MEL: And this is partly why I don't look at the so-called Buddhist scriptures,
nor describe myself as...
- Zen Buddhist
- Mahayana Buddhist
- any plain old Buddhist something or another
I go to the bookstore, hit the Zen section, and pick what appeals according to
teaching or mode of language. One can rightly(or wrongly) say that the 'zen'
teachings I follow are wrong interpretations. People could also say that Zen
was a big lie, and was never part of the old man's teachings. Nevertheless, I
pick the source material. Is it authentic? Who knows? As I said in another
post, the writings came up so many ages after the old man died. If someone can
give me absolute fool-proof proof..
(*laughter*...every once in a while I do 'butcher' the English language to
carry a meaning through)
....of what the old fella actually dictated to a scribe(if such an event was
even possible), then I'd be interested in looking at such
Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are
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