Thursday, January 19, 2012

George Harrison Says "We Are Not These Bodies"


A reader in North Carolina asks:

Could you please comment on this quote, which Tom Petty attributes to George Harrison: "Look, we're not these bodies, let's not get hung up on that."


I'd be glad to! Because George Harrison is one of the key people in getting me into this whole Buddhist mess that I'm now inextricably mired in. I was a total Beatle geek by the time I was 15 years old and remain one to this very day. And since I'm a perverse weirdo sort of individual, many of my favorite Beatle tracks were the ones nobody else liked. I particularly dug the Indian-inspired tunes George contributed like Within You Without You , Love You To, The Inner Light and even Blue Jay Way. Hearing these songs and reading interviews with George really got me wanting to study Eastern mysticism in a serious way. Man, I even got into George's post-Beatle Krishna Consciousness nuttiness like Living in the Material World and one of my all time fave Hari albums, Dark Horse, which nobody else likes except my friend Lesa. Another all-time great George Harrison record is his production of the Radha Krishna Temple album on Apple Records.

In fact, when I signed up for Tim McCarthy's class on Zen Buddhism at Kent State University way back when, I'd actually been looking for something more like the kind of Hindu mysticism George was into. I settled for Zen Buddhism because it was the closest I could get.

By the time I started taking that class I was already well familiar with the oft-repeated phrase in Hindu mysticism, "we are not these bodies." It was even on the back of some Santana album I saw once as a quotation from Sri Chimnoy. His version went, "We are not these bodies, we are the spirit-soul that flies within."

I expected Buddhism would further elucidate this notion. But instead I clearly recall Tim saying once that it was closer to the truth to say "We are these bodies." That was a bit of a shock. He didn't say that was the truth, just that it was closer.

To say we are these bodies is wrong. But saying we are not these bodies is also wrong. It's like when you're arguing with someone and that person gets you into some hypothetical scenario that has nothing to do with the point you were trying to make. Then you find yourself arguing about something that has nothing whatsoever to do with what you wanted to say. The question does not fit the case. We're given a set of two exclusive options and asked to pick one or the other. Either we are these bodies or we're not. Philosophers and religious people have been going over and over and over with this debate for centuries. But Buddhism takes the stance that neither option is correct.

One time I was sitting listening to Nishijima Roshi give a lecture. I thought I'd figured his whole trip out. With his staunch denial of reincarnation and his very nuts and bolts approach about "the world as it is in front of us" I figured he was a pure materialist. I didn't like him much anyhow. But I went because it was a convenient place to practice zazen with a group. I was dozing off during one of his talks when he said, "The material world is an illusion."

Say what?

To me that sounded like the whole Hindu notion of "we are not these bodies." The Hiundus have a lot of mythology about how the material world is maya, or illusion, and the true substance of reality is pure spirit. But I already knew Buddhism rejected that idea. So here I was presented with the notion that the material world is illusion, and so is the spiritual world. What's left?

The answer is that no category or definition we can create to try and box up the real world we live in can suffice.

We are these bodies in the sense that what we are manifests as our bodily existence. We are our minds/souls in the sense that the mind's reality is the only one we ever really know. But neither is really us.

In the chapter titled Inmo in Shobogenzo Dogen said it like this: "We ourselves are tools that it (inmo, the ineffable) possesses within this universe in ten directions. How do we know that it exists? We know it is so because the body and the mind both appear in the universe, yet neither is our self. The body, already, is not 'I'. Its life moves on through days and months, and we cannot stop it even for an instant. Where have the red faces [of our youth] gone? When we look for them, they have vanished without a trace. When we reflect carefully, there are many things in the past that we will never meet again. The sincere (or pure) mind, too, does not stop, but goes and comes moment by moment."

So in a sense George was right. We're not these bodies. So let's not get hung up on that. But then again we are these bodies so it's impossible not to be hung up on that.

Take it away, George!

179 comments:

Al Kavadlo said...

This is one of my all-time favorite posts of yours, Brad! (Not that I've actually read every single one haha.)

Thanks again for all that you do!

Harry said...

Not one/ not two, but nearly one!

proulx michel said...

Yet, we are those bodies, and we are those minds. And we are neither. As a matter of fact, we only exist when we act. Which is the precise moment when both of them exist, not separated one from the other.

The other day, one of the practicioners held on to me that sitting is not acting, nor breathing! Such is our notion that "action" can only be the doing of some precise goal outside of ourselves...

(captcha: quenta. Valaquenta?

Steve said...

Dark Horse--one of my favorites as well, at least the song which I still have on 45rpm vinyl...

"We are spirits in a material world."
--the Police

Michael LaTorra said...

You hit the nail on the head, Brad. We are, and are not, these body-minds. No either/or question or answer does any good.

Harry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry said...

Michel,

The zazen etc types of 'action' can be seen to be at odds with what might usually be said to be 'acting' (i.e. acting intentionally in a self referential, willful way, for example); so it could be contextualised by saying that it is 'not acting' in that sense I reckon; and thus we get the instructions to sit and 'do nothing' seek to 'gain nothing' and construct nothing/ no-one.

However, zazen (or whatever clarifying act) is already an expression of a specific type of action/ intention, so there is indeed an actor 'holding up the head of Buddha'.

Master Dogen liked this latter positive sort of expression of it; and seemed to talk about it in terms of Self realising action ('the whole universe in ten directions is one human body' etc), but the negative position, of negating an erroneous view of 'self', seems to have its place too (even in Dogen's records).

It may be the difference between 'shunyata' or 'no-self' understood as a philosophical negation (not neccesarily incorrect or untrue if it's realised in context...) and this view contextualised by realising 'shunyata' or 'no-self' as an expressed intention through a real person's actions.

We can emphasise that both positions don't hit the mark (that we are/ we aren't our bodies) and take the aloof old deconstructive Zen position, or we can say that both positions are right when we realise them right, which is closer to the emphasis that Dogen often laid down (and I think that's very refreshing). And/Or we can say that the positions are both wrong and right... if Dogen proved anything it was that we needed get stuck in one old view of it.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

"To say we are these bodies is wrong. But saying we are not these bodies is also wrong."

Sandokai-Harmony of Difference and Sameness

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/zen/sandokai.htm

______________
confer
Heidegger on Sameness and Difference

http://secure.pdcnet.org/C12573EC00305125/file/9D829894C2E27D8585257486006B4920/$FILE/swjphil_1980_0011_0003_0107_0125.pdf
______________________
Great talks/mp3s about Sameness and Difference:

The Seer is Seen
Still
Grande finale


http://danielcoffeen.podomatic.com/profile?p=2

Khru said...

It was the sight of my naked body that drove Brian Wilson insane.

leoboiko said...

I don’t get it.

A.H. Jessup said...

A nice treatment. It is possible for that which is not matter to elect to identify with an object--an image of how to be, a body, or even a piece of rock -- and just stick into that for however long. It is equally possible for the being to end that hypnotic association by un-identifying itself with an object. Many people identify themselves with their bodies. Some people identify themselves with a picture of Mom. Ending this misidentification, or at least cvonverting it from unknowing and semi-automatic to a knowing act, must be part of the Path, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot to say that Within You Without You was not a popular song. For someone who claims to be a Beatles geek, you come off as a total poser.

That's par for you, since most of the time you are just the Yoko Ono of Zen, a celebrity in a field lacking in any star values.

Anonymous said...

Govinda
George Harrison & Radha Krishna Temple

Harry said...

...I meant 'needn't get stuck in one old view of it'... but maybe we're always neccesarily stuck in one old view of it... another interesting and very mature feature of Dogen's stuff: our realising it even though we are limited, and indeed because we are limited, and realising it right in our limitations themselves.

H.

Shaman Willie said...

Using the "is of identity" usually results in inaccuracy and misconceptions, especially when discussing existential and ontological subjects.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Korzybski

An interview with Mr. Harrison regarding Krishna consciousness, etc.:

http://krishna.org/george-harrison-interview-hare-krishna-mantra-theres-nothing-higher-1982/

Anonymous said...

I have a dog that is very sick. He's in pain. He's been my friend for 11 years. I'm in a dilemma of what to do. Is putting him to sleep not a good thing. I'm torn. Help.Any words would be helpful.

Anonymous said...

My heart is with you and your dog. Much love.

Anonymous said...

Ask a Vet if your dog can recover. If not, *IMO you would be doing him a favor by putting him down if he's suffering.

Harry said...

Anon, you know the particular animal best.

My missus, more of an 'animal person' than me, has had to go that route with pets, and it's broken her heart, but she still felt it was the right thing on some occassions; on others she has resisted it for a time cos it didn't seem right. Good luck.

Harry.

Anonymous said...

My dog has myelopathy. No recovery. Losing the use of his legs.

Thank you so much for your words.

Thank you....We are our bodies sometimes but not always so.

Khru said...

Anonymous: I'm so sorry to hear about your dog. It's tough either way and as someone who's been in your same position, I'd recommend putting your beloved dog down peacefully. Easier said than done. Best wishes.

Anonymous Bob said...

Are we or are we not these bodies? I can't say I dwell much on questions like this anymore. It's like asking me if there is a God. It is better if that question never comes up. I've got important things to do like reading Brad's blog than considering these BIG questions. I have no opinion on this stuff now because it doesn't seem very useful to have one and I would probably just change my mind later anyway. To get hung up or not to get hung up.. Seems like a no-brainer.

CAPTCHA : mines : I kid you not

proulx michel said...

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot to say that Within You Without You was not a popular song. For someone who claims to be a Beatles geek, you come off as a total poser.

That's par for you, since most of the time you are just the Yoko Ono of Zen, a celebrity in a field lacking in any star values.


Some people display remarkable skills in trying to offend and be mean to others. That's typical of those who dewell in the realm of demons.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Let go of hundreds of years and relax completely.
Open your hands and walk, innocent.
Thousands of words, myriad interpretations,
Are only to free you from obstructions.
If you want to know the undying person in the hut,
Don't separate from this skin bag here and now.

Song of the Grass-Roof Hermitage

By Shitou Xiqian (700-790)

http://www.dailyzen.com/zen/zen_reading14.asp
_______________________
or

The thousands of words, the infinite conceptions only exist to free you from attachment.

If you want to meet the immortal in the hut,

Please, here and now, do not escape this sack of flesh.

http://www.nozt.org/teachings/skstrawroofhut.shtml

Anonymous Bob said...

"Some say Buddha was a Hindu and Jesus was a Jew. I am uncertain about both claims."

Hi Chas. I'm with you there. Being uncertain is the only way to go. At least on things that happened when you weren't there.

CAPTCHA : denoms : I kid you not

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The people who cling to reincarnation must have a Hindu concept in mind.
For Buddhists to cling to reincarnation would be like Christians clinging to the hope of going to Hell, in both cases that's exactly what you are NOT supposed to want.

Harry said...

Hee hee, funny point.

But there reasons why concepts like 'hell' were invented, right?

Cheers,

H.

Shaman Willie said...

"George was a follower of TM." - Mysterion

A while ago I argued with some TMers on The Huffington Post who tried to claim Harrison as one of their own and credit TM for all of his professional, personal and "spiritual" success. The evidence indicates that George may have danced with the Maharishi when he was young and promiscuous but he eventually went home and stayed with Krishna until the very end.

"Two of Harrison's oldest friends from the Krishna faith said they had been chanting and praying by the star's side as he died.

'During his last days, Krishna devotees were by his side and he left his body to the sounds of the Hare Krishna Mantra,' a statement from the pair, Shyamasundar Das and Mukunda Goswami, said."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/1686267.stm

boubi said...

I wanted to say "who cares" ... body? mind?

I watch an orange marker and really like it, there's also a blue one, that's all.

Then in spite of my ignorance and misunderstanding of the sutras and other knowledgeable texts i thought about Tilopa's words

Like the morning mist that dissolves into thin air,
Going nowhere but ceasing to be,
Waves of conceptualization, all the mind's creation, dissolve,
When you behold your mind's true nature.


then remembering a site i like*
i stumble upon Anupada Sutta

17] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of ‘Nothingness’ Sariputta entered upon and abided in the base of neither perception nor non-perception.

....

19] "Again, bhikkhus, by completely surmounting the base of neither perception nor non-perception, Sariputta entered upon and abided in the cessation of perception and feeling. And his taints were destroyed by his seeing with wisdom.

.....

23] "Bhikkhus, the matchless Wheel of Dhamma set rolling by the Tathagata is kept rolling rightly by Sariputta."

That is what the Blessed One said. The Bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.



Oh Sariputra, form is void , void is form, there's no ear, eye, mouth, nose, taste ... what a marvel!











*http://luminousemptiness.blogspot.com/

Harry said...

...and in the same line of reasoning, Buddhist fundies like Bob Thurman say that if there's no belief in reincarnation then there is no reason to be a moral person, as if being nice is not its own quantifyable reward.

It amazes me that otherwise seemingly intelligent people can buy that crap when it is abundantly clear that there are people who have, and can develop, the ability to be nice, or even okay, without the need to resort to very shaky religious doctrines. Humanism, for example, could fill the percieved gap in outlook/philosophy there without the need to resort to wild speculation... not that I think there particularly is a gap.

Regards,

H.

boubi said...

Anonymous said...

I have a dog that is very sick. He's in pain. He's been my friend for 11 years. I'm in a dilemma of what to do. Is putting him to sleep not a good thing. I'm torn. Help.Any words would be helpful.


Kill it, both of you will stop suffering.

Anonymous said...

@Harry

good point, "But there reasons why concepts like 'hell' were invented, right?"

exactly ! the stick and the carrot technique

which if a Buddhist clings to reincarnation, as it reifies a separates self/ego, that is the opposite of the point (missing the point)

Reincarnation is the stick you're NOT supposed to want.
But for many who cling to reincarnation, they are clinging to a separate self/ego (atman).

reincarnation seems to be most strongly held to in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition,
and some traditions in Vajayana are almost indistinguishable from Hinduism.

Anonymous said...

@Harry

"Buddhist fundies like Bob Thurman say that if there's no belief in reincarnation then there is no reason to be a moral person, as if being nice is not its own quantifyable reward."

VERY TRUE !!

Either morals are autonomous or they do not exist at all. If a person refrains from murdering his neighbor only out of fear of Divine Retribution (or Karma) his behavior is dictated not by moral values, but by caution, fear of the Holy Policemen, egoism. And if a person does good only with an eye to salvation, she is not doing good since her behavior is dictated by self-interest rather than by duty or by love and will thus not be saved.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

When the Buddha examined the question of atman he asked a bunch of questions of the form "is atman x?" One of these questions was "is the atman this body?" To which he answered, "no".

Of course all teachings are provisional and contextual (upaya). So just saying "we are not these bodies" isn't the whole truth. But it is true.

On the other hand the teaching "we ARE these bodies" is poison, not medicine, for the modern, western mind. It has no value even as an expedient, except when used as a kind of trick to lure in those who are so addled by materialism that they must be tricked in this way.

Bob said...

Nice idea, may match what we think we feel, but is basically unprovable.

We could also say that bodies create us, like a hobby or something.

In deep sleep 'I' cease but body remains.

Maybe "a body dreams and 'I' is born". "A body awakes and 'I' disappears".

When hungry eating is needed. Who eats? Who watches? Does the eater create the watcher. Whose hunger is satisified.

Whatever the answers the body continues to exist...

Anonymous said...

I like George Harrison. Always did.

Saw the Cirque du Soleil show with The Beatles music in it. That was pretty good.

What a good group those guys were. Man.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

George also sat a lot with Sai Baba (the most recently deceased intarnation -oh no he din't -oh yes he did!)

SB got himself in a jam after years of one-on-one darshan with devotees in which he would raise his robe and off them a "good luck opportunity."

He also sported one bad ass 'fro.

Just weighin' in here: My fave GH lp(s) is the obvious, ALL THINGS MUST PASS, especially the bonus acoustic stuff, the track "Beware of Darkness."

Oh, and btw, I drive a 2005 Hiundus.

john e mumbles said...

Correction: off should be offer.

anonymous anonymous said...

mysterion likes to blather on about various subjects but he has little to say about his personal belief in reincarnation. He will site the odd pseudo-scientific recount about some imaginative little child's recounting of a past life but that is all he has in his factual arsenal. He is no better than Harold Camping's worst student. He is a man who needs a small comforting dream to get him through this life. Which is fine. But he should just shut the fuck up about everyone else on the planet who needs the same type of fantasy to get them through the night.

Broken Yogi said...

These are the kinds of statements which are only useful to the degree that they stimulate us to investigate and find out for ourselves what we actually are. They certainly are ways in which both, and neither, are true, but that's only significant if one actually finds this out.

I relate this back to your previous post about doubt and uncertainty. Affirming either of these statements is just a way of keeping doubt and uncertainty at bay, when the real purpose of them is to keep doubt and uncertainty front and center, compelling us to examine ourselves directly and see what we are.

Sometimes when we do this, we will say, we are not the body, we are spirit. Sometimes, we will say, yes, we are the body, or at least not separate from the body. And sometimes we will say, we are neither body nor spirit, we are empty of anything like these at the core. And sometimes we will just go miniature golfing. Which might be the sign of our true enlightenment.

Broken Yogi said...

ANyway, if one looks at the total doctrine of Hinduism, including the Advaita viewpoint, even there reincarnation is only seen as "relatively true", in the same way that incarnation is. It's accepted in a mundane fashion as part of conditional life, but not as something immutably real. It's just part of Maya, the illusion that things are actually happening. So the genuine Hindu viewpoint doesn't actually believe in reincarnation either, because it doesn't believe in incarnation in the first place. We are never born, never die, and only imagine that we are.

Not so different from many sects of Buddhism.

Telarus, KSC said...

Good, approachable commentary on Joshu's "Mu". Very dense meme-to-noise ratio. +5 Tons of Flax.

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous said:

I have a dog that is very sick. He's in pain. He's been my friend for 11 years. I'm in a dilemma of what to do. Is putting him to sleep not a good thing. I'm torn. Help.Any words would be helpful.

It's always sad when this happens. It seems like when you get a pet it's almost inevitable that you'll have to do this. My dad had several dogs sequentially throughout the years and I think every one of them had to be put to sleep in the end.

Tim McCarthy, my first Zen teacher used to be an animal euthanasia technician. His policy was that he's never put down any animal that really didn't need to be put down. People sometimes bring their pets in for the most ridiculous reasons. Like they're just tired of having them or something. Tim took those dogs and cats home and tried to find them places to live.

Yours is not a case like that. It sounds to me like your dog's situation is pretty desperate and there is little that can be done for him.

When you do this, stay with the dog. Pet him. Be there.

Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right now.

Lauren said...

"you" are only the electrochemical miracle happening between you ears. A "brain" is just an artificial semantic division of one tissue from another, so "you" are your body. When the body degrades to the extent that self-perceptive electrochemical activity can no longer be sustained, "you" will be gone in the immediate. To the extent that your existence has impressed other neural networks with you-unique patterns, or you have otherwise formed matter to echoe you (not likenesses, but rather expressive self-patterns like painting, music, stories) , an echoe of you will continue.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Brad. In the future lets here about zen and politics. And how to use zen to figure out which presidential candidates are worth listening too.

MysteriRon said...

Mysterion, you may say they are only your opinions,but based on your copious commentary here over many year's time, do you not believe that Republicans are wrong and Catholics are bad? Hard to believe you don't. This I believe.

Anonymous said...

mysterion said, "This scares the living shit out of "me society" republicans because they might just be reborn in to a world in which they raped the air, water, forest, and mineral resources for quick wealth."

mysterion, Why would the possibility of rebirth scare a Republican and not a Democrat? Both parties are made up of cheaters and liars. Christian Conservative Republicans already have the threat of eternal damnation hanging over their heads for any sins they commit, like your boy Jim Tucker, who is a southern Baptist by the way. It makes perfect sense that Democrats would be drawn to this mumbo jumbo just like they are to alien abduction stories and levitating Tibetans. But you, I thought you might have a little more sense than to so desperately want something to be true that you recommend Jesus Jim Tucker to us.

Anonymous said...

Brad- Thank you for your kind words. I will be with him. And pet him. I love him.

Thank you.

Bat Guano said...

Mysterion's attraction to reincarnation is only an atheist democrat's hope for eternal life..

A child brought to a researcher by his parents, who I think must play a big part in putting together the story, tells a doctor a tale and the doctor goes picking through cases until he finds a close match.

Until we see science used for connecting the so-called reincarnated individuals with their past selves, you should not believe this silliness.

The Unknown Comic said...

OK, somebody has to say it.

"I used to believe in reincarnation, but that was in a previous life."

Follow up question: Why is the head of a dead cat the most valuable thing in the world?

Anonymous said...

In India, when a child is found to be the reincarnation of someone, they are often the recipient of gifts and attention from the family of the person who died. The parents of that child are often the direct beneficiary of these gifts. If you are a poor couple living in India, why not convince the world that your child is the reincarnation of someone richer in order to receive the benefits of such an arrangement? In the USA it might even land you on Piers Morgan's show.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Enid said...

God bless Rutland Weekend Television, the zeniest - sorry, zaniest - thing this side of Spike Milligan.

The rest of you are taking this all far too seriously. Lighten up!

Anonymous said...

Al Kavadlo your website rocks!

You could have done wonders for scrawny George Harrison. Maybe he would have had more songs on Beatles albums!

You & Brad should consider teaming up for a weekend workshop retreat.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skeptic said...

M, I read your "30 Convincing Cases" link. This is your best evidence? Bizarre dramatic conclusions based on faulty reasoning and some very weak initial premises? The author's warnings in the preface were right out of a carnival.

Turn Back!
Stop right here!
Further reading will alter your world view forever!

LOL

;) said...

- “... this whole Buddhist mess that I'm now inextricably mired in”.

Try sitting Zazen. Nothing is inextricable.

Anonymous said...

"if one looks at the total doctrine of Hinduism, including the Advaita viewpoint"

it is true that Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, and Jainism have significant similarities, but it is also true that they have even more significant differences

many mix up Buddhism and Advaita knowingly or unknowingly

one teacher I like Adyashanti, does mix up Zen Buddhism and Advaita, but his talks are still good

Adyashanti - The Truth That Is Always Present

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0wCmg0RVEk

Anonymous said...

Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right now.

???

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Foote said...

@ boubi,

Post from my blog (please do register & comment, if you like), concerning the cessation of perception and sensation:

'I remember Blanche Hartman from S.F. Zen Center talking about one day when she was on her way to a day of mindfulness and she buttoned her shirt backwards or something. I do revere some of the teachers I met from Japan, whom I thought had a certain grace and poise, and sometimes I think I should be concerned to practice hard and be more like them; in the end, though, I think Blanche has the right approach, to laugh at herself and be what she is.

I would say that I have a compass, and that compass comes out when I feel like I'm starting to walk in circles, and I use that compass to sight the next landmark in the direction I want to go before I put it away. The compass is the cessation of volition, in speech, in inhalation and exhalation, and in perception and sensation, and the landmark is the combination of disparate elements at the instant of cessation. The landmark is always right where I am, every contact of sense including the sixth sense enters into where I am even before I know it, and the ability to feel that arises with each contact informs where I am. When I am waking up and falling asleep, I can witness the action that arises out of where I am as I am where I am. That action is wu wei.

The practice I have is really so many disparate elements, and it comes to me out of necessity, although sometimes I'm the very one that is driving me to that experience of necessity. My conclusion is that I can't help being attracted to the feeling that belongs to my own well-being, and likewise I can't help being averse to the feeling that belongs to my own illness. Some would say they have a choice, but my conclusion is that I do not.'

Anonymous said...

Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right now.

???


Is this a Koan?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I think it might be.

Anonymous said...

It's a dog gone bone koan..

Broken Yogi said...

I agree with Mysterion that the Tucker book is good. But I'd also recommend the full gamut in this line, from Stevension to Newton to Weiss and others. This will never be fully "scientific" in the standard sense, until science itself finds a way to deal with the mind in a coherent manner.

I particularly like Newton's work, which explores not only past life memories, but between life memories. THousands of such reports paint a very different picture of reincarnation than is promoted by many religions, including Buddhism. The most interesting divergence is the lack of "punishment and reward" style karma in these experiences. He could not find anyone recalling memories of past lives that represented punishment, or of the various forces and persons in the afterlife suggesting that "God" had any interest in either punishing or rewarding anyone for what they did in their lives.

The model encountered was not that of some kind of universal justice system, but of a school, in which "failures" were merely regarded as learning experiences that help us do better the next time around. Punishment had no particular purpose in such learning, though being on the receiving end of a hard life could certainly be of benefit to anyone, and provided learning opportunities that a "good life" might not. So in that sense, those who suffer the most may also be learning the most, which makes it a reward rather than a punishment, in a not-so strange way.

George Harrison said...

Lauren said

"you" are only the electrochemical miracle happening between you ears. A "brain" is just an artificial semantic division of one tissue from another, so "you" are your body. When the body degrades to the extent that self-perceptive electrochemical activity can no longer be sustained, "you" will be gone in the immediate. To the extent that your existence has impressed other neural networks with you-unique patterns, or you have otherwise formed matter to echoe you (not likenesses, but rather expressive self-patterns like painting, music, stories) , an echoe of you will continue.

This is simply not true Lauren, I survived my own death in a subtle form and am in a place called Krishna Loka, still making tunes up here and will be releasing another album shortly, looking for a good channeler at present to bring it to the world, I'm think of naming it "Living in the immaterial world", I guess you won't be able to help with that one. All the best George.

boubi said...

Mark Foote said...

@ boubi,

Post from my blog (please do register & comment, if you like), concerning the cessation of perception and sensation:

'I remember Blanche Hartman from S.F. Zen Center talking about one day when she was on her way to a day of mindfulness and she buttoned her shirt


Sorry i didn't understand anything of what you wanted to tell me, sorry my fault.

I cited Tilopa and that sutra because they moved me, maybe for the kind of poetry, as in the "Sing, O goddess, the anger of Achilles son of Peleus", for poetry's sake.

I don't have the pretention of having realized zilt of what written there i just liked those texts the way i like my orange marker.

I'm surpassed by all the dialectics and "what if", i think deep thoughts and phylosophy lost me time ago, i'm down to smashed potatoes and minced meat.

If you want to know what else moves me please watch
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_Qw_-b767o
"Sing, O goddess, the guts and the murderous hook of Joe son of Frazier"

... and as one said once in a movie "what you do in life it echoes in eternity", his fights are there forever, the same eternity where that guy's dog will live, forever.

And what is said in a movies is worth as much as what is said in "real life", at least the shadows of our mind we call reality.

boubi said...

TO Mark Foote

Thanks for the invitation, but one blog is already nearly too much, absorbing too much interest, time, life.

I'm wondering to even quit this one, the way you quit smoking.

Ron said...

There seems to be only Mind because even the idea that we are "not mind" comes also from our mind..))

What do you think?

Mark Foote said...

@boubi

some interesting characters on Brad's blog, better quit now before they grow on you!

I liked watching Ali, sometimes his punches were like magic, coming out of nowhere- Joe Fraser was a great fighter, but Ali surprised me as well as the other fighter sometimes. Really like a magic trick, made me want to see him do it again to see how he did it...

Anonymous said...

"I agree with Mysterion that the Tucker book is good. But I'd also recommend the full gamut in this line, from Stevension to Newton to Weiss and others."

dual broken yeti/mysterion is shameless.

Mónika Csapó said...

Thanks for this post, I really liked it.

Broken Yogi said...

yes, we are brothers by different druthers.

Anonymous said...

"There seems to be only Mind because even the idea that we are "not mind" comes also from our mind."

The Heart Sutra

Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, meditating deeply on Perfection of Wisdom, saw clearly that the five aspects of human existence are empty*, and so released himself from suffering. Answering the monk Sariputra, he said this:

Body is nothing more than emptiness,
emptiness is nothing more than body.
The body is exactly empty,
and emptiness is exactly body.

The other four aspects of human existence --
feeling, thought, will, and consciousness --
are likewise nothing more than emptiness,
and emptiness nothing more than they.

All things are empty:
Nothing is born, nothing dies,
nothing is pure, nothing is stained,
nothing increases and nothing decreases.

So, in emptiness, there is no body,
no feeling, no thought,
no will, no consciousness.
There are no eyes, no ears,
no nose, no tongue,
no body, no mind.

* Emptiness is the usual translation for the Buddhist term Sunyata (or Shunyata). It refers to the fact that no thing -- including human existence -- has ultimate substantiality, which in turn means that no thing is permanent and no thing is totally independent of everything else. In other words, everything in this world is interconnected and in constant flux. A deep appreciation of this idea of emptiness thus saves us from the suffering caused by our egos, our attachments, and our resistance to change and loss.
_________________________

In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast a talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/meditation-and-the-brain-with-daniel-siegel-md-bsp-44.html

________________

Episode 62 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Warren Brown, PhD, co-author (with Nancey Murphy) of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/did-my-neurons-make-me-do-it-with-warren-brown-bsp-62.html

Anonymous said...

"Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right now."

A snow flake is just water (the absolute) in one of its many permutations, but it is its unique one of a kindness and its momentary transitoriness that make it truly beautiful and miraculous !!

Sandokai

"To encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment."
or
"according with sameness is still not enlightenment."

________________

The Grand Master of a Zen Master died.
Afterwards, one of the disciples of the Zen Master
saw the Master crying, and was very surprised:
"Why are you crying, Master? Don't you know that
time, life, death are illusory?"
"Yes, I know," answered the Master, "but I loved his
grinning face, and I'll not see it every morning for
a while, so let me cry!"

boubi said...

to Mark Foote

Nobody's growing on me, i grow attachements (not good), i find this blog and what Brad says refreshing, non assuming, down to earth.

He could be a Linchi's exemple of "kill the buddha" (yes, Rinzai, the one of the evil crew).
In the sense that a master or a buddha is a person like everybody else and that seeing it as a "supernatural being" leads nowhere.

Not "killing the buddha" can lead to those selfimposing well known mind manipulators, who ask money to sell you "enlightenment".

I think Brad is making a luminous job of bringing "zen" to everyday life and i thank him.

I hope one day to be able to understand what he understands now.

.

Jesu said...

"Your dog will always be part of this universe in every way that he is part of it right now."

Uh, oh. Sounds like Brad's turning into a mystic in his old age.

Anonymous said...

Strive (or don't strive) for your QWN understanding. You will never have Brad's or anyone else's.

work out Your own salvation

You said...

"All composite things pass away. Strive for your own liberation with diligence." -You

Anonymous said...

Ok, thanks!

Shaman Willie said...

I enjoy it when Brad says "mystical stuff" about Moe, Curly and dead dogs.

Ray J. said...

@Anon who quotes Heart Sutra

That passage has always struck me as breathtakingly beautiful but also somewhat chilling and vaguely nihilistic.
I get somewhat of the same vibe (though not quite as terrifying) while reading the poem "Aubade" by Philip Larkin.

On a slightly different note which Anon hinted at: what are the implications of this view of agency and the self for free will?

Anonymous said...

Implications? Views produce views. Good to see view!

Anonymous said...

@ Ray J

Middle Way
[中道] (Skt madhyama-pratipad; Jpn chudo )

the Buddhadharma is the Middle Way (madhyamika) between Nihilism and Eternalism

the Middle Way between monism and dualism

The Zen text the Sandokai =

"Merging of Difference and Unity", "Merging of Difference and Equality", "Agreement of Difference and Unity", "Harmony of Difference and Sameness", "Harmonious Song of Difference and Sameness", "Identity of Relative and Absolute", "Harmony of Relative and Absolute", "Harmony of Difference and Equality"


NOT One and NOT Two !!!!
___________________

The Zen Mind - An Introduction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XK_4Z5DZcNM

A Day in the Life of a Zen Monk - EmptyMind Films

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pllQ_-ZxEA&feature=relmfu

_______________

gassho

Ray J. said...

Well let me put it directly as a question to you, Brad, if you might in fact still be reading the comments.


Do you believe in free will?

Anonymous said...

...yeah and what do you think of this version?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

RIP Megaupload

Anonymous said...

How about instead of "free will"
"free choice" ??

In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast a talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/meditation-and-the-brain-with-daniel-siegel-md-bsp-44.html

________________

Episode 62 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Warren Brown, PhD, co-author (with Nancey Murphy) of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/did-my-neurons-make-me-do-it-with-warren-brown-bsp-62.html

Anonymous said...

How about instead of "free will"
"free choice" ??


often many people mean by " free will" some kind of dualistic something (ego/self) that stands outside of causality

in the Buddhist (non-dualistic)context "free choice" pertains to the moment by moment choices we make

Anonymous said...

Mysterion

He did say Islam and Buddhism, not sure why he would leave out Hinduism and many other smaller religions. The pastor speaks quite well, that's the first thing noted, good strong voice, speaking only to the local converted of course.

In that neck of the woods or anywhere similar on the planet, you are not going to get any local Parishioner standing up and asking "exactly what do you mean by that?"

I think what he is really saying is if it is not "Christian" and that could even be narrowed down to that particular christian cult, it's mumbo jumbo, voodoo etc.

Not really meaning anything other than it's "not a god fearing christian way". Don't expect rational thinking there, it is merely an appeal to the smallness of local town life and the points of view that tend be grown there.

Anonymous said...

I've never understood the free will (choice) idea. From an empirical standpoint, how do you prove it? It seems to me that I do one thing after another. I don't have an opportunity to do anything differently once done. Like writing this paragraph. I suppose I could have chosen not to write it, or not to click the publish button. But how do I know I could have done differently from this point in time?

Plus, if the whole illusory self apparatus is a bunch of processes in motion with no do-er to begin with, well, that seems to lean towards determinism for me.

Enjoy the ride!

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Foote said...

@boubi

'Nan-yueh went on, "Are you studying seated meditation or are you studying seated Buddha? If you're studying seated meditation, meditation is not sitting still. If you're studying seated Buddha, Buddha is no fixed mark. If you're studying seated Buddha, this is killing Buddha. If you grasp the mark of sitting, you're not reaching it's principle.'

("Dogen's Lancet of Seated Meditation", by Carl Bielefeldt, pg 195)

Yes, but I get what you are saying about the irreverent Brad Warner. I do appreciate that he thinks for himself, speaks for himself, and expresses his understanding with an openness to discourse as an equal partner on the journey. It's a difficulty that in most Zen centers the understanding of those who hold lineage is regarded by many as more worthy than the understanding of those who do not, even though the lineage holder themselves may not view it that way.

Ran K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skatemurai said...

Hey Brad,

if I'm sitting zazen while my dad's hi-fi is playing Ozzy, am I practicing Hardcore Zen?

Thanks,

Tom

Anonymous said...

I dont think there is any wrong way. Each individual way is right the way it is. I think its good that you studied buddhism, and went your way. But Buddha didnt study buddhism. I meet very often zen people that are almost fanatic about their way being right, but not the others----calling it mysticism or crazy or something wrong.Im sorry but that is naziism and unknowing.Buddha himself said dont believe anything just because someone tells it,just trust your own experience. So also beeing a teacher is putting someone higher than the other. He knows more. This is the problem i have with each religion having a leader, teacher, pope, etc. including Zen. (I liked this woman because she didnt played that game.) Heike!

boubi said...

So also beeing a teacher is putting someone higher than the other. He knows more. This is the problem i have with each religion having a leader, teacher, pope, etc. including Zen.

The teacher knows more !

End of line.

The zen master/teacher knows more about zen, the math teacher knows more about math, the judo teacher knows more about judo, the boxing teacher knows more about boxing, and so on.

They have been given transmission/licence to teach/transmit that particular knowledge, due to the level of knowledge they attained in their field.


That doesn't justify them to become the "dear leader" of some cult.

So you have two choices, whether you teach yourself (why not), whether you find a a teacher who isn't an asshole.

john e mumbles said...

PREFACE, From David Godman’s website:

Nisargadatta Maharaj: The words will do their work wherever you hear or read them. You can come here and listen to them in person, or you can read them in a book. If the teacher is enlightened, there will be a power in them.



David: What about a hypothetical case of someone picking up I AM THAT in fifty years' time, and in a country several thousand miles away. That person will never have a chance to see you. Will those words still have the power to transform and awaken?



Nisargadatta Maharaj: Time and space exist in your mind, not in the Self. There is no limit to the power of the Self. The power of the Self is always present, always working, always the same. What varies is the readiness and willingness of people to turn their attention to it. If someone picks up this book ten thousand miles away in a thousand years' time, those words will do their work if the reader is in the right state to listen to and assimilate the words.

Anonymous said...

Episode 100 :: Stephen Batchelor :: The Awakening of the West

http://secularbuddhistassociation.com/2012/01/21/episode-100-stephen-batchelor-the-awakening-of-the-west/

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Foote said...

“To suggest that traditional Buddhism is just as impermanent and as contingent and as imperfect as everything else, is not going to sit very happily with beliefs that are held regarding the truth of our particular doctrines, the authority of our lineage — all of these things are very much threatened by historical awareness of the actual state of affairs. But frankly I find that historical awareness of Buddhism is a wonderful way of illustrating the core teachings of Buddhism itself, namely that Buddhism is not somehow excluded from being contingently arisen, nor is it excluded from being impermanent, nor is it excluded from being dukkha, from being dissatisfactory and imperfect.” — Stephen Batchelor, from the site referenced by Mysterion

'If someone picks up this book ten thousand miles away in a thousand years' time, those words will do their work if the reader is in the right state to listen to and assimilate the words.'
Nisargadatta Maharaj, from John's quote this blog, above

'So you have two choices, whether you teach yourself (why not), whether you find a a teacher who isn't an asshole.'
Boubi, this blog, above

Comparing teachers of mathematics and judo to Zen teachers brings up a lot for me, since I had excellent teachers in both, although I myself was not the brightest or most adept (I remind myself that the cultures I admire most value cooperation and community above individual achievement).

Two things: one is that in mathematics, it's not enough to take things on intuition, each person must follow, understand, and be convinced of the logic at each step of the proof for themselves; the second is that in judo, each instructor teaches the form slightly differently.

'“Selling water by the river” is a famous Zen phrase, said to have been spoken by a Zen Master to describe his forty years of teaching.'
(Genpo Roshi, from his blog Nov. 28th 2011)

Zen teachings share some similarities to mathematics, and the form of practice has some similarities to judo. Zen teachers have spoken of how no one else can piss for you (Uchiyama?), and it's not possible to share so much as a fart (Uchiyama's teacher).

The Zen teachers I respect the most convey an openness to discourse as an equal partner on the journey. My own aim is to get a start on the mathematics of sitting, terminology that can express the practice involved in the lotus in clear and simple language, yet I am reliant on the peculiar and largely unaccepted science of cranial-sacral osteopathy for a crucial part of that expression.

You'll notice I'm not talking about terminology that can express the practice of Zen; that would be selling water by the river, I think.

Anonymous said...

great Stephen Batchelor talks:


On Making a Raft

Why would one make and use a raft to cross a river only to haul it uselessly around as a burden? This is often our unskillful practice, says Stephen Batchelor. We use spiritual practice to encounter life with freshness and openness, not clinging to any particular method, just as we do not carry around a raft after having crossed a river. Each moment is an opportunity to practice. If we truly embody the practice, we can act appropriately and spontaneously in every situation.

http://www.upaya.org/dharma/on-making-a-raft/



Godless Religion or Devout Atheism? Part 1 of 14

http://www.upaya.org/dharma/tag/godless-religion-or-devout-atheism/page/2/

Fred said...

"Do you believe in free will?"

By your question do you mean that
some type of agent is initiating
thought and action which is not
dependent on previous conditioning,
training, education?

If your mind is free there is no you, there is no belief, and there
is no will.

Pretty Vacant said...

Then "who" is writing your comment, Fred?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Broken Yogi said...

Ramana used to say that from the point of view of realization, there was no free will or free choice whatsoever, that everything was preordained and nothing about it could change. A devotee once picked up a stick and dropped it, then asked Ramana if that was preordained, and he said yes.

But Ramana would also immediately add that before realization one cannot merely think this way, that one must adopt the opposite point of view, that everything we do is our free choice, and everything we experience is the result of our choices, freely chosen.

Asked to reconcile this, he would often say that the only real choice we have is whether to transcend our egoity or not, to engage in self-enquiry or its equivalent regardless of what was happening. We may not be able to change the outcome of events, but we certainly can change our point of view in the midst of events.

And Mumbles, our last conversation led me to begin re-reading I Am That from the beginning. If I come across the passage we talked about, I'll let you know.

Anonymous said...

Wild fox koan
Every time Baizhang, Zen Master Dahui, gave a dharma talk, a certain old man would come to listen. He usually left after the talk, but one day he remained. Baizhang asked, "Who is there?"

The man said, "I am not actually a human being. I lived and taught on this mountain at the time of Kashyapa Buddha. One day a student asked me, 'Does a person who practices with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?' I said to him, 'No, such a person doesn't.' Because I said this I was reborn as a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Reverend master, please say a turning word for me and free me from this wild fox body." Then he asked Baizhang, "Does a person who practices with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?"

Baizhang said, "Don't ignore cause and effect."

Immediately the man had great realization. Bowing, he said, "I am now liberated from the body of a wild fox...."


We do not have contra-causal free will, we do not stand outside of the flow of cause and effect and that is a joyful liberating truth.

Of no help in choosing.

Being uncaused is of no use whatsoever in making choices. Why? Because an uninfluenced decider has no reason to decide between alternatives. It’s the alternatives themselves that determine the choice, based on their subjective desirability. The only time we want to be dispassionate, to the best of our ability, is when evaluating prospective courses of action: we don’t want our hopes and fears to bias the accuracy of our predictions. Having made our predictions, our choices reflect the relative strength of our (possibly competing) desires as informed by the likelihood of their being realized. Something I might really want, like winning a talent contest, might be an unrealistic goal given a realistic appraisal of my talents. But one wonders: why would I want to choose independently of my preferences, and what would determine that choice, if not some operating desire or preference?

Undermines authorship.

Uncaused choices don’t help to guarantee agency and authorship. To count as the author of your own choices, YOU have to control them: they have to reflect YOUR character, motives, and deliberations, not be under anyone or anything else’s direct control. By definition, an indeterministic or uncaused factor that helps determine a choice doesn’t reflect your character, motives or deliberations, and thus would undermine authorship of your acts. And remember: that you’re likely fully caused to be who you are doesn’t make you less of an agent; you have causal powers just as much as the factors that created you; you’re just as real as they are.

Entails moral anarchy.

Being uncaused would make us uncontrollable by moral norms. Although many suppose we need something to standoutside of causality to be moral agents, the opposite is true: it’s only by being at the effect of ethical training and the prospect of being held responsible that we end up as law abiding, morally upright citizens. Were there some uninfluenced, radically autonomous self/ego of the person beyond the reach of moral education and social rewards and sanctions. Fortunately, no such self/ego exists.

Often people mistakingly think "determinsim" is some kind of Hindu fatalism, or predestinationism, or pre-determinsm.

NOT so, Causality/Conditionality = events have prior causes and conditions which include your choices moment by moment.

Hekiganroku case 39
"If you want to know about Buddha Nature, you must pay attention to time and causation."

john e mumbles said...

Hey Mysterion, my take on Descartes:

I think, therefore I am thinking.

Anonymous said...

What Was I Thinking?
A Process Poem

Speak the title of the poem then repeat it while moving a comma from left to right, i.e. after the first word, then after the second, etc. Speak the title again with no comma to finish.

Uncle Willie said...

Speaking of the errors of Descartes, I just finished reading "Thoughts Without A Thinker" by Mark Epstein. I recommend it because I think that Epstein succeeded where others failed in trying to integrate Buddhism and psychotherapy. He writes about using meditation to supplement psychoanalysis and vice versa but he also points out very clearly that they are not the same thing. He includes a lot of information about different types of Buddhist meditation and different psychological theories and their history.

http://www.amazon.com/Thoughts-Without-Thinker-Psychotherapy-Perspective/dp/0465020224/

Anonymous said...

mysterion,

You said.. I think.

Therefore I am.

I think.

(no proof).

Indeed, there is no proof that you think at all. Or, so you don't take it personally, there is no proof that anyone "thinks or reasons out their positions."

Fred said...

"Indeed, there is no proof that you think at all. Or, so you don't take it personally, there is no proof that anyone "thinks or reasons out their positions."

And what is reason but some agreed
upon way of thinking. It's all
contrived, including the thought
that someone is writing this.

Anonymous said...

Descartes walks into a bar...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Descartes walks into a bar..."

with a frog on his head.

the bartender says: "What in hell is THAT?"


and the frog says:


"Would you believe it started as a wart on my ass?"

Anonymous said...

i go to www.hardcorezen.blogspot.com to read Brad's blog. Then I click on the comments to read Mysterion's blog.

Anonymous said...

"integrate Buddhism and psychotherapy"

(great explication of embodiment and how/why "mind" in not the same (not one)as the "body" and how/why "body" and "mind" are not separate (not two)

Google Personal Growth Series: The New Science of Mindsight:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr4Od7kqDT8
_________

TEDxBlue - Daniel J. Siegel, M.D.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nu7wEr8AnHw
_________

Dan Siegel - The Human Mind and the Cultivation of Well-Being

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6tZ4VC6zR8

Anonymous said...

or if you prefer to listen to podcasts/mp3s

In Episode 44 of the Brain Science Podcast a talk with Daniel Siegel, MD about meditation and the brain. Dr. Siegel is the author of several books including The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being.

http://www.brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/meditation-and-the-brain-with-daniel-siegel-md-bsp-44.html

Enid said...

@Mark Foote - "no one else can piss for you". I think Joshu said this first. One translation is "such a small matter, and yet I have to do it for myself - can you do it for me?" James Green's book of Joshu's sayings #315: "Pissing is an easy matter, I can do it by myself" gives a different flavor.

The rest of you are still taking this all too seriously.

Manny Furious said...

Excellent post from Brad.

My own personal experiences have led me to conclude that "Free-will" and "Determinism" and "Fatalism" etc. are just words. Just ideas/concepts that the mind creates to amuse itself. There is no "truth" or "reality" behind any of the concepts. They're like Unicorns, the concept exists, and we can imagine what it means, but ultimately, in the words of my ten-year-old nephew, it's all for "pretends."

You can't have one without the other two. That alone should give one a decent idea of where the "truth" lies....

Uncle Willie said...

Superficial travelogue of Buddhism around the world.

http://www.hulu.com/watch/319697/buddha-realms#s-p1-sr-i0

Anonymous said...

Vanishing Head Illusion

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7jpJ12lBjg&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous said...

Awesome Zen Frog Game

Anonymous said...

"The material world is an illusion."

No it isn't - it is real.
According to Buddhism, all things are conditioned. Only conditioned things are "real".

The only things that are not real are UNconditioned things, like God notions.

boubi said...

I wonder if Christine Lagarde would go out with me.

Anonymous said...

When Anderson decides his life in North Carolina is in a rut, he chooses to make a dramatic change and moves to Japan to teach English, as he chronicles in this hilarious, enlightening, and insightful memoir. Anderson is tall, white, and extremely gay—all things that distinguish him from the average person in Japan. His various adventures—accidentally stumbling into the adult area of Tokyo and learning that Japanese porn cuts out all the good parts; discovering the hard way the low standards some English academies have for their teachers; experiencing the joys of karaoke and experimental music—help Anderson begin to understand the differences between American and Japanese culture. A gifted writer, Anderson is sensitive to cultural differences, delightful in his irreverence, and astutely aware of himself and his particular perspective. His observations are often laugh-out-loud funny and will leave readers with the desire to travel and to keep turning the pages, wondering, by the end, where Anderson will travel to next.

boubi said...

boubi said...

I wonder if Christine Lagarde would go out with me.

7:28 PM



someone stole my identity , never posted this

Anonymous said...

Okay, but don't you wonder if she would go out with you?

Anonymous said...

Great post, Brad. I'm yet another Zennist who wouldn't be here if not for George (after all, the guy titled the greatest album ever recorded with the Buddha's last words) ... not to mention a musician who never would've started playing if not for that very first Ed Sullivan broadcast. After all, the guy titled the greatest album ever recorded with the Buddha's last words.

p.s. Most overlooked GH song is "Long Long Long." Unspeakably beautiful.

Lron said...

Zanie Ausies at it again

Anonymous said...

We are not these brains.

Hoffmann said...

I think a zombie ate a dude's brain who happened to be tripping on psilocybin and this led other zombies to think they could get off eating brains and thats how it all started.

Then they invented zen.

And those tiny looped labels on the smaller stuffed animals, you know, the ones they give kids with a Happy Meal sometimes. They invented those too.

Zombies are pretty freekin' smart for zombies.

Kohler said...

Just then I had another thought, about a million year old rabbit that had eaten twelve big macs and was looking for the restroom, but the sign over the door said "No Rabbits." Should he ignore it? It would seem to be the case since he had no awareness that he was a "rabbit" after all that time and besides, he had to take a long, dignified shit in an appropriate vessel.

20 people sat in rows around the periphery of the room, but that's impossible.
19 people sat in a circle around the outside wall of the zendo and thought of not thinking.

Their shoes were lined up outside the door so I stole them.

If Ken Wilbur wore a trashy blond wig he could possibly pass for a huge transvestite hooker and make a small fortune working truck stop diner parking lots. Maybe then he could earn the respect of others that he seeks so passionately. He could retire and donate his entire corpus to the landfill.

Anonymous said...

it's already in the recycling bin.

boubi said...

I don't get this we're not these bodies thing.. SORRY!

turiya said...

anonymous said

"The material world is an illusion."

No it isn't - it is real.
According to Buddhism, all things are conditioned. Only conditioned things are "real".

The only things that are not real are UNconditioned things, like God notions.


Is that right? So how is this description different to plain old materialism, also since Buddha's Nirvanic state is a given (by Buddhists I assume) is this also conditional? If it is conditional, then it is not Nirvana correct? I'm not a Buddhist so would be interested to hear otherwise.

proulx michel said...

Turiya wrote:

how is this description different to plain old materialism?

Materialism is negating the value of the spirit. Idealism is negating the value of the material. Of course neither exists independently of the other, and they both exist simultaneously in action.

turiya said...

@proulx michel said...

this is the point I was replying to in particular

According to Buddhism, all things are conditioned. Only conditioned things are "real". Do you agree with this?, this statement as it stands to me negates spirit, so it is a purely materialistic view, correct

turiya said...

that should have read "correct?"

boubi said...

Anonymous boubi said...

I don't get this we're not these bodies thing.. SORRY!

9:03 PM


The impersonating troll strikes again, does he have a life on his own? Or does it feed on people reactions?

Tusécépamoua!laprëv

Anonymous said...

turiya said:
"Is that right? So how is this description different to plain old materialism, also since Buddha's Nirvanic state is a given (by Buddhists I assume) is this also conditional? If it is conditional, then it is not Nirvana correct? I'm not a Buddhist so would be interested to hear otherwise."

I'm the poster who posted what you are responding to.

Nirvana is not a "place" where the Buddha "resides"... neither is it a "state of being" - which your question seems to assume.

not turiya said...

Why not just answer his question if you have all the answers?

Anonymous said...

not turiya said...
"Why not just answer his question if you have all the answers?"

Because his question is presupposing something silly; i.e. Nirvana being a "place" where the Buddha "resides"... that it is a "state of being".

Anonymous said...

Explain what you mean, your interpretation is not clear.

Anonymous said...

"So how is this description different to plain old materialism."

How are you defining materialism?

Anonymous said...

"Explain what you mean, your interpretation is not clear."

What are you unclear on?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Your interpretation of what he is asking.

Fred said...

Words are like pounding pilings into quicksand.

Well, what do you mean by enlighten
ment?

Sit down and shut up.

Fred said...

"Nirvana being a "place" where the Buddha "resides"... that it is a "state of being".

Yes, like no-self upon the Absolute

Anonymous said...

And that makes sense? You're delusional.

Anonymous said...

"Your interpretation of what he is asking."

I don't know how I can be clearer.

Nirvana is not a state, nor a place.

boubi said...

I think there's some troll here.

turiya said...

"Nirvana is not a state, nor a place"

so it's not conditional? Is that it? That seems to be the opposite of your first statement. Or use the word causal, is it causal? It seems Buddha generally spoke in negative (somewhat evasive speech) in regard to Nirvana but clearly from any unitive perspective it must be non-conditional or non-causal otherwise it is not Absolute liberation since it is bound by cause and effect. The fact that he deliberately avoided definition had it's own logic but regardless of this he was pointing to something however defined that was Transcendent or unbound to causation and the limitations of merely objective reality

Troll said...

What!!!! A TROLL on the Hardcore Zen blog comment string?!!!

boubi said...

oh great, now someone has gone and created a google account with my name :(

*I* am the original boubi !!

boubi said...

Just for sake of clarity.

This transient aggregate is the "one" who intervened on another blog in another language and on this one.

The rest is just trolling.

A question about definition:

define yourself

Once you find who you are, according to old friend Ramana you'll have answered all of your questions and your mind will be appeased.


Meantime the Knights of the Green Shields stamp and shout!

Manny Furious said...

I know I'm sticking my nose where it doesn't belong, but....

I think my explanation for the "fatalist/determinist/free will" debate applies to the "idealist/materialist" debate.

As others have hinted at or outright said, language is the limiting factor here, and everyone is getting caught up in words, which do well to take us to certain points, but are often terrible for getting beyond those points.

In the case of the materialist/idealist discussion, language does a great job of awakening a curiosity in us and of getting us to ask certain questions about the world. It does a terrible job of accurately reflecting that world and of answering those questions.

Again, these are just concepts, neither of which can exist without the other. Idealism does not exist without materialism and vice-versa. This is out biggest clue to what the answer to your question is. But it's only a clue because language cannot do anything other than give us clues. To understand what that answer is, as another poster pointed out recently, you simply have to "sit down and shut up." Or, since I hate sitting meditation "wash the dishes/sweep the floor/work out/stare at your ceiling/etc. and shut up."

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Convict said...

Al Kavadlo! Great to see the legend on here. Been loving those videos on the dragondoor forum dude. Keep up the great work. We're working out! hehe

Anonymous said...

http://nicabm.s3.amazonaws.com/mindfulness-plc/MindfulnessPLC2012.mp4

Dick Shunairy said...

prod·uct/ˈprädəkt/
Noun:

1. An article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.
2. A substance produced during a natural, chemical, or manufacturing process: "waste products".

Hefner said...

TWO boubi's?

VavaVooooooooooooooom!

boubi said...

three!

:p

Boobies said...

Two!

boubi said...

http://img2.moonbuggy.org/imgstore/if-you-cant-say-anything-funny-show-boobies.jpg

boubi said...

trolling getting heavy, check IP address

Anonymous said...

"Nirvana is not a state, nor a place"

so it's not conditional? Is that it? That seems to be the opposite of your first statement. Or use the word causal, is it causal? It seems Buddha generally spoke in negative (somewhat evasive speech) in regard to Nirvana but clearly from any unitive perspective it must be non-conditional or non-causal otherwise it is not Absolute liberation since it is bound by cause and effect.
(dualism)

The Unconditioned

“At Savatthi. ‘Monks, I will teach you the unconditioned and the path leading
to the unconditioned. Listen to that…
“And what, monks, is the unconditioned? The ending of desire, the ending of
hatred, the ending of delusion: this is called the unconditioned.
“And what, monks, is the path leading to the unconditioned? Mindfulness
directed to the body: this is called the path leading to the unconditioned…”
[S. 43:1, p. 1372; cf. S. III, 22:23, 27, p. 872, where “full knowing” is defined
with the same words as the unconditioned.]
*
“When, brahmin, a person is impassioned by greed, depraved by hatred,
bewildered through delusion, overwhelmed and infatuated by delusion, then
he plans for his own harm, for the harm of others, for the harm of both; and
he experiences in his mind suffering and grief. But when greed, hatred and
delusion have been abandoned, he neither plans for his own harm, nor for the
harm of others, nor for the harm of both; and he does not experience in his
mind suffering and grief. In this way, brahmin, nibbana is directly visible,
immediate, inviting one to come and see, worthy of application, to be
personally experienced by the wise.” [A. III, 55, p. 57.]

Zippy Rinpoche said...

Nirvana? Smells like Teen Spirit to me.

anon #108 said...

Re Nirvana -

Here are the last few verses of Nagarjuna's take on Nirvana, from his Original Verses on the Middle Way (that's how I'm translating the title today) - the Mulamadhyamakakarika:

There is absolutely no difference between everyday life and nirvana.
There is absolutely no difference between nirvana and everyday life.

Nirvana extends just as far as everyday life.
There is not the slightest difference between them.

Views on what is beyond cessation, what is the end of existence, eternity and so on,
Are based on ideas of life starting somewhere and stopping at nirvana.

If things are empty, finite and infinite have no meaning.
How can something be both? How can something be neither?

This? That? Infinite? Finite?
Both? Neither?

The Buddha never taught about things;
He taught us how to stop wanting, how to get rid of what hinders us, how to be happy.
*

(Verses 19-24 of Chapter 25, "Examination of Nirvana" - from Mike Luetchford's interpretive translation of the MMK.)


*This last verse is tricky to translate; it's also been read, for example, as:

"The Buddha did not teach the appeasement of all objects, the appeasement of obsession and the auspicious as some thing [dharma] to someone at some time" (trans. David Kalupahana).

- But Mike Luetchford's is appropriate, I think, in light of the discussion here.

Anonymous said...

One who sees conditioned arising, sees the Dhamma: and one who sees the dhamma, sees conditioned arising.

That is nibanna.

bat guano said...

Your Mom is nibanna.

Emily said...

Thanks for sharing, learn a lot. I want to buy louis vuitton shoes for my husband, it is said that black suits for men 2012 are also great.