Category Archives: zen

The Plan

ABC from Alan Warburton on Vimeo.

An old Zen master always told this fable to unserious students: Late one night a blind man was about to go home after visiting a friend.

“Please,” he said to his friend, “may I take your lantern with me?”

“Why carry a lantern?” asked his friend.

“You won’t see any better with it.”

“No,” said the blind one, “perhaps not. But others will see me better, and not bump into me.”

So his friend gave the blind man the lantern, which was made of paper on bamboo strips, with a candle inside. Off went the blind man with the lantern, and before he had gone more than a few yards, “Crack!” — a traveler walked right into him. The blind man was very angry.

“Why don’t you look out?” he stormed. “Why don’t you see this lantern?”

“Why don’t you light the candle?” asked the traveler.

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Silence, Healing

Heraclitus Throws Down

Failure does not matter in life. To a progressive person even a thousand failures do not matter. He keeps success before his view, and success is his even after a thousand failures. The greatest pity is when life comes to a standstill and does not move any further; a sensible person prefers death to such a life. (Pir Inayat Khan)

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Today, You Called

the-way-of-zen-cats

zen_dogballf

Bumper sticker: DOGS HAVE MASTERS, CATS HAVE STAFF

Alan Watts

KizzyOct2015

Kizzy, here she is.

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And I mean every last round bit of it.

OneDaySon

(Gaston Bachelard, the phenomenology roundness; in: Poetics of Space) I should like to give an example of an image that is outside all realistic meaning, either psychological or psychoanalyti­cal.

Without preparing us, precisely as regards the absolute nature of the image, Michelet says that “a bird is almost completely sphericaL” If we drop the “almost,” which mod­erates the formula uselessly, and is a concession to a view­ point that would judge from the form, we have an obvious participation in Jaspers’ principle of “round being.” A bird, for Michelet, [Jules Michelet, L’oiseau, p. 291.] is solid roundness, it is round life, and in a few lines, his commentary gives it its meaning of model of being.1 “The bird, which is almost completely spherical, is certainly the sublime and divine summit of living con­centration. One can neither see, nor even imagine, a higher degree of unity. Excess of concentration, which constitutes the great personal force of the bird, but which implies its extreme individuality, its isolation, its social weakness.”

In the book, these lines also appear totally isolated from the rest. One feels that the author, too, followed an image of “concentration” and acceded to a plane of meditation on which he has taken cognizance of the “sources” of life. Of course, he is above being concerned with description. Once again, a geometrician may wonder, all the more so since here the bird is considered on the wing, in its out­ of-doors aspect, consequently, the arrow figures could accord
here with an imagined dynamics. But Michelet seized the bird’s being in its cosmic situation, as a centralization of life guarded on every side, enclosed in a live ball, and consequently, at the maximum of its unity. All the other images, whether of form, color or movement, are stricken with relativism in the face of what we shall have to call the absolute bird, the being of round life.

The image of being-because it is an image of being­ that appears in this fragment by Michelet is extraordinary for the very reason that it was considered of no significance. Literary criticism has attached no more importance to it than has psychoanalysis. And yet, it was written, and it exists in an important book. It would take on both interest and meaning if a philosophy of the cosmic imagination could be instituted, that would look for centers of cos­micity.

h/t Mike Dickman for sharing the cartoon on FB

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By Nothingness to Nirvana, Beyond Contrivance

Road to Nirvana

I have finally found myself compelled to give up the logic, fairly, squarely, and irrevocably. It has an imperishable use in human life, but that use is not to make us theoretically acquainted with the essential nature of reality. Reality, life, expedience, concreteness, immediacy, use what words you will, exceeds our logic, overflows and surrounds it. -William James

Kagyu Refuge Tree

The central teaching of the Karma Kagyu is the doctrine of Mahamudra, also known as the “Great Seal”. This doctrine focuses on four principal stages of meditative practice (the Four Yogas of Mahamudra):

The development of single-pointedness of mind,
The transcendence of all conceptual elaboration,
The cultivation of the perspective that all phenomena are of a “single taste”,
The fruition of the path, which is beyond any contrived acts of meditation.
[Wikipedia]

The “ambiguity” in the sense of the indeterminacy or vagueness that permeates our existence in the world derives from the “ambiguity” of our embodied being in the sense of its irreducibility either to the transparency of self-consciousness or the inertia of matter. – Nabuo Kazashi

Highly recommended: The Social Self in Zen and American Pragmatism. By Steve Odin. (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.)

by the same author: Whitehead & Ethics in the Contemporary World (pdf)

Philosophy of Nothingness and Process Theology – Yutaka Tanaka (pdf)


quotes from secondary source:
The Varieties of Pure Experience: William James and Kitaro Nishida on Consciousness and Embodiment
Joel W. Krueger

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Teaching Story – The Great Warrior

Kabuki symmetry

Kabuki Warrior (S.Calhoun-2014)

There once lived a great warrior. Though quite old, he still was able to defeat any challenger. His reputation extended far and wide throughout the land and many students gathered to study under him.

One day an infamous young warrior arrived at the village. He was determined to be the first man to defeat the great master. Along with his strength, he had an uncanny ability to spot and exploit any weakness in an opponent. He would wait for his opponent to make the first move, thus revealing a weakness, and then would strike with merciless force and lightning speed. No one had ever lasted with him in a match beyond the first move.

Much against the advice of his concerned students, the old master gladly accepted the young warrior’s challenge. As the two squared off for battle, the young warrior began to hurl insults at the old master. He threw dirt and spit in his face. For hours he verbally assaulted him with every curse and insult known to mankind. But the old warrior merely stood there motionless and calm. Finally, the young warrior exhausted himself. Knowing he was defeated, he left feeling shamed.

Somewhat disappointed that he did not fight the insolent youth, the students gathered around the old master and questioned him. “How could you endure such an indignity? How did you drive him away?”

“If someone comes to give you a gift and you do not receive it,” the master replied, “to whom does the gift belong?”

from: Zen Stories to Tell Your Neighbors

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Calvinist Influences on Conceptions of Happiness

three types of happiness

(This is from my collection of weird graphics purloined from google image searches.)

Never mind the apparent category error given a time scale of one sort and a positional reference–‘time flies’–to a time scale of a different sort, this graphic offers a principled reduction in its second order, and, then offers an ethical injunction in its third order.

Another happy dog

What connects happiness with another ethical injunction, one that could be implied by my new version of the graphic.  The injunction is attributed to Gautama Buddha: “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

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Zen Story: Cyclin’

Japan Bike Style

src: http://www.selectism.com/news/2009/12/02/stephen-crawford-japan-bicycle-chic

A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”

The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!” The teacher praised the student, saying, “You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do.”

The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.” The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”

The third student replied, “When I ride my bicycle, I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher gave praise to the third student, “Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”

The fourth student answered, “Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.” The teacher was pleased and said, “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”

The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle.” The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, “I am your disciple.”

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Teaching Cartoon. Top This

Top This 1

(source: Zen Forest Sayings of the Master, complied by Soiku Shigematsu)

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