The Fun of Zen


  • Dupa

    So i got this zen books. It's supposed to be awesome, it's supposed to be so yuuuuuge there is none yuuuuger. It's called Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind and it's hilarious!

    I only started reading this because I started trying to practice a bit of meditation. Thank god this book didn't end up acting as a deterrent!

    „When you sit in the full lotus position, your left foot is on your right thigh, and your right foot is on your left thigh. When we cross our legs like this, even though we have a right” „leg and a left leg, they have become one”

    Ok, I kinda understand and I can swallow this. Not the best choice of words and metaphor, but hey!, it's supposed to be a religion.

    But then:

    „The position expresses the oneness of duality: not two, and not one. This is the most important teaching: not two, and not one. Our body and mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one. We usually think that if something is not one, it is more than one; if it is not singular, it is plural. But in actual experience, our life is not only plural, but also singular. Each one of us is both dependent and independent.”

    So wait, it's one but it's not one? It's multiple but it's not multiple? Someone likes paradoxes to much. You know who usually loves paradoxes? Teenagers. But ok, let's act as if nothing happens, these are supposed to be the teachings of the east.l, maybe it'll get better later on.

    „After some years we will die. If we just think that it is the end of our life, this will be the wrong understanding.”

    That's actually like the very next sentence. Of my fucking god, I need to go through an "eternal life passage first" before I start reading something interesting? Ok, let's do this, maybe there'll be something about reincarnation?

    „But, on the other hand, if we think that we do not die, this is also wrong. We die, and we do not die. This is the right understanding.”

    :wtf:? Seriously? Another paradox that doesn't make any fucking sense?

    Wait a sec, I'm starting to understand. This is a book/philosophy/religion for everyone. It says that both A and B are true, while they're exclusive, it's so inclusive! It can invite everybody, every fucking single person, because since it never says anything certain, it'll be in line with everyone's reasoning!

    Oh yeah, I was right:

    „Some people may say that our mind or soul exists forever, and it is only our physical body which dies. But this is not exactly right, because both mind and body have their end. But at the same time it is also true that they exist eternally. And even though we say mind and body, they are actually two sides of one coin. This is the right understanding.”

    So, paradoxes all the way. But not only that, there's also bad writing, to complete the usual religious experience:

    „So when we take this posture it symbolizes this truth. When I have the left foot on the right side of my body, and the right foot on the left side of my body, I do not know which is which. So either may be the left or the right side.”

    This is how this guy continues! There are no sentences left between the previous passage and this one. Hell, it's the same paragraph. This guy wanted to chain talk about life-death paradoxes with freaking posture when sitting. Oh, I love this!

    So, this is fun. Really. I could go on and on and on, but fuck this, is probably infringe a hundred of copyright laws. So just take a look st what this beginner's mind is, so you can laugh out loud again.

    „If you discriminate too much, you limit yourself. If you are too demanding or too greedy, your mind is not rich and self-sufficient. If we lose our original self-sufficient mind, we will lose all precepts. When your mind becomes demanding, when you long for something, you will end up violating your own precepts: not to tell lies, not to steal, not to kill, not to be immoral, and so forth. If you keep your original mind, the precepts will keep themselves.”

    I mean, how? So many assertions, no proof, not even a hint of wanting to give one. And I'm saying, not even a hint of the religious kind of proof, just talking about feels to get people to nod their heads, it's easy to get them going from there, right?

    „The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless."

    What? How? How does that even work?

    " Dogen-zenji, the founder of our school, always emphasized how important it is to resume our boundless original mind.”

    Ah, so some guy said something and so it is the truth. I've heard about axioms, they're usually a funny thing. Thank you, oh zen master, that you are no exception to this rule.


    All in all, I do recommend this book. It's freaking hilarious! Did you love the Hitchhiker' Guide...? You're gonna love this one, for certain! And you know, it's real, so it's even better as a parody!

    :)



  • What sort of book is this? It sounds like something in Yoga.


  • Dupa

    @lucas1 said in The Fun of Zen:

    What sort of book is this? It sounds like something in Yoga.

    Zen, meditation. This kinda stuff.



  • @kt_ I don't think it is rubbish. I don't like the religious aspects.


  • Dupa

    @lucas1 said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ I don't think it is rubbish. I don't like the religious aspects.

    It isn't rubbish, by at the same time it is rubbidh. It is rubbish for some and some who don't find it rubbidh will die as a whole but live forever. ;):bow_and_arrow:



  • @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    Someone likes paradoxes to much.

    Is this your first encounter with Zen?



  • I used to think Christianity was a load of rubbish until I understood where the metaphor about the snake came from.



  • Perhaps these will help:

    One afternoon a student said "Roshi, I don't really understand what's going on. I mean, we sit in zazen and we gassho to each other and everything, and Felicia got enlightened when the bottom fell out of her water-bucket, and Todd got enlightened when you popped him one with your staff, and people work on koans and get enlightened, but I've been doing this for two years now, and the koans don't make any sense, and I don't feel enlightened at all! Can you just tell me what's going on?"

    "Well you see," Roshi replied, "for most people, and especially for most educated people like you and I, what we perceive and experience is heavily mediated, through language and concepts that are deeply ingrained in our ways of thinking and feeling. Our objective here is to induce in ourselves and in each other a psychological state that involves the unmediated experience of the world, because we believe that that state has certain desirable properties. It's impossible in general to reach that state through any particular form or method, since forms and methods are themselves examples of the mediators that we are trying to avoid. So we employ a variety of ad hoc means, some linguistic like koans and some non-linguistic like zazen, in hopes that for any given student one or more of our methods will, in whatever way, engender the condition of non-mediated experience that is our goal. And since even thinking in terms of mediators and goals tends to reinforce our undesirable dependency on concepts, we actively discourage exactly this kind of analytical discourse."

    And the student was enlightened.

    Then there are the classics:

    Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine

    A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.

    Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”

    Knight turned the machine off and on.

    The machine worked.



  • @kt_ "I will read about a subject as if it was literal when it obviously isn't supposed to be taken literally." ... then wonder why you don't understand it.



  • They know what is what, but they don't know what is what.



  • My therapist recommended this book.

    IDR but it is not too woo.



  • @boomzilla said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    Someone likes paradoxes to much.

    Is this your first encounter with Zen?

    AKA YMBNTZ


  • Dupa

    @boomzilla said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    Someone likes paradoxes to much.

    Is this your first encounter with Zen?

    Yes. It isn't such a big thing in Poland.


  • Dupa

    @lucas1 said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ "I will read about a subject as if it was literal when it obviously isn't supposed to be taken literally." ... then wonder why you don't understand it.

    Sure, if that floats your boat, go ahead and do just that.



  • If there's a yes/no question, you can answer "yes" if you think the statement is true, "no" if you think the statement is false, or "mu" to un-ask the question.


  • sockdevs

    @kt_ it's not copyright infringement if you're providing a sort of review or critique...


  • Dupa

    @Arantor said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ it's not copyright infringement if you're providing a sort of review or critique...

    I guess this is a critical review, then, isn't it?


  • sockdevs

    @kt_ it's very critical indeed. On the one hand it is critical of the style and content of the book, on the other hand it is of critical importance that we are advised on whether we should read this book.


  • Dupa

    @Arantor said in The Fun of Zen:

    @kt_ it's very critical indeed. On the one hand it is critical of the style and content of the book, on the other hand it is of critical importance that we are advised on whether we should read this book.

    You could actually say it is a positive review, because I say that you should go ahead and read it. Maybe I should be paid for this, or something?



  • @kt_ sounds like you need to practice your doublethink...


  • :belt_onion:

    @kt_ You must see the movie:



  • A serious young man found the conflicts of mid 20th Century America confusing. He went to many people seeking a way of resolving within himself the discords that troubled him, but he remained troubled.

    One night in a coffee house, a self-ordained Zen Master said to him, "go to the dilapidated mansion you will find at this address which I have written down for you. Do not speak to those who live there; you must remain silent until the moon rises tomorrow night. Go to the large room on the right of the main hallway, sit in the lotus position on top of the rubble in the northeast corner, face the corner, and meditate."

    He did just as the Zen Master instructed. His meditation was frequently interrupted by worries. He worried whether or not the rest of the plumbing fixtures would fall from the second floor bathroom to join the pipes and other trash he was sitting on. He worried how would he know when the moon rose on the next night. He worried about what the people who walked through the room said about him.

    His worrying and meditation were disturbed when, as if in a test of his faith, ordure fell from the second floor onto him. At that time two people walked into the room. The first asked the second who the man was sitting there was. The second replied "Some say he is a holy man. Others say he is a shithead."

    Hearing this, the man was enlightened.



  • @Karla said in The Fun of Zen:

    My therapist recommended this book.

    I've found these Zenbooks to be useful


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Rhywden was that one from Macalypse the Younger himself?


  • Impossible Mission Players - A



  • @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    If there's a yes/no question, you can answer "yes" if you think the statement is true, "no" if you think the statement is false, or "mu" to un-ask the question.

    Gods, that brings back memories of Escher, Gödel, Bach: The Eternal Golden Braid, that I read ... um ... a fair while ago, let's say.



  • @Steve_The_Cynic said in The Fun of Zen:

    @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    If there's a yes/no question, you can answer "yes" if you think the statement is true, "no" if you think the statement is false, or "mu" to un-ask the question.

    Gods, that brings back memories of Escher, Gödel, Escher, Bach: TheAn Eternal Golden Braid, that I read ... um ... a fair while ago, let's say.

    That book is where I learned the concept of mu.



  • the key is understanding that these things are written for poetic effect, not clarity. with that in mind, reading it becomes relatively straightforward:

    @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    „The position expresses the oneness of duality: not two, and not one. This is the most important teaching: not two, and not one. Our body and mind are not two and not one. If you think your body and mind are two, that is wrong; if you think that they are one, that is also wrong. Our body and mind are both two and one. We usually think that if something is not one, it is more than one; if it is not singular, it is plural. But in actual experience, our life is not only plural, but also singular. Each one of us is both dependent and independent.”

    So wait, it's one but it's not one? It's multiple but it's not multiple? Someone likes paradoxes to much. You know who usually loves paradoxes? Teenagers. But ok, let's act as if nothing happens, these are supposed to be the teachings of the east.l, maybe it'll get better later on.

    your body and mind are two parts of one whole, working as a whole, interdependent, intercommunicating, while at the same time both are separate enough for their autonomous processes to cause seemingly "causeless" effects in the other part of the whole. pretty straightforward i'd say. applies to most things, other people&society, for example.

    @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    „After some years we will die. If we just think that it is the end of our life, this will be the wrong understanding.”

    That's actually like the very next sentence. Of my fucking god, I need to go through an "eternal life passage first" before I start reading something interesting? Ok, let's do this, maybe there'll be something about reincarnation?

    „But, on the other hand, if we think that we do not die, this is also wrong. We die, and we do not die. This is the right understanding.”

    :wtf:? Seriously? Another paradox that doesn't make any fucking sense?

    within any system allowing afterlife this is true. again, if you think having afterlife means you will still be mostly you as it is now, you're wrong. and if you think it will cease to exist completely, again wrong. it will (at the very least within this philosophy) be you dissolved in/intermixed with everything else. you, but not you. died == changed, but not died == completely different. Same principle as above, what they're (always, as i've noticed) trying to say is that things are a scale, a line, and people tend to try and describe these lines either by one of the defining points (which is the wrongest approach), or by the two extremes, which is (less, but still) wrong, because ultimately they're talking about the whole line, the space defined by the points they named.

    @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    „Some people may say that our mind or soul exists forever, and it is only our physical body which dies. But this is not exactly right, because both mind and body have their end. But at the same time it is also true that they exist eternally. And even though we say mind and body, they are actually two sides of one coin. This is the right understanding.”

    „If you discriminate too much, you limit yourself. If you are too demanding or too greedy, your mind is not rich and self-sufficient. If we lose our original self-sufficient mind, we will lose all precepts. When your mind becomes demanding, when you long for something, you will end up violating your own precepts: not to tell lies, not to steal, not to kill, not to be immoral, and so forth. If you keep your original mind, the precepts will keep themselves.”

    I mean, how? So many assertions, no proof, not even a hint of wanting to give one. And I'm saying, not even a hint of the religious kind of proof, just talking about feels to get people to nod their heads, it's easy to get them going from there, right?

    „The beginner's mind is the mind of compassion. When our mind is compassionate, it is boundless."

    see above.

    +"compassionate" as in "willing to at least for a moment, hypothetically, replace your whole set of beliefs with a set of someone else's, to be able to view things from their position, or (m)any other positions". therefore really exploring the whole scale/line between the two points, two extremes, the "two sides of the paradox" they go on about, instead of just stating the endpoints and handwaving "oh yeah, and there's varieties in between i guess".

    not saying I agree or disagree with what they said. I don't care nor think about whether i agree or disagree with this kind of stuff anymore, only whether I understand what they meant and whether it makes sense at least within their own view ( = internal consistency).



  • @kt_ Monads. The completed union of two things in opposition. There is "you" and the "outside world", and yet they are one. There is the player and the game, and yet they need each other to be what they are. Etc.

    What your "original mind" is, is sort of the point of Buddhism. Your original mind is your Buddha nature, as opposed to all of the survival instinct and other baggage your mind has taken on since you were born. You can turn off the negative aspects of your mind by meditating, which takes you back to your original mind once you have enough practice at it.

    I'm not a huge fan of zen -- I prefer Theravadin Buddhism, but all the traditions just use different frameworks to reach the same goal.



  • *What did the Zen master say to the hot-dog vendor?

    Make me one with everything.*

    Thank you, I'll be here all week.


  • Dupa

    @sh_code, @Captain, oh, screw you, coming to my shallow rant thread and spoiling it with thoughts and knowledge!

    Seriously though, I find every religion funny, no matter its name or origin.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    It is so simple that you do not see it. If you immediately know the candlelight is fire, then the meal was cooked a long time ago.



  • @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in The Fun of Zen:

    @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    If there's a yes/no question, you can answer "yes" if you think the statement is true, "no" if you think the statement is false, or "mu" to un-ask the question.

    Gods, that brings back memories of Escher, Gödel, Escher, Bach: TheAn Eternal Golden Braid, that I read ... um ... a fair while ago, let's say.

    That book is where I learned the concept of mu.

    Yeah, it might even have been that one. I said it had been a while...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @slavdude said in The Fun of Zen:

    *What did the Zen master say to the hot-dog vendor?

    Make me one with everything.*

    Thank you, I'll be here all week.

    After paying with a £50 note, the Zen master asks for his change

    "Change comes from within"



  • @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    @Steve_The_Cynic said in The Fun of Zen:

    @ben_lubar said in The Fun of Zen:

    If there's a yes/no question, you can answer "yes" if you think the statement is true, "no" if you think the statement is false, or "mu" to un-ask the question.

    Gods, that brings back memories of Escher, Gödel, Escher, Bach: TheAn Eternal Golden Braid, that I read ... um ... a fair while ago, let's say.

    That book is where I learned the concept of mu.

    GEB has mu, while WTF has File not Found.



  • That's all just well enough, because in reality there is only room enough in this world for one Mojo Jojo. One shall be the number of Mojo Jojos in the world, and the number of Mojo Jojos in the world shall be one. Two Mojo Jojos is too many, and three is right out. So the only Mojo Jojo there is room for in the world shall be me.





  • @kt_ said in The Fun of Zen:

    So, paradoxes all the way. But not only that, there's also bad writing, to complete the usual religious experience:

    Uh... I suppose...

    "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words." - Jesus



  • @sh_code said in The Fun of Zen:

    your body and mind are two parts of one whole, working as a whole, interdependent, intercommunicating, while at the same time both are separate enough for their autonomous processes to cause seemingly "causeless" effects in the other part of the whole. pretty straightforward i'd say. applies to most things, other people&society, for example.

    I can take most wispy sappy spiritual proverbs and come up with something reasonable to "explain" them.

    But it's not whether there can be an explanation, but whether the instructor/author understands there being such a thing, and whether they can effectively communicate this.

    Otherwise you're just dealing with subjective perception of meaningless dribble.



  • @Maciejasjmj said in The Fun of Zen:

    Filed under: if a functional program runs, but has no side effects, did it actually run?

    mu


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @xaade said in The Fun of Zen:

    Otherwise you're just dealing with subjective perception of meaningless dribble.

    Religion in a nutshell


  • Dupa

    @Jaloopa said in The Fun of Zen:

    @xaade said in The Fun of Zen:

    Otherwise you're just dealing with subjective perception of meaningless dribble.

    Religion in a nutshell

    QFT.


  • Impossible Mission Players - A

    @Jaloopa said in The Fun of Zen:

    @slavdude said in The Fun of Zen:

    *What did the Zen master say to the hot-dog vendor?

    Make me one with everything.*

    Thank you, I'll be here all week.

    After paying with a £50 note, the Zen master asks for his change

    "Change comes from within"

    :giggity:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @xaade said in The Fun of Zen:

    But it's not whether there can be an explanation, but whether the instructor/author understands there being such a thing, and whether they can effectively communicate this.

    The point is that things can have natures that are both apart from the whole and united with the whole, and it is wrong to deny either of those natures, yet our very use of language forces us to draw this arguably false distinction since the true nature of the things must necessarily be unitary and all-encompassing. Which sounds trivial and isn't. To truly understand a thing, we must understand all the aspects by which that thing can be viewed (including the aspects that deny it is a thing at all) and remember that each is but a partial reading of the actual truth, as our perceptions are always necessarily partial. Our understanding is not required to be partial, but it is difficult to understand even so much as a grain of sand fully, much less something alive or sentient, due to the sheer number of possible facets.

    I not into all the mystical side of Zen (and other types of Buddhism) but at least some of the philosophical concepts involved are entirely reasonable. It's why, for all the differences on matters of reincarnation, scientists and Buddhists tend to get on fairly well (by comparison with most other religions).



  • @dkf

    “Facets, Matthew. Each facet catches the light in its own way. It glints and sparkles and flashes uniquely. It would almost be possible to believe that the facet was the jewel; not just a tiny part of it. But, then, as we move the jewel another facet catches the light."

    "So? What's your point?"

    "My point? I have no point, Matthew. Save for the jewel, and the facets, and the light. We see an aspect of the whole. But the facet is not the jewel....”
    ― Neil Gaiman, The Kindly Ones



  • @dkf said in The Fun of Zen:

    To truly understand a thing, we must understand all the aspects by which that thing can be viewed (including the aspects that deny it is a thing at all) and remember that each is but a partial reading of the actual truth, as our perceptions are always necessarily partial. Our understanding is not required to be partial, but it is difficult to understand even so much as a grain of sand fully, much less something alive or sentient, due to the sheer number of possible facets.

    0_1496317048099_80f6506b-b871-4d0b-bef6-7a5cf404e16a-image.png



  • @xaade said in The Fun of Zen:

    and whether they can effectively communicate this.

    that's precisely the opposite of the intention, for various reasons, one (the most cynincal) being:
    you want your religion's statements to be as fuzzy and widely interpretable as possible, so they can be used to as wide a range of situations as possible, freely interpretable in any way needed to justify the opinion/reaction you decided you want to have, because that's how religions work. by this "universality" caused by the fuzziness, the statement gets an aura of being so wise (because how it would be so readily applicable to such a huge number of things and situations? and how it could be discussed about in such lengths, if it werent about us mere mortals trying to understand something Godly Wise?)

    and one less/least cynical being: the author knows precisely what he means and he chooses to communicate it in a very specific type of ineffective way, engineered such that from how people explain / reformulate it, he can distinguish who really understood what he meant, the whole principle of the whole philosophy, not just that single statement, and who didn't.

    i sometimes use the latter approach when explaining certain things, it tends to be more effective and yields more truthful information than asking people "do you understand what I mean?". with the bonus of showing you exactly what and how they misunderstand, thus giving you the opportunity to learn how that person's mind/thought process works, so you can adjust the explanation for that, to get it closer to their native way of understanding.



  • @sh_code

    Good thing Jesus never explained anything, then.

    Matthew 13:36-37

    36 When Jesus had left the crowd and gone indoors, his disciples came to him and said, “Tell us what the parable about the weeds in the field means.”
    37 Jesus answered, “The man who sowed the good seed is...



  • @dkf said in The Fun of Zen:

    The point is

    :whoosh:

    The point is none of that was effectively communicated by the material the OP read.



  • @kt_ All I am saying is that maybe you should think about it differently. I used to be very Militant Atheist and a lot of my posts on here reflect this. I have since changed my tune a little after learning that it is an allegory for a lot of bits.


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