Zen and Quantum

 
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12 July 2019 10:29
 

Zen and Quantum

Zen master Yuanwu (1063-1235) writes:

“This Tao is deep and remote.  Beyond the time before heaven and earth had taken shape and sentient beings and buddhas were separated, it was profoundly clear, solid and still, as the root of the myriad transformations.  From the beginning it was never existent or nonexistent and never fell into the dusty realm of sensory objects.  This Tao shines and glitters, and none can fathom its limits.  It has no reality that can be considered real and no wonder that can be considered wondrous.  It is absolutely transcendent and lies beyond the scope of concepts and images.  There is nothing that can be used to compare it with.”  (end quote)

Q:  Could this paragraph be used to introduce a book titled The Science of Not Knowing?  (The value of not covering our ignorance with creation myths.)

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Tao

Definition of Tao
1a : the unconditional and unknowable source and guiding principle of all reality as conceived by Taoists
b : the process of nature by which all things change and which is to be followed for a life of harmony

The Oracle considered Socrates to be the wisest man in Athens because he knew that he didn’t know anything.  The value of the empty cup . . . able to be receptive.  Able to listen and learn.  Able to be open to new discoveries, etc.

(Yuanwu quoted from the book, ‘ZEN LETTERS - Teachings of Yuanwu’ - translated by J.C. Cleary and Thomas Cleary)  https://www.shambhala.com/zen-letters.html


 

 

 
 
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12 July 2019 14:08
 

Unsmoked, you can’t prove the existence of the Tao any more than I can prove the existence of God.  If my God is a myth, your Tao is a myth.  Somebody says they experienced Tao, somebody says they experienced God.

 
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13 July 2019 14:13
 
EN - 12 July 2019 02:08 PM

Unsmoked, you can’t prove the existence of the Tao any more than I can prove the existence of God.  If my God is a myth, your Tao is a myth.  Somebody says they experienced Tao, somebody says they experienced God.

We’re getting a different meaning from the quote in the OP.  If you and I are sitting on a park bench and you point and say, “There goes an electric bus,” or “Look at the squirrel harvesting those hazel nuts,” - that isn’t something that needs to be proved.  This is the Tao.  Neither of us can explain it, or know what it is, or how it was created, but we don’t have to prove that the electric bus or the squirrel exists. 

I titled the topic, Zen and Quantum, because now ‘existence’ as we both see it . . . was never ‘existent or non-existent’.  We could argue that God is supernatural and the Tao is natural (dictionary definitions) but that sweeps us into words and concepts . . . away from this mind-boggling mystery that swallows God and Tao.  (swallows our mental machinations, like quantum).

[ Edited: 13 July 2019 14:16 by unsmoked]
 
 
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14 July 2019 16:25
 

Whatever the Tao is, you can’t prove it exists rationally.  Now, if it’s just the same as an apple, just call it an apple and be done with it.  But if it is “something else”, then prove it, or accept it by faith based on your experience, just like I do with God.  If I experience Tao, I’ll let you know.  Otherwise, you and I are believing in something that we can’t prove rationally.

 
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14 July 2019 19:05
 

I’ve often wondered if there is a perennial experience of pure existence and consciousness which humans occasionally have — an experience of the oneness of all things — which is the basis for all spiritual experiences and the root of all religions.

And after such an experience, being the thinking, verbalizing creatures that we are, we tag that experience with a story of some kind. We squeeze it into a mental box and crush the life out of it. We nail rules and theories to the corpse. Then we institutionalize it and cremate the original, core spiritual experience once and for all.

Then later, theologians, philosophers and scientists pick through the dry, bleached bones, each adding their own stories and interpretations.

 
 
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14 July 2019 19:24
 
Cheshire Cat - 14 July 2019 07:05 PM

I’ve often wondered if there is a perennial experience of pure existence and consciousness which humans occasionally have — an experience of the oneness of all things — which is the basis for all spiritual experiences and the root of all religions.

And after such an experience, being the thinking, verbalizing creatures that we are, we tag that experience with a story of some kind. We squeeze it into a mental box and crush the life out of it. We nail rules and theories to the corpse. Then we institutionalize it and cremate the original, core spiritual experience once and for all.

Then later, theologians, philosophers and scientists pick through the dry, bleached bones, each adding their own stories and interpretations.

I think there can be an experience like that.  I’ve come close a few times, but I’m not going to refer to myself as “enlightened” in any sense. It does seem that there is more to reality than what we experience on a daily basis. And you are right, once we start talking about it we corrupt it.

 
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14 July 2019 20:09
 
EN - 14 July 2019 07:24 PM
Cheshire Cat - 14 July 2019 07:05 PM

I’ve often wondered if there is a perennial experience of pure existence and consciousness which humans occasionally have — an experience of the oneness of all things — which is the basis for all spiritual experiences and the root of all religions.

And after such an experience, being the thinking, verbalizing creatures that we are, we tag that experience with a story of some kind. We squeeze it into a mental box and crush the life out of it. We nail rules and theories to the corpse. Then we institutionalize it and cremate the original, core spiritual experience once and for all.

Then later, theologians, philosophers and scientists pick through the dry, bleached bones, each adding their own stories and interpretations.

I think there can be an experience like that.  I’ve come close a few times, but I’m not going to refer to myself as “enlightened” in any sense. It does seem that there is more to reality than what we experience on a daily basis. And you are right, once we start talking about it we corrupt it.

Yes, you are definitely right: there is more to reality than what we experience on a daily basis.

If you or I were truly enlightened, I guess we’d be in that state of “oneness” permanently. But I think there is a value to even having come close to such an experience. It teaches you that there is greater state of being which is possible to experience, even if it’s just temporary or occasional.

Of the small group of posters to this forum, there is a surprising number who seem to have a strong spiritual side, with a few having had full-on mystical experiences. You, Unsmoked, (I’m guessing), Burt, SaraLynn, BBearen, myself, and of course, our good Brother Mario. I’ll bet there are others.

 
 
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15 July 2019 12:55
 
EN - 14 July 2019 04:25 PM

Whatever the Tao is, you can’t prove it exists rationally.  Now, if it’s just the same as an apple, just call it an apple and be done with it.  But if it is “something else”, then prove it, or accept it by faith based on your experience, just like I do with God.  If I experience Tao, I’ll let you know.  Otherwise, you and I are believing in something that we can’t prove rationally.

The Tao is what is here.  If we’re standing together talking and I wave my hand in a gesture to take in the scene and say, “This is the Tao.”  It doesn’t need any proof.  If there’s an apple tree with fallen apples under it and we both see it, it doesn’t need proof.  It’s not something in our mind; not a memory or idea, or belief, or anything we’re thinking about.  (another hand gesture)  “Here it is!”

Zen student to teacher:  “What is Buddha mind?”

Teacher (pointing)  “The pine tree in the yard.”

If I start explaining to you what this all is, that isn’t the Tao.  That’s just words; just an idea, just what I’ve read about the Big Bang, evolution, consciousness, etc.  Your idea about what this all is and what it means is different from my idea of what this all is and what it means.  This (another hand gesture) is the Tao, not our ideas about it. 

“Reality,  basically, has no explanation.”  (or)  “One thought about it and you fly into hell like an arrow.”  (Zen)

This is the Tao.  We’re never separated from it.  It doesn’t take a special experience to reach it.  Open the eyes . . . voila!  Our thoughts, ideas, beliefs are flickering shadows of the Tao, like Mario’s idea of what Jesus looks like based on the image on the Shroud of Turin.  Probably the baseball card EN mentioned to Mario looks more like the Biblical Jesus.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesús_Alou

voila (interjection)  There it is!

 

[ Edited: 15 July 2019 12:58 by unsmoked]