Many will say 'Zen is not a philosophy' well.. Zen/Ch'an Buddhism is the most written about school of thought involving Buddhist traditions, so... That is nonsense to me, to say, and this is simply my journal and scattered view points.
I recommend reading the early history and evolution of Zen (Ch'an) Buddhism, and how it became where it is today... The original Patriarchs hold the key to the rebellious movement of thought that is now a 'mainstream' practice...
The following are 'streams of consciousness' involving my responses and understanding of Zen. They will organized further in the future. I feel publishing them now can do no harm besides insight debates from others, which is what I would like to do. Enjoy.
I mainly do Zazen, with variations at times, and with the exception of group or guided.
The idea is simple, but has taken me 3 years to focus on just doing the basics:
*Sit with a straight relaxed back
*Legs crossed. Lotus or half lotus position. Pillow if necessary.
*Hands with fingers relaxed on top of other hand, palms up.
*Thumbs just-not-touching, always, maintain it.
*Eyes half shut. Staring at a space on the ground a foot or so away from you.
*Focus on maintaining this posture for the entire duration of meditation
*Count breaths to 10; either every inhale and exhale, or every other (which is harder)
(I do not like staring at walls, it seems... wrong, I do not have words for it. Watching others walk by will not matter while you are maintaining your body postures.)
- I do Zazen when/if I can throughout the day; 20-30 min intervals or -when planned- hour sit sessions -to about- three hour yoga/meditation sessions.
If I am waiting for a friend, I shut my eyes half way and sit on a bench or stoop and keep my thumbs just a part with my back straight. I maintain good posture...
When I am not thinking straight... I been caught pretending to be in the bathroom, to otherwise Zazen on the toilet seat (obviously not in a lotus position).
Any normal sitting I would have lotus or half lotus leg positions for yoga purposes; it's a minor exercise and adds another posture to maintain. The idea, or lack of thinking, I am mainly worried about is my posture and position. I want to maintain, and concentrate on, the *above* basics. It's a lot harder than most people think! It has taken a great deal of time to realize, I want to multitask as a thinking thing, lol. Zazen let's me realize I am always doing, what I am not doing while I do both.
I imagine a true guru and/or yogi would find my basics none sense, lol, but I respect a person whom is able to focus on focusing or otherwise not-focusing, for days at a time.
I however, only need some drinking water from the well of consciousness, I do not need to swim in it!
Zazen is basic meditation which means it is some of the most difficult. But that can only be argued by the practice and the philosophy that follows; 'the shadow of our mind creeps in while we turn to look at it' 'we are making up our realities ourselves with these machine brains' 'the mind is a question, that should be answered' 'illusions are relative, subjective and objectively measured - just like reality' 'admitting to knowing less than known'
This^ stream of consciousness is what I have taken out of Zazen. Because, while I adjust and maintain and readjust... I am remembering how I am not designed to do this... I am naturally designed to be an animal, active human - but, this is why we sit, to not just be active, but to be responsive - not just reacting, but consciously aware of reaction.
We have no minds without others, yet my mind is independent of others..
We believe we can know the truth, but what we forget is we only know we think we know the truth...
We can only know what we see - should only trust half of it, but trust the halves of others.
We are our minds.
Zen thinking is not constant thinking.
.... Not static thinking.
... what is called 'No Mind' thinking...
It's a balance. A struggling middle way - neither type of thinking is valid nor invalid; neither physicalism nor holism.
And once found, the middle place, should then be forgotten. Yet if you're a student like me, and cannot forget what you find. Continue to read.
There are a-balances, anti-balances in conceptualization, not in reality... But, only in chaos do they exist. Crisis is where we find chaotic states of knowing. Yet there is no real chaos besides our ignorance of the order. Handling new crisis with the knowledge of the previous-past and the wisdom of the pending-future, is no different than handling the current moment with a soft grasp and softer mentality. Crisis is where words limit our ability to express nature, the struggles of those walking towards the way.
Our minds are that of nature. In constant crisis with static constructions.. Naturalizing the way we perceive our realities is how we paint them brighter and with more efficiencies of color choice. Wider and more vast with and when equating our mind to nature.
This allows us, conceptually, to be able to not need a different word for human and nature. That's zen.
can know no category is natural, and maintain a natural attitude. We
can know concepts are based on beliefs and experience, and keep that in
perspective when we use said concepts. WE can even know what someone
means by "reality" based on how they are using it in conversation, and
still be able to think about questions relative to the word "reality"
quietly in our heads.
What the Buddha meant was neither was substantial to explain reality in entirety. However he would teach lessons from both, when they applied more fully.
Chan Buddhist revived zen on premises, and the basics, that permeate all eastern traditions and not just Buddhism, thus why some scholars say zen is Buddhism and Taoism in perfect harmony.
This harmony prevents ego from being master... The question I always am concerned with is how to treat the ego. Because although it is not eternal, it is part of our ability to understand the eternal.
Ordinary mind... I come to it when I read the psychologies of brain, social and culture studies. I get there when I see myself in everyone else.
Non-ego state of mind is permanently impermanent, a paradox to believe is possible. Which is why intuition is our greatest ally and foe. Reality is an illusion we build up with more illusions until the collapse into revelations.
Rationalism is not the best, but better than empiricism. And rationalism should never neglect empiricism and vice versa. Empiricism could override rationality.
The middle way is not a way that rejects, but a way that finds the most acceptance.
person may be a result of their actions and be able to be identified by
their actions, but witnessing the action of others does not mean you
know the entirety of their actions or reasons for them.
may walk into a room with a man beating a woman... But did you know she
killed his child from post-trama of being a new mother? You react by
stopping him, but if you FULLY knew his emotions, you would
join him? Probably not... but then feel empathy for him also.. And if you knew her emotions you would join her... Maybe not, but again the empathy.. Or perhaps yes to both... Because we would KNOW their exact motives (while externally wrong, internally justified..) There are
infinite things we cannot know and they begin with what will be the
ripples of our actions later, from now.
that is why we live
in the moment, to make sure our actions do not ripple further than we
can see or control. Discipline of the Buddha, is discipline of our mind
always enjoyed the idea of a triality being superior to duality. What's
to stop us then come considering quadalities as being then more
A perspective of three or four does seem to fit our cognitive minds.
It's been proven we remember better in chunks of 3-4 better than longer
chunks. Like our telephone numbers for example. Power points are better
when they stick to 3-4 pieces of information per slide....
But Zen does little to talk of 3's. Taoism has more references as 3 and
more are the children of one the father and two the mother.
Believing we can know one causes destruction in mind and world.
Following two is where we will find peace. And using three and the rest
to do better in knowing and following.
problem with most existential arguments is the lack of reflection
towards 'caregiving' - without our mothers we would not be here, able to
communicate our thoughts - in the first place.
to understand we have more than one mind, involves at least one mind -
so whether or not we make ourselves more minds, we have at least one.
*I began to write a lot and decided to just make it a blog entry, to
not be overbearing here. Also, to give a more full personal and
'alternative' opinion about "what is mind?" "what is ordinary mind?" and
to talk about the 2 minds that effect the 1 which is the conscious "self." I will post it later*
Paradigms considering an Embodied Cognition involve questions of how
our body thinks, and it affects the way WE think -and/or- how much is it
involved and not-involved during normal thinking?
We are born
into a random 1. environment [with random skin, brain capacities,
personality, influences of religion/culture/society), with a randomly 2.
physiological imprint of a human being (with seemingly - constructed
sex desires, goal-orientations, self actualization desires, metaphysical
desires), while also having the [perhaps paradoxically] 3. natural
desire for an ego; a self-identified Self; who you think you are as a
"you." This 'egotist' mind is perhaps due to the irrational mechanism in
our mind that tells us to "individualize to survive." Rejecting the ego
is long understood as such* rejecting the individualization of the self
and still survive paradoxical as a self.
mind... no such thing, it's a myth of philosophy. The basic brain... the
simple mind... the normal person... Zen does well to be and not to
YET What the mind, psyche, brain and social
sciences can do to answer Zen concerns, would be .. revolutionary for
societies... Practical mechanics of philosophy and psychology would be
an everyday practice of children lol.
we are all the exactly the same - what makes us different are facets of
cultures, religions, communities, families, belief systems,
personalities, intelligence, and much more
But once we realize
'diversity factors' - like the above and including sex, age, race,
monetary class, sexual preferences... Can actually be summed up into
We will realize we all have the
'differences' which makes us more alike than different. We all have the
above diversity factors and social experiences - what divide us are
them, not us.
Zen is and is not - the* understanding the nature of paradox..
To simplify it, loses it value, but why?
If this picture shows anything, it shows all the practical uses of Zen. If Zen became a paradigm on science I would become a scientist.. But I am afraid of advanced math... So instead I imply the lessons Zen (Zazen and natural reflections) teaches and try to imply them to psychology (in both philosophy and science)!
What is limited... is perspective... If anything, Zen teaches us to understand the nature of perspective.. If we are to go beyond Zen, we must realize we also never achieve and go beyond Zen. But we can try. *Like when we try to sit for days, but cannot and should not sit for days.* *Is like what we can and cannot take away from Zen