Currently reading: Walden by Henry David Thoreau 📚
Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments. If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive the only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence—that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.
Finished reading: The Way of Zen by Alan Watts 📚
There’s a concise history of sorts in this book about Zen Buddhism and its evolution from Taoism and Confucianism as well as the roots of it from India.
However, I basically ended up skipping most of the first section. The meat of this book resides under “Part Two: Principles and Practice,” particularly sections (or chapters) 1 & 2 titled “Empty and Marvelous” and “Sitting. Quietly, Doing Nothing” respectively.
A few highlights:
Presence! This is something that definitely awakens once you have a kid.
On the contrary, the measuring of worth and success in terms of time, and the insistent demand for assurances of a future, make it impossible to live freely both in the promising present and in the “promising” future when it arrives. For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one can- not live anywhere.
I like this idea of not clinging to the past, not dwelling on the future (you’ll never know it) but to keep moving…
The identification of the mind with its own image is, therefore, paralyzing because the image is fixed-it is past and finished. But it is a fixed image of oneself in motion! To cling to it is thus to be in constant contradiction and conflict. Hence Yün-men’s saying, “In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” In other words, the mind cannot act without giving up the impossible attempt to control itself beyond a certain point. It must let go of itself both in the sense of trusting its own memory and reflection, and in the sense of acting spontaneously, on its own into the unknown.
This is why Zen often seems to take the side of action as against reflection, and why it describes itself as “no-mind” (wu-hsin) or “no-thought” (wu-nien), and why the masters demonstrate Zen by giving instantaneous and unpremeditated answers to questions. When Yün-men was asked for the ultimate secret of Buddhism, he replied, “Dumpling!”
In regards to meditation, the West often has a hard time to just sit. It’s seen as a “waste of time.” We can also see in other religions0 that it is to always just be in action. However we should stop and consider…
…it should be obvious that action without wisdom, without clear awareness of the world as it really is, can never improve anything.
Currently reading: The Way of Zen by Alan Watts 📚
Each of the other senses might similarly be used to illustrate the “non-active” functioning of the mind-listening without straining to hear, smelling without strong inhalation, tasting without screwing up the tongue, and touching without pressing the object. Each is a special instance of the mental function which works through all, and which Chinese designates with the peculiar word hsin.”
This term is so important for the understanding of Zen that some attempt must be made to say what Taoism and Chinese thought in general take it to mean.’ We usually translate it as “mind” or “heart,” but neither of these words is satisfactory. The original form of the ideograph seems to be a picture of the heart, or perhaps of the lungs or the liver, and when a Chinese speaks of the hsin he will often point to the center of his chest, slightly lower than the heart.
Finished reading: Blood-Soaked Buddha/Hard Earth Pascal 📚
Well that went down quick… will need to let this digest. I can say this is without a doubt going to be my #1 read for the year… If you’re slightly intrigued just buy it, be mindful and enjoy.
Currently reading: Blood-Soaked Buddha/Hard Earth Pascal 📚 🤯
Currently reading: The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins 📚
“Lying, as rule for life, is inherently unstable. More generally, selfishness, or free-riding parasitism on the goodwill of others, may work for me as a lone selfish individual and give me personal satisfaction. But I cannot wish that everybody would adopt selfish parasitism as a moral principle, if only because then I would have nobody to parasitize.”
Here’s hoping for a better four years…