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ZEN - Teacherless Knowledge and the Ocean of Your Own Essence

 
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25 May 2017 18:25
 
hannahtoo - 25 May 2017 06:02 PM

Unsmoked:
Zen masters talk about removing ‘thousands and thousands of layers of sweaty shirts sticking to our skin.”  Unlike all other living things, are we maleficent under all those sweaty shirts?

No, why would you think so?  Maybe too much Bible as a young child, like Isaiah 64:6—But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe we have the urges and capacities for both goodness and evil.  We are not one thing deep down.

Right - not just a bright moon or a cesspool.  We have to learn to control the cesspool.

 
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25 May 2017 20:39
 
Jb8989 - 25 May 2017 01:56 PM
NL. - 25 May 2017 01:08 PM
unsmoked - 24 May 2017 12:15 PM

Q:  Are humans the only living beings who cover their original nature with floating clouds?  What are the floating clouds? 

I appreciate all of your responses.

(Fenyang quoted from the book, ‘ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom’ - translated and edited by Thomas Cleary)


I think the ‘official’ Buddhist answer is that yes, the minds of some other beings are ‘cloudier’ than humans, as animal existence is considered a lower realm (maybe even a hell realm) compared to human existence. That said, the Dalai Lama has also given a nod, to my mind, to some aspects of pantheism when he has noted that a spider is able to make a web - something that he, even with all his training and wisdom - still cannot do. And it is hard to look at the frenetic pace of human lives in 2017 and then watch a cat or dog curled up contentedly by a fireplace and think that they do not have more talent in the ‘contentedness’ arena than most of us.

I always wondered if the whole dogs are happier than us thing exists. On one hand, they clearly exhibit and experience happiness, sadness and depression. On the other,  who the hell knows what it actually feels like to them. Still, I gotta say that my experience is that they’re way easier to entertain than humans. There’s something to be said about that.


Yeah, I don’t know if there were a lot of pet dogs in the Buddha’s day, so possibly one has to factor that in to his observations on the relative fortunateness of animal existence. The existence of animals in the wild is a whole different ballgame - I find I’ve become so acclimated to rounding up wandering pups (there are many in suburbia, they get out of their yards occasionally,) that sometimes when I see a rabbit or fox I think “Oh no, I should call the humane society! That little guy could get hit by a car or starve or be eaten by a coyote out here!” before I remember that there is no safety net for woodland creatures.

 
 
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26 May 2017 13:13
 
EN - 25 May 2017 06:25 PM
hannahtoo - 25 May 2017 06:02 PM

Unsmoked:
Zen masters talk about removing ‘thousands and thousands of layers of sweaty shirts sticking to our skin.”  Unlike all other living things, are we maleficent under all those sweaty shirts?

No, why would you think so?  Maybe too much Bible as a young child, like Isaiah 64:6—But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe we have the urges and capacities for both goodness and evil.  We are not one thing deep down.

Right - not just a bright moon or a cesspool.  We have to learn to control the cesspool.

Hannah, did you notice I was asking a question?  One reason I asked is because EN said earlier that he’d likely be in prison if he relied only on the instincts he was born with.

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26 May 2017 19:36
 
unsmoked - 26 May 2017 01:13 PM
EN - 25 May 2017 06:25 PM
hannahtoo - 25 May 2017 06:02 PM

Unsmoked:
Zen masters talk about removing ‘thousands and thousands of layers of sweaty shirts sticking to our skin.”  Unlike all other living things, are we maleficent under all those sweaty shirts?

No, why would you think so?  Maybe too much Bible as a young child, like Isaiah 64:6—But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe we have the urges and capacities for both goodness and evil.  We are not one thing deep down.

Right - not just a bright moon or a cesspool.  We have to learn to control the cesspool.

Hannah, did you notice I was asking a question?  One reason I asked is because EN said earlier that he’d likely be in prison if he relied only on the instincts he was born with.

I disagree with EN (this probably reflects his Christian background).  I guess that’s why you asked the question. 

I think that believing people are naturally sinful has bad consequences.  This POV can lead to dismissing non-Christian humanity as hopeless sinners, thus making it easier to care less about their fate.  Yeah, I know, Christians are always keen to evangelize the lost sheep.  But also, if they try and are rebuffed, they can feel justified shaking the dust off their feet and moving on, leaving the non-believers to harsh judgment.

 
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27 May 2017 11:18
 
hannahtoo - 26 May 2017 07:36 PM
unsmoked - 26 May 2017 01:13 PM
EN - 25 May 2017 06:25 PM
hannahtoo - 25 May 2017 06:02 PM

Unsmoked:
Zen masters talk about removing ‘thousands and thousands of layers of sweaty shirts sticking to our skin.”  Unlike all other living things, are we maleficent under all those sweaty shirts?

No, why would you think so?  Maybe too much Bible as a young child, like Isaiah 64:6—But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

As I’ve said many times before, I believe we have the urges and capacities for both goodness and evil.  We are not one thing deep down.

Right - not just a bright moon or a cesspool.  We have to learn to control the cesspool.

Hannah, did you notice I was asking a question?  One reason I asked is because EN said earlier that he’d likely be in prison if he relied only on the instincts he was born with.

I disagree with EN (this probably reflects his Christian background).  I guess that’s why you asked the question. 

I think that believing people are naturally sinful has bad consequences.  This POV can lead to dismissing non-Christian humanity as hopeless sinners, thus making it easier to care less about their fate.  Yeah, I know, Christians are always keen to evangelize the lost sheep.  But also, if they try and are rebuffed, they can feel justified shaking the dust off their feet and moving on, leaving the non-believers to harsh judgment.

Maybe EN is thinking that some male instincts would land us in jail if given free reign?  Is Trump at age 70 just now learning what most boys learn at puberty by being aware of cause and effect?  Can being a millionaire buffer a person from the usual lessons of cause and effect?  We can see our pets learning quickly from cause and effect.  In the wild, they may not get the chance to make the same mistake twice.

 
 
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27 May 2017 14:13
 
hannahtoo - 26 May 2017 07:36 PM

[

I think that believing people are naturally sinful has bad consequences.  This POV can lead to dismissing non-Christian humanity as hopeless sinners, thus making it easier to care less about their fate.  Yeah, I know, Christians are always keen to evangelize the lost sheep.  But also, if they try and are rebuffed, they can feel justified shaking the dust off their feet and moving on, leaving the non-believers to harsh judgment.

I didn’t say anything about sin or God.  My view is based entirely on evolution. We have a violent past, and before we evolved a cortex we basically had a reptilian brain that didn’t have any peaceful floating clouds at its core.  If I say anything you think it’s my Christian upbringing.  You should look at my words and not your own prejudices.

 
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27 May 2017 14:14
 
unsmoked - 27 May 2017 11:18 AM

[
Maybe EN is thinking that some male instincts would land us in jail if given free reign?  Is Trump at age 70 just now learning what most boys learn at puberty by being aware of cause and effect?  Can being a millionaire buffer a person from the usual lessons of cause and effect?  We can see our pets learning quickly from cause and effect.  In the wild, they may not get the chance to make the same mistake twice.

This is closer to my position. Without a doubt some male instincts can land us in jail and they do every single day, resulting in millions of dudes doing jail time. You are right about Trump.

 
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27 May 2017 19:57
 
EN - 27 May 2017 02:13 PM
hannahtoo - 26 May 2017 07:36 PM

[

I think that believing people are naturally sinful has bad consequences.  This POV can lead to dismissing non-Christian humanity as hopeless sinners, thus making it easier to care less about their fate.  Yeah, I know, Christians are always keen to evangelize the lost sheep.  But also, if they try and are rebuffed, they can feel justified shaking the dust off their feet and moving on, leaving the non-believers to harsh judgment.

I didn’t say anything about sin or God.  My view is based entirely on evolution. We have a violent past, and before we evolved a cortex we basically had a reptilian brain that didn’t have any peaceful floating clouds at its core.  If I say anything you think it’s my Christian upbringing.  You should look at my words and not your own prejudices.

Different religions see human nature differently.  Some see it as godly, some as sinful, some as ying-and-yang, etc.  So the view that humanity is sinful is not a universal conclusion from our history.  Sure, you may wanna punch me (well maybe if I was a guy?).  But still, you might jump in the river to save my drowning son just ‘cause that’s a natural impulse too.  There’s a difference between saying we have some nasty tendencies and saying our underpinnings are nasty.  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

Every time I went to church, our leaders reminded the congregation of our sin nature.  That’s the whole reason we need to be saved after all.  I don’t think it would be surprising if hearing that over and over would influence your views.  There are wonderful, kind, compassionate Christians.  There are also those who are judgmental.  I guess I know people of both types pretty well.  I apologize for being negative.  Every philosophy has good and bad.

 
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28 May 2017 06:03
 
hannahtoo - 27 May 2017 07:57 PM

  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

The point is that they rely on instinct and quick reaction, not reasoned thought.  We have that aspect in us and sometimes we rely on it.  There is no “inner Buddha”, but there is an inner snake.  We have to learn to act according to reason rather than instinct.  That is the point of my posts.

[ Edited: 28 May 2017 06:06 by EN]
 
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28 May 2017 07:13
 
EN - 28 May 2017 06:03 AM
hannahtoo - 27 May 2017 07:57 PM

  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

The point is that they rely on instinct and quick reaction, not reasoned thought.  We have that aspect in us and sometimes we rely on it.  There is no “inner Buddha”, but there is an inner snake.  We have to learn to act according to reason rather than instinct.  That is the point of my posts.

I’m not clear on what you mean by “inner Buddha.”  But maybe it has much in common with the snake.  Snakes sit motionless for hours, observing their environment through their senses without distraction.  While they may bite if closely threatened, more often their instinct compels them to stay still, avoiding detection, or slither quickly away through the grass.  Even a rattler’s rattle is a warning, an attempt to avoid contact; the snake would rather conserve its venom for hunting.

My point is that we are more than aggression down deep.

 
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28 May 2017 08:22
 
hannahtoo - 28 May 2017 07:13 AM
EN - 28 May 2017 06:03 AM
hannahtoo - 27 May 2017 07:57 PM

  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

The point is that they rely on instinct and quick reaction, not reasoned thought.  We have that aspect in us and sometimes we rely on it.  There is no “inner Buddha”, but there is an inner snake.  We have to learn to act according to reason rather than instinct.  That is the point of my posts.

I’m not clear on what you mean by “inner Buddha.”  But maybe it has much in common with the snake.  Snakes sit motionless for hours, observing their environment through their senses without distraction.  While they may bite if closely threatened, more often their instinct compels them to stay still, avoiding detection, or slither quickly away through the grass.  Even a rattler’s rattle is a warning, an attempt to avoid contact; the snake would rather conserve its venom for hunting.

My point is that we are more than aggression down deep.

Unsmoked mentioned the “Buddha nature” of all living things.  I don’t think it exists.  He says you just get rid of the bad layers and there it is.  I think the “had” goes to the bone and we have to learn to follow our better angels, not just unlearn stuff.  I agree we are more than aggression,  it aggression is there and can come out unless we learn to control it. Unsmoked says we don’t have to learn but unlearn.  I disagree with that and think it flies in the face of common experience. I’m responding to unsmoked’ s thesis in this whole thread.

 
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28 May 2017 10:26
 
EN - 28 May 2017 08:22 AM
hannahtoo - 28 May 2017 07:13 AM
EN - 28 May 2017 06:03 AM
hannahtoo - 27 May 2017 07:57 PM

  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

The point is that they rely on instinct and quick reaction, not reasoned thought.  We have that aspect in us and sometimes we rely on it.  There is no “inner Buddha”, but there is an inner snake.  We have to learn to act according to reason rather than instinct.  That is the point of my posts.

I’m not clear on what you mean by “inner Buddha.”  But maybe it has much in common with the snake.  Snakes sit motionless for hours, observing their environment through their senses without distraction.  While they may bite if closely threatened, more often their instinct compels them to stay still, avoiding detection, or slither quickly away through the grass.  Even a rattler’s rattle is a warning, an attempt to avoid contact; the snake would rather conserve its venom for hunting.

My point is that we are more than aggression down deep.

Unsmoked mentioned the “Buddha nature” of all living things.  I don’t think it exists.  He says you just get rid of the bad layers and there it is.  I think the “had” goes to the bone and we have to learn to follow our better angels, not just unlearn stuff.  I agree we are more than aggression,  it aggression is there and can come out unless we learn to control it. Unsmoked says we don’t have to learn but unlearn.  I disagree with that and think it flies in the face of common experience. I’m responding to unsmoked’ s thesis in this whole thread.

So I guess I’m disagreeing with both of you (or maybe compromising?).  I think that, at the “bone,” we are both good and bad.  (Here using very imperfect, but simple terms.  Aggression can be a survival skill, as can love and care.)  You and Unsmoked are perhaps at opposite poles, but there is evidence to the contrary for both positions.

 
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28 May 2017 11:47
 
hannahtoo - 28 May 2017 10:26 AM

So I guess I’m disagreeing with both of you (or maybe compromising?).  I think that, at the “bone,” we are both good and bad.  (Here using very imperfect, but simple terms.  Aggression can be a survival skill, as can love and care.)  You and Unsmoked are perhaps at opposite poles, but there is evidence to the contrary for both positions.

OK, fair enough.  I can agree that there is both good and bad at the core. But unsmoked’s primary thesis is all that we have to do is uncover the good and it takes over, or something like that. The good and the bad are going to be locked in a struggle to the death, and for good to win takes learning.

 
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28 May 2017 12:35
 
hannahtoo - 28 May 2017 10:26 AM
EN - 28 May 2017 08:22 AM
hannahtoo - 28 May 2017 07:13 AM
EN - 28 May 2017 06:03 AM
hannahtoo - 27 May 2017 07:57 PM

  Reptiles don’t always attack.  Camouflage, stillness, and quick skittering away work well too. 

The point is that they rely on instinct and quick reaction, not reasoned thought.  We have that aspect in us and sometimes we rely on it.  There is no “inner Buddha”, but there is an inner snake.  We have to learn to act according to reason rather than instinct.  That is the point of my posts.

I’m not clear on what you mean by “inner Buddha.”  But maybe it has much in common with the snake.  Snakes sit motionless for hours, observing their environment through their senses without distraction.  While they may bite if closely threatened, more often their instinct compels them to stay still, avoiding detection, or slither quickly away through the grass.  Even a rattler’s rattle is a warning, an attempt to avoid contact; the snake would rather conserve its venom for hunting.

My point is that we are more than aggression down deep.

Unsmoked mentioned the “Buddha nature” of all living things.  I don’t think it exists.  He says you just get rid of the bad layers and there it is.  I think the “had” goes to the bone and we have to learn to follow our better angels, not just unlearn stuff.  I agree we are more than aggression,  it aggression is there and can come out unless we learn to control it. Unsmoked says we don’t have to learn but unlearn.  I disagree with that and think it flies in the face of common experience. I’m responding to unsmoked’ s thesis in this whole thread.

So I guess I’m disagreeing with both of you (or maybe compromising?).  I think that, at the “bone,” we are both good and bad.  (Here using very imperfect, but simple terms.  Aggression can be a survival skill, as can love and care.)  You and Unsmoked are perhaps at opposite poles, but there is evidence to the contrary for both positions.

I think there’s a lot to explore here so I hope you will both stick around and weigh in.  I’m interested in what can be passed along in the genes beside eye color, gait, way of laughing etc.  Do you think phobias can be passed genetically from one generation to the next?  This would help survival in many cases where learning by cause and effect could be fatal -  before you or a duckling had a chance to pass on your genes.  Ophidiophobia - fear of snakes.  Arachnephobia - fear of spiders.  I realize babies of any species can quickly learn such fears from parents, but I’ve known some where such fears seem to be in the bone.  “Don’t tell me it’s just a garden snake!  Get that thing out of here!”

As a ten-year-old travelling to America I saw a man standing on a bench in Hyde Park, London, loudly exhorting pedestrians who were all ignoring him.  When I asked what it was about my father said, “He is a Marxist.”  Several years later, now at home in the U.S., with the advent of TV, we were watching the McCarthy hearings on the evening news.  My father said, “Americans have Bolshephobia.”  (fear of communists).  That’s definitely something we learn from parents, schoolteachers and others.  http://phobialist.com/  Currently there must be a name for fear of universal healthcare? 

Here is a quote attributed to Buddha:

“It is proper to doubt.  Do not be led by holy scriptures, or by mere logic or inference, or by appearances, or by the authority of religious leaders.  But when you realize that something is unwholesome and bad for you, give it up.  And when you realized that something is wholesome and good for you, do it.”  (end quote)

Are we born with the ability to do that?  My parents were smokers, so at age three I announced to my mother that I wanted a smoke.  My mother lit one and handed it to me.  “Take a deep breath in,” she said.  That was my first and last toke on a cigarette.  It still amazes me that people persist at something unwholesome and unpleasant until they are addicted.  (If only that ability had prevailed for all of life’s pitfalls).

[ Edited: 28 May 2017 12:46 by unsmoked]
 
 
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28 May 2017 19:58
 

Yes, phobias can be passed genetically from one generation to the next.  I still startle initially when I see a surprise spider, like on me.  But I don’t go really loud like my sister, or take it as a serious danger like my brother (grab the hand vac).  This was learned nonchalance on my part because my mom always made a big deal about bugs.  But I loved being outdoors, so I became more tolerant of crawly things.

As far as unhealthy habits, I think different people respond very differently to cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, food, etc.  Many people seriously enjoy smoking.  I enjoy a glass of wine, though I thought it tasted nasty when I was a youngster.  Alcohol gives some people a fun high and others mainly get muddled and tired.  Some people are naturally cautious, and others bold or reckless.  There are many more types of unhealthy temptations nowadays, and they are aggressively advertised and so easily available. 

It is this big diversity of reactions that gives human groups a better chance to survive.

 
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