From: Metaqualia (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Feb 24 2004 - 04:52:38 MST
> What I'm talking about are the kinds of realizations that you get from
> plunging yourself deep into meditation.... You can get pretty far beyond
> your individual self and you can feel the insubstantiality and
> nature of the everyday world....
Ok you are talking about meditation, I am not saying that meditation is not
useful. Any highly mindful state is useful whether it is introspective as in
meditation or examining the outside as in scientific discovery.
I am talking about what so-called zen masters passed down to us, the
"stories" and parables of zen. Those are not useful in my views.
Hofstaedter correctly classifies zen stories as a kind of rethorical device
to take the listener outside of a system of categorization. They go as far
as possible to reject any kind of categorization. But we know that without
categorization sentience is impossible, so their attempt is not only futile
(can't stop thinking the way you do, it's your cognitive framework) but
misguided. Though entertaining!
At any rate whatever you get out of zen by reading the loose and creative
translations of western authors is probably more than the original author
put into it! :)
To get the feeling behind this stuff you need to at least read it in the
original language, after some experience living with the natives. After I
drove my chinese girlfriend crazy with this stuff for years I finally had
the time to learn some chinese and now I agree with her that laozi is just
an old man and cool people don't quote him at dinner :)
> Zen in any meaningful way, you need to meditate a lot -- I guess there's
> other way. Personally I do NOT meditate a lot -- I used to meditate
See, that is a concrete advice which contains information (you need to...)
but a zen master doesn't care for information he wants you to stop making
such a big fuss out of the difference between needing to and not needing to.
He would say that the best way is to not meditate at all, and then another
cooler guy would come up and say that you must meditate but not meditate,
then an older one would go still farther beyond categorization and propose
an absolutely unrelated concept such as wash your bowl, but right after
that, the coolest guy would amputate the younger guy's finger which would
completely wipe out the categorizing ideas that were formed in his mind, and
then he'd be enlightened and stop worrying about zen and go do something
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