Tag Archives: buddhism

Free Play At Bat

Actions have consequences. Skilful actions have beneficial consequences. Patient, enduring effort in skilfulness of body, speech and mind brings about spiritual progress. Patient, persistent effort in ethics, meditation and study brings about spiritual growth. Patience is a Perfection (paramita) because it is an aspect of Reality, an aspect of Wisdom. The Wisdom of Enlightenment is expressed in the concept of the law of conditionality. The law of conditionality states that everything arises in dependence on conditions. Spiritual progress too arises in dependence on conditions, and in the absence of those conditions it does not arise. We need to patiently and persistently create and put in place the conditions for spiritual growth to arise. This is in accordance with the law of conditionality. – Ratnaghosa

Free Play 8-21_0099

After seven weeks that saw seven games decided by seven runs, the regression shifted. A rout was evoked. This is in accordance with the law of conditionality.

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Eternal Returns

FreePlay-April2416

(Me.) Just hit the ball to me for a change, bro, I mean hit it so I don’t have to move. Thanks, bro.

Mark Sr. showed up for the first time in several years, and in his first at-bat struck a line drive into the right center field gap, and loped around the bases for a legit home run. Welcome back.

Tom, our eldest elder, exacted a heavy price out of the left side outfielders, who had decided to cheat in a bit too much. His two run single was the hit of the game from this observer’s perspective.

Everybody worked to Make Free Softball League Great Again.

What is happiness, and how can we all get some? Biochemist turned Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard says we can train our minds in habits of well-being, to generate a true sense of serenity and fulfillment.

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Moral Perception

Paysage avec Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil - Nicolas Poussin -  1658

Paysage avec Orion aveugle cherchant le soleil – Nicolas Poussin – 1658

What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology? Jay L. Garfield (excerpt from Engaging Buddhism: Why it Matters to Philosophy

It is hard to avoid the conclusion that perception itself is morally charged. If I see women as tools, or Latinos as fools, the damage is done. That perception involves the formation of intentions that are morally problematic on their face, and that lead to harms of all kinds. Perceiving in that way makes me a morally reduced person. If, on the other hand, I perceive people as opportunities to cooperate, or to provide benefit, I perceive in a way that involves the construction of morally salutary intentions, good on their face, and productive of human goods. For this reason, much Buddhist ethical discourse eschews the articulation of duties, rules or virtues, and aims at the transformation of our mode of perceptual engagement with the world. Moral cultivation, on this view, is the cultivation of a way of seeing, not in the first a instance a way of acting.

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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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Teaching Cartoon: Principles

teaching cartoon

It would be, of course, much better, if this occasion were celebrated with no talk at all, and if I addressed you in the manner of the ancient teachers of Zen, I should hit the microphone with my fan and leave. But I somehow have the feeling that since you have contributed to the support of the Zen Center, in expectation of learning something, a few words should be said, even though I warn you, that by explaining these things to you, I shall subject you to a very serious hoax. Alan Watts

bonus:

Alan Watts .com
Alan Watts. org
Alan Watts Facebook
Alan Watts Seminar Series (iTunes-$19.99)

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Enlightenment, Now and Later

are-we-there-yet

enlightenment-cartoon

bonus:

From the 1960 season of Alan Watts‘ KQED television series, Eastern Wisdom & Modern Life

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Teaching Cartoon: Something

teaching cartoon

sources
(1) Miles Davis | (2) Ellen Degeneres | (3) William Hamilton | (4) Keiji Nishitani | (5) Chuang Tzu |
(6) Alan Watts (taken from You Don’t Have to Be Buddhist to Know Nothing, Joan Konner, ed.)

What can we learn from Buddhist moral psychology?
via OUPBlog | Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World

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Relishing the Friend

The-Exo-God-sm

The Exo God, S.Calhoun 2014

Rumi: “ The cup wants to be lifted and used, not broken but carried carefully to the next. The cup knows there is a state for you beyond this one that comes with more vast awareness. The cup looks still but acts in secret to help. Sometimes you pour cup to cup, nothing happens. Pour instead into your deep ocean self, without calculation. If eyesight blurs, use a railing to follow.”

So another way that we limit ourselves or contain ourselves, is through being useful. It’s another way that we keep our rim dry, to take a utilitarian view of the spiritual life, when what we’re really trying to do is way beyond any kind of usefulness in the ordinary sense of the word. So Bhante talks about this in ‘Wisdom Beyond Words’ as the greater mandala. And it’s really, I means it’s just pure genius this chapter on the greater mandala which some people don’t know about, I think. So if you’re interested do look that up.

So he talks about this greater mandala, and he says that the Bodhisattva operates within this greater mandala. It’s a mandala of relishing, of enjoying, of taking delight, it’s a mandala of aesthetic appreciation.

Vajradarshini: “Kavyasiddhi what are you doing today?”

Kavyasiddhi: “Well Vajradarshini I’m mainly just relishing people, taking delight, and enjoying what arises, within that I will be, you know, earning money, washing my clothes, having a run, but that’s by the by really.”

excerpted from the excellent essay, We Have A Huge Barrel of Wine But No Cups  by Vajradarshini Audio Available at: http://www.freebuddhistaudio.com/talks/details?num=OM779

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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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The Primacy of Experience

The body of research undertaken to date is compatible with the position that the “feeling of authorship” is a conscious sensation that is, in principle, no different from the feeling of seeing the color red or smelling a rose. What are its neuronal correlates? What are the functional and neuroanatomical links between the brain centers that initiate action and those networks that generate the feeling of authorship? Would such a neuronal mechanism, if understood, resolve the apparent conflict between the hypothesis that the universe is causally closed and a psychological sense of freedom (“I am the author of my own actions”)? To what extent might bottom-up accounts of causation for such actions within the brain and nervous system be modified by top-down influences, for instance, expectations? How can higher levels of integration and personal volition—the subject’s beliefs, hopes, purposes, and desires—be said to initiate action? And, more generally, how might physicalist frameworks for top-down causation be conceptualized in the first place?

Furthermore: How can convictions about the possibility for self-actualization be squared with ideas of ‘causal closure’? Are such philosophical or scientific ideas based on compelling interpretations of the implications of physical science? Were there to be no such thing as actual libertarian free will, can there be actual, philosophically coherent, moral responsibility? Can non-reductive physicalism, affirming both the reality of the mind and the thesis that every physical event has a physical cause, break the logjam philosophically and possibly point towards fruitful new research agendas in neuroscience? How does contemporary philosophical theology engage with this area of inquiry in the neurosciences and in the philosophy of mind? What is the status and shape of active contemporary debates in philosophical theology that pertain to questions of volition and causation? Top Down Coordination and Volition – Templeton.org

Evan Thompson

embodied-Mindbetween-ourselves
Cornerstones

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How Fire Is Made


Alan Alda and The Center for Communicating Science for creating such an educational and creative venue!

Thus I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Gaya, at Gayasisa, together with a thousand bhikkhus. There he addressed the bhikkhus.

“Bhikkhus, all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?

“The eye is burning, forms are burning, eye-consciousness is burning, eye-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

“The ear is burning, sounds are burning…

“The nose is burning, odors are burning…

“The tongue is burning, flavors are burning…

“The body is burning, tangibles are burning…

“The mind is burning, ideas are burning, mind-consciousness is burning, mind-contact is burning, also whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with mind-contact for its indispensable condition, that too is burning. Burning with what? Burning with the fire of lust, with the fire of hate, with the fire of delusion. I say it is burning with birth, aging and death, with sorrows, with lamentations, with pains, with griefs, with despairs.

“Bhikkhus, when a noble follower who has heard (the truth) sees thus, he finds estrangement in the eye, finds estrangement in forms, finds estrangement in eye-consciousness, finds estrangement in eye-contact, and whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful- nor-pleasant that arises with eye-contact for its indispensable condition, in that too he finds estrangement.

“He finds estrangement in the ear… in sounds…

“He finds estrangement in the nose… in odors…

“He finds estrangement in the tongue… in flavors…

“He finds estrangement in the body… in tangibles…

“He finds estrangement in the mind, finds estrangement in ideas, finds estrangement in mind-consciousness, finds estrangement in mind-contact, and whatever is felt as pleasant or painful or neither-painful-nor-pleasant that arises with mind-contact for its indispensable condition, in that too he finds estrangement.

“When he finds estrangement, passion fades out. With the fading of passion, he is liberated. When liberated, there is knowledge that he is liberated. He understands: ‘Birth is exhausted, the holy life has been lived out, what can be done is done, of this there is no more beyond.'”

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were glad, and they approved his words.

Now during his utterance, the hearts of those thousand bhikkhus were liberated from taints through clinging no more. link-accesstoinsight.org


Richard Feynman

How Fire Is Made Ahmed el-Bedavi (d. 1276), founder of the Egyptian Bedavi Sufi Order. Retold by Idries Shah. “Tales of the Dervishes“

Once upon a time a man was contemplating the ways in which Nature operates, and he discovered, because of his concentration and application, how fire could be made.

This man was called Nour [Light]. He decided to travel from one community to another, showing people his discovery.

Nour passed the secret to many groups of people. Some took advantage of the knowledge. Others drove him away, thinking that he must be dangerous, before they had had time to understand how valuable this discovery could be to them. Finally, a tribe before which he demonstrated became so panic-stricken that they set about him and killed him, being convinced that he was a demon.

Centuries passed. The first tribe which had learned about fire reserved the secret for their priests, who remained in affluence and power while the people froze.

The second tribe forgot the art and worshipped instead the instruments. The third worshipped a likeness of Nour himself, because it was he who had taught them. The fourth retained the story of the making of fire in their legends: some believed them, some did not. The fifth community really did use fire, and this enabled them to be warmed, to cook their food, and to manufacture all kinds of useful articles.

After many, many years, a wise man and a small band of his disciples were traveling through the lands of those tribes. The disciples were amazed at the variety of rituals which they encountered; and one and all said to their teacher: ‘But all these procedures are in fact related to the making of fire, nothing else. We should reform these people!’

The teacher said: ‘Very well, then. We shall restart our journey. By the end of it, those who survive will know the real problems and how to approach them.

When they reached the first tribe, the band was hospitably received. The priests invited the travelers to attend their religious ceremony, the making of fire. When it was over, and the tribe was in a state of excitement at the event which they had witnessed, the master said: ‘Does anyone wish to speak?’

The first disciple said: ‘In the cause of Truth I feel myself constrained to say something to these people.’

‘If you will do so at your own risk, you may do so,’ said the master.

Now the disciple stepped forward in the presence of the tribal chief and his priests and said: ‘I can perform the miracle which you take to be a special manifestation of deity. If I do so, will you accept that you have been in error for so many years?’

But the priests cried: ‘Seize him!’ and the man was taken away, never to be seen again.

The travelers went to the next territory where the second tribe were worshipping the instruments of fire-making. Again a disciple volunteered to try to bring reason to the community.

With the permission of the master, he said: ‘I beg permission to speak to you as reasonable people. You are worshipping the means whereby something may be done, not even the thing itself. Thus you are suspending the advent of its usefulness. I know the reality that lies at the basis of this ceremony.’

This tribe was composed of more reasonable people. But they said to the disciple: ‘You are welcome as a traveler and stranger in our midst. But, as a stranger, foreign to our history and customs, you cannot understand what we are doing. You make a mistake. Perhaps, even, you are trying to take away or alter our religion. We therefore decline to listen to you.’

The travelers moved on.

When they arrived in the land of the third tribe, they found before every dwelling an idol representing Nour, the original fire-maker. The third disciple addressed the chiefs of the tribe:

‘This idol represents a man, who represents a capacity, which can be used.’

‘This may be so,’ answered the Nour-worshippers, ‘but the penetration of the real secret is only for the few.’

‘It is only for the few who will understand, not for those who refuse to face certain facts,’ said the third disciple.

‘This is rank heresy, and from a man who does not even speak our language correctly, and is not a priest ordained in our faith,’ muttered the priests. And he could make no headway.

The band continued their journey, and arrived in the land of the fourth tribe. Now a fourth disciple stepped forward in the assembly of people.

‘The story of making fire is true, and I know how it may be done,’ he said.

Confusion broke out within the tribe, which split into various factions. Some said: ‘This may be true, and if it is, we want to find out how to make fire.’ When these people were examined by the master and his followers, however, it was found that most of them were anxious to use firemaking for personal advantage, and did not realize that it was something for human progress. So deep had the distorted legends penetrated into the minds of most people that those who thought that they might in fact represent truth were often unbalanced ones, who could not have made fire even if they had been shown how.

There was another faction, who said: ‘Of course the legends are not true. This man is just trying to fool us, to make a place for himself here.’

And a further faction said: ‘We prefer the legends as they are, for they are the very mortar of our cohesion. If we abandon them, and we find that this new interpretation is useless, what will become of our community then?’

And there were other points of view, as well.

So the party traveled on, until they reached the lands of the fifth community, where firemaking was a commonplace, and where other preoccupations faced them.

The master said to his disciples:

“You have to learn how to teach, for man does not want to be taught. First of all, you will have to teach people how to learn. And before that you have to teach them that there is still something to be learned. They imagine that they are ready to learn. But they want to learn what they imagine is to be learned, not what they have first to learn. When you have learned all this, then you can devise the way to teach. Knowledge without special capacity to teach is not the same as knowledge and capacity.”

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What Remains

Mountain


SCalhoun – Mountain

Zazen on the Mountain

The birds have vanished down the sky.
Now the last cloud drains away .

We sit together, the mountain and me,
until only the mountain remains.

Li Po (701-762 )

 

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The Top Trap

Vajrayogini-0762
Vajra Yogini
vajrayogini2005A

Take the story of Milarepa. He was told by Marpa that he could leave his guru and go back to his home. He had finally been accepted by Marpa, who had made him his chief disciple and an important person, the only son of the lineage. Milarepa was completely fine, feeling extremely good. Then he went back to his family home and everything was ruined, com- pletely destroyed. That kind of mishap is always apropos of the Practicing Lineage, once you begin to have any association with the lineage. Milarepa found his house ruined, his mother enskeletoned inside. Nobody had even
conducted a funeral service for her. His father was long dead, and his aunt and uncle and everybody were up in arms and there were no friends-none at all. It was like returning to a completely haunted house, like the haunted house in Disneyland. Everything is seemingly shrieking and haunting. Of course, for Milarepa this was not regarded as a ride, like in Disneyland. In Milarepa’s case it was real.

One shrieking situation after another shrieking situation, one haunted situation after another haunted situation takes place because you are on top of situations. We would like to come face-to-face with a ghost. We hear stories about ghosts, and we would like to find out whether ghosts actually exist or not. I f you are in a playful mood, ghosts don’t appear, because they are not interested in haunting you at that point. Ghosts are only interested in haunting you when you are in a transitional period or else when you are on top of the situation. On the other hand, we are not talking about the reality of ghosts here. We don’t want to get back into that psychic phenomenal world. That’s another waste of time, of course. But ghosts will come to us. They come to you. Chogyam Trungpa

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Living In the Material World

Giant Buddha

via Mother Nature Network Too Beautiful to Be Real? 16 Surreal Landscapes Found On Earth

Longchenpa: You take what you need, images, offerings,
Books, cooking gear, whatever, and stay in solitude.
Right now you have it all together but later difficulties and disputes arise.
Don’t need anything – that’s my sincere advice.

‘So careful of the type?’ but no.
From scarped cliff and quarried stone
She cries, ‘A thousand types are gone:
I care for nothing, all shall go.

‘Thou makest thine appeal to me:
I bring to life, I bring to death:
The spirit does but mean the breath:
I know no more.’ And he, shall he,

Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair,
Such splendid purpose in his eyes,
Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies,
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,

Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation’s final law?
Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed?

Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills,
Who battled for the True, the Just,
Be blown about the desert dust,
Or seal’d within the iron hills?

No more? A monster then, a dream,
A discord. Dragons of the prime,
That tare each other in their slime,
Were mellow music match’d with him.

O life as futile, then, as frail!
O for thy voice to soothe and bless!
What hope of answer, or redress?
Behind the veil, behind the veil.

Canto LVI In Memoriam
Alfred Tennyson

Initiatory experience is present in this very moment and nothing can be done to facilitate its advent. Any kind of preparation or fore-practice muddies the waters in its assumption of a goal to be reached. Access to the clarity and the zing of reality, on the contrary, is more likely to be found in an innocent pristine mind that has not been conditioned by the cultural and religious assumptions of a “sophisticated” tradition. Purity of karma, putative rebirth, degree of meditation-concentration, facility in visualiza- tion, levels of attainment, and so on, are all issues pertinent to acceptance and success within a hierarchical cult wherein a particular ideal form of social and psychological behavior is a goal to be achieved; but to the form- les s experience of Dzogchen such considerations have no relevance. Striv- ing in any kind of preparatory endeavor is an exercise in shooting oneself in the foot, or at least running after a mirage. In fact, to reach the point of relaxation in the moment that provides intimation of rigpa, nonaction is the sole precept. This perspective in radical Dzogchen is exclusive to those who have no need or inclination to exchange their inbred cultural norms and mores for those belonging to a more exotic or “spiritual” tradition, or to reject their cultural legacy and educational conditioning in an effort to change their psychological make-up. Recognition of our lived experience, jus t as it is, in its miraculous immediacy and beauty, without any yen for change, is the praxis of radical Dzogchen, and belief in personal develop- ment and improvement, progress toward a social ideal, moral evolution of the species, and so on, is deviation from the pure pleasure of the unthought timeless moment. (Keith Dowman) from Natural Perfection. Longchenpa’s Radical Dzogchen – Translation and Commentary by Keith Dowman

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MY ONE FAN

I checked my Technorati profile and discovered there–lo and behold–that someone had self-selected to be a fan. Alan has his own blog and it gets updated with about the same frequency as Explorations does. His blog http://milindasquestions.com has one more authority point than I do. I consider his blog to be akin to a sister city and I defer to his greater authority.

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IN AND OUT OF DA HEAD

excerpt

Human beings have a tendency to ‘live in their heads’. This phrase covers several facts. First, men have a tendency to overtheorize. Some things are ruined by too much thinking on them, things which are essentially matters of experience. What is more, almost anything can be source of immediate experience, and so almost anything is vulnerable to ruination by too much theorizing. The second fact is this. Such theorizing usually presents itself phenomenologically as internal verbalization, and the internal verbalization often insinuates itself between ourselves and the thing experienced. This is how the thinking interrupts experience and how it leaves us with only our verbalizations. This leads to the third fact: when our theoretical internal verbalization is interposed between ourselves and external things, the object of our awareness becomes ourselves. It is we who are doing the theorizing, and to be aware of the theoretical verbalizing is to be aware of ourselves. This state of mind is undesirable, for it is a commonplace that our happiest moments come when we are not conscious of ourselves, and that most forms of consciousness of self are baneful. It is hard to say why this is so; perhaps the resources of a self are much more limited than the resources of the world, so only an object-directed consciousness can satisfy the human appetite for variety.

The disadvantageousness of this state leaves us with a problem: how can a man with a propensity for injecting his theorizing between himself and the world be coaxed out of doing this? I would suggest that this is the problem the Zen master is addressing, and the koan is his answer. One technique is out; ironically, the very technique I’ve been using. It does no good to mount an argument about the disadvantages of living in one’s head. This would be one more theory, one more verbal construction for the unenlightened to interpose between himself and the world. The activity has got to be halted, and what the Zen masters realized is that it can’t be halted by arguing, however subtly and cogently, that it has got to be halted.

The point of the koan, then, is to halt living in one’s head by presenting inescapably candidate objects for immediate experience. The objects are presented in contexts normally reserved for verbal theorizing, since the abrupt shift of context makes them perspicuous. Thus, when the student

is lost in a cloud of metaphysics surrounding the One, the master turns his attention to a robe. He turns the student’s attention: he doesn’t say “Your attention would be better spent on a robe, for by seeking fulfillment in speculation you are like a dog chasing its tail in the hope of nourishment.” This is an interesting argument, and the odds are the student would pursue it. The Master shows without saying the advantages of experience. He could in fact do this by adverting to a river or a fox; he could clout the student. Anything would do – that is what is insightful about Cheng’s principle of ontic substitutability.

It supports this view of koans that Professor Cheng himself sometimes hints at Zen’s emphasis on immediate experience without developing the implications of his hints. He says in a footnote that the principle of ‘contextual demonstration’, closely allied to ontic substitutability, could also be called the principle of experiential reconstruction “as it is intended to indicate the fact that after ontological reduction reality will be experienced in whatever way it happens to be experienced” (102). This latter, I have argued, is nearly the central point of the koan. How “reality will be experienced in whatever way it happens to be experienced” follows upon ontic reduction is something Cheng does not tell us. I suspect the cited passage reflects Cheng’s awareness that the ‘principle of experiential reconstruction’ has a much more central place in Zen Buddhism and the institution of the koan than he is in a position to allow, and he tries to make it follow from the principle he has construed as the point of the koan. But it will not follow, so far as I can see, and this suggests that Cheng has erred in his extraction of principles from the koan.

Comments on the Paradoxicality of Zen Koans
By Michael E. Levin
The Journal of Chinese Philosophy
V. 3 (1976)
pp. 281-290

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PROCESSING TIME

The students in the monastery were in total awe of the elder monk, not because he was strict, but because nothing ever seemed to upset or ruffle him. So they found him a bit unearthly and even frightening. One day they decided to put him to a test. A bunch of them very quietly hid in a dark corner of one of the hallways, and waited for the monk to walk by. Within moments, the old man appeared, carrying a cup of hot tea. Just as he passed by, the students all rushed out at him screaming as loud as they could. But the monk showed no reaction whatsoever. He peacefully made his way to a small table at the end of the hall, gently placed the cup down, and then, leaning against the wall, cried out with shock, “Ohhhhh!”

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MAKE THYSELF A SPY FOR THE SERVICE OF OTHERS

The Mahayana Ideal
By constant use the idea of an “I” attaches itself to foreign drops of seed and blood, although the thing exists not. then why should I not conceive my fellow’s body as my own self? That my body is foreign to me is not hard to see. I will think of myself as a sinner, of others as oceans of virtue; I will cease to live as self, and will take as my self my fellow-creatures. We love our hands and other limbs, as members of the body; then why not love other living beings, as members of the universe? By constant use man comes to imagine that his body, which has no self-being, is a “self;” why then should he not conceive his “self” to lie in his fellows also? Thus in doing service to others pride, admiration, and desire of reward find no place, for thereby we satisfy the wants of our own self. Then, as thou wouldst guard thyself against suffering and sorrow, so exercise that spirit of helpfulness and tenderness towards the world….

Make thyself a spy for the service others, and whatsoever thou seest in thy body’s work that is good for thy fellows, perform it so
that it may be conveyed to them. be thou jealous of thine own self when thou seest that it is at ease and thy fellow in distress, that it is in high estate and he is brought low, that it is at rest and he is at labour….

Edwin A. Burtt. The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha. p.140.

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OLD BRANCHES IN NEW CUPS

A monk asked Kegon, “How does an enlightened one return to the ordinary world?” Kegon replied, “A broken mirror never reflects again; fallen flowers never go back to the old branches.”

Zen joke from: Lighter Side of Zen Buddhism:

Q: What did one Zen practitioner give to another for his/her birthday?

A: Nothing.

Q: What did the birthday boy/girl respond in return?

A: You are thoughtless for giving me this meaningless gift.

To which the giver replied, “Thank you.”

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