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What brings the universe into being?

 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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23 June 2021 21:31
 

I’m with you on those elements.  Zen has nothing of particular use in it’s teachings about how brains function, or about the nature of reality.

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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24 June 2021 08:36
 

Allowing an external authority to define the meaning of life requires blind faith.  Examining life from the inside allows an author to render its meaning.  When observations are navigated and explained through the eyes of organized religion we relinquish the option of allowing the philosophical interpretations of what we perceive to create meaning and perspective. 

The hostility in this sub forum has always been perplexing.  The quotes seem not to pose the threat on display.  It makes me giggle like a monk on a pillow.  Watching those living in windowless houses throwing invisible stones.  You don’t need to see to have vision.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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24 June 2021 09:21
 

Or, you could let me and unsmoked just have our little conversation and not get all mother-henny. For the record, unsmoked routinely relies on “external authorities”.  Just sayin’.

 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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24 June 2021 11:00
 
EN - 23 June 2021 05:49 PM
unsmoked - 23 June 2021 12:36 PM
EN - 22 June 2021 06:44 PM
unsmoked - 22 June 2021 01:44 PM
EN - 21 June 2021 12:21 PM

I was not born with a mind. I had the potential for a mind, but it took a lot of sensory input and cerebral growth before my brain developed enough to create a “mind”.  My mind is inseparable from the sensory input that made it. It is always becoming. There may be something called consciousness that is part of the fabric of the universe - burt is the expert on this. But beyond just the basic capacity to be aware, my mind brings up memories, attitudes, viewpoints, opinions, etc. I’m not sure exactly what inherent mind is. When I was born, as far as I know, there was nothing in the way of a mind.

I wonder if you are confusing inherent mind with the self?

I don’t know.  Tell me what mind you had when you were one hour old.  Tell me what you experienced.

One hour old?  I think you’d agree that while still in the womb we’re already managing ‘ten thousand’ complicated functions and processes.

About 1200 years ago, Zen Master Linji took a stab at describing inherent mind:

quote:  “If you want to be free, get to know your real self.  It has no form, no appearance, no root, no basis, no abode, but is lively and buoyant.  It responds with versatile facility, but its function cannot be located.  Therefore when you look for it you become further from it, when you seek it you turn away from it all the more.”  -  Linji

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

 

 

 

This is nice. Now, give me evidence that it exists.  Because I think it is BS.  I’m sorry.  You Zen guys get a pass on these word salads.  There is no “inherent mind”.  Mind develops over time, and is not pure.  If you are tying into some universal consciousness, then you might as well believe in God and the Holy Spirit.  Quoting a Zen master does not advance your argument.

Look, if it blows your skirt up, go for it.  But don’t preach it like it is some self-evident truth, because it is not.

I admit I’m trying to preach some self-evident truth.  If it isn’t self-evident then it’s just blather. 

This category is called Eastern Traditions and that’s what I’m talking about.  The quotes from classical Zen masters are Eastern traditions written down over a thousand years ago.  The classical Zen master says to his student, “Throw your clothes away.  You must be naked.”

My interpretation of this (what I think he means) is as follows:

Your ‘clothes’ are what your original nature, your true nature, your inherent mind are given to wear when you are born.  A burqa with only your eyes peeping out?  Neck rings to make your neck longer, adding another ring every year?  Values of a consumer society so that you grow up participating in the destruction of the environment -  destroying it for future generations?  Values of a weird cult?  A household like Trump was born into so you grow up manifesting greed, aggression, and bully tactics?  Born into a Nazi or Communist household and growing up imbued with their values?

The book I keep quoting - ZEN ESSENCE - The Science of Freedom is about (among other things) finding out who you were when you were born, before you were given all kinds of strange, inhibiting, itching clothes to wear.  Values of a consumer society so that you grow up participating in the destruction of your own home, destroying it for future generations?

If this isn’t self-evident I don’t know what is.  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/a-leaked-un-report-warns-worst-is-yet-to-come-on-climate-change-heres-how-you-can-help

 

[ Edited: 24 June 2021 11:03 by unsmoked]
 
 
EN
 
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EN
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25 June 2021 08:54
 

I suppose this is where we part company on self-evident truths.  I don’t think there is any inherent mind. Who I was when I was born was a human organism with a brain, but no mind. I was not able to formulate a thought, an attitude, or anything else. I was a blank sheet, and I needed sensory input to begin to activate my brain to start forming neural connections, so that I could think. There is no mind before that. I had the hardware, but nothing to activate it. So, I wasn’t anybody at that point.

The clothes that you mention are really the things that give us mind to begin with. If you take a baby and give it no sensory input, you are not going to end up with a “mind” at all, for the child will probably die. We have to have sensory input from the world to create mind.  I was not anyone when I was born.  I am still becoming who I am and will be.

If Zen helps you achieve some mental state that you find advantageous, that’s great.  Go for it.  I would rather hear your personal experience with Zen rather than something from Master Fu-Man-Chu or Master One-Hung-Lo.  Quoting masters is just reliance on an outside authority, like me quoting the Bible. Now, if I come along and say “Master Yeshua says that the Holy Spirit - etc., etc., etc.”, I will have no lack of responses telling me that there is no scientific evidence that a Holy Spirt even exists, that it’s just a fable from a fable-filled book, and so forth.  That is the standard I’m applying to you.  I would like scientific evidence, with no reference to Master So-And-So, that shows that an inherent mind or Buddha mind even exists.

Or, you can drop the whole preaching thing and just tell me what you experience through Zen.  I would find that interesting.

 
icehorse
 
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icehorse
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25 June 2021 09:27
 

EN:

I suppose this is where we part company on self-evident truths.  I don’t think there is any inherent mind. Who I was when I was born was a human organism with a brain, but no mind. I was not able to formulate a thought, an attitude, or anything else. I was a blank sheet, and I needed sensory input to begin to activate my brain to start forming neural connections, so that I could think. There is no mind before that. I had the hardware, but nothing to activate it. So, I wasn’t anybody at that point.

This is a nice way to separate and characterize the mind and brain. I’m not sure this next bit is germane, but it’s useful to keep “in mind” that the brain is in charge of more stuff than the mind likes to admit. Whatever your mind chooses to study, ultimately it is the brain that’s the gate keeper to what goes into long term memory.

 
 
EN
 
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25 June 2021 09:36
 
icehorse - 25 June 2021 09:27 AM

EN:

I suppose this is where we part company on self-evident truths.  I don’t think there is any inherent mind. Who I was when I was born was a human organism with a brain, but no mind. I was not able to formulate a thought, an attitude, or anything else. I was a blank sheet, and I needed sensory input to begin to activate my brain to start forming neural connections, so that I could think. There is no mind before that. I had the hardware, but nothing to activate it. So, I wasn’t anybody at that point.

This is a nice way to separate and characterize the mind and brain. I’m not sure this next bit is germane, but it’s useful to keep “in mind” that the brain is in charge of more stuff than the mind likes to admit. Whatever your mind chooses to study, ultimately it is the brain that’s the gate keeper to what goes into long term memory.

I agree with that. The brain is operating according to the laws of physics and whatever “mind” comes out of that process is what we end up experiencing.

 
LadyJane
 
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LadyJane
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25 June 2021 10:03
 

The thicker the forest the denser the bark.

 
 
weird buffalo
 
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weird buffalo
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25 June 2021 10:51
 
unsmoked - 24 June 2021 11:00 AM

This category is called Eastern Traditions and that’s what I’m talking about.  The quotes from classical Zen masters are Eastern traditions written down over a thousand years ago.  The classical Zen master says to his student, “Throw your clothes away.  You must be naked.”

I’m going to interpret it a different way.

Our identity is a collection of stories that we pull from memories of experiences.  It is not just the experiences that inform who we are, but the narrative we create around those experiences.  For example, someone is in a horrible car crash, and it kills their partner, but the individual survives.  There are multiple ways to interpret this event. 
1) They could focus on what they did wrong, or could have done differently to effect a different outcome.  This narrative would focus the blame for the crash on themselves. 
2) They could focus on how lucky they were to live.  They would then go on to honor their lost partner in their words and deeds, commemorating their life, and attempting to make the best of the situation.
3) They could chalk it up to random chance, and mourn their partner’s passing, but then move on entirely with their life after a few years.
4) They could blame their partner for drinking too much and getting them both into a dangerous situation.

In each of these, the “clothes” they wear is the narrative interpretation of the same event, but it “dresses” them differently.  In essence then, the advice is to recognize that just like clothes, these narratives can be discarded.  You can put on different clothes, and become a different person.  The idea that you can become the mind “before your birth” is one that you are only tethered to your past if choose to be.

While I do not wholly agree with it, sometimes elements of our past are inescapable, it is a useful therapeutic method for dealing with trauma.  Going back and either altering our narrative of the past, or letting go of it entirely can be extremely powerful.

 
EN
 
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25 June 2021 13:15
 

It is one thing to free oneself from excess baggage, which can be done (to a degree, I think) through any one of several mental or psychological exercises.  But to go back to before you had any experiences is to go back to nothingness. I can’t see how that would be helpful.  But I’ll listen to what unsmoked says about his experiences.

 
LadyJane
 
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25 June 2021 14:16
 
EN - 24 June 2021 09:21 AM

Or, you could let me and unsmoked just have our little conversation and not get all mother-henny. For the record, unsmoked routinely relies on “external authorities”.  Just sayin’.

When I say sub forum I mean many threads.  Threads in this section of the forum.  Where it has been common practice to see very disgruntled posters unable to locate the source of their frustration and blame the quotes they refuse to ponder.  And I understand.  Skimmers tend to get irked when asked to look beneath the surface. 

I still don’t know what that has to do with you…or me…or hens.

 
 
EN
 
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25 June 2021 15:03
 
LadyJane - 25 June 2021 02:16 PM
EN - 24 June 2021 09:21 AM

Or, you could let me and unsmoked just have our little conversation and not get all mother-henny. For the record, unsmoked routinely relies on “external authorities”.  Just sayin’.

When I say sub forum I mean many threads.  Threads in this section of the forum.  Where it has been common practice to see very disgruntled posters unable to locate the source of their frustration and blame the quotes they refuse to ponder.  And I understand.  Skimmers tend to get irked when asked to look beneath the surface. 

I still don’t know what that has to do with you…or me…or hens.

Hmmm.  OK. I am sure there are many things I don’t understand.

 
LadyJane
 
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25 June 2021 16:23
 
EN - 25 June 2021 03:03 PM
LadyJane - 25 June 2021 02:16 PM
EN - 24 June 2021 09:21 AM

Or, you could let me and unsmoked just have our little conversation and not get all mother-henny. For the record, unsmoked routinely relies on “external authorities”.  Just sayin’.

When I say sub forum I mean many threads.  Threads in this section of the forum.  Where it has been common practice to see very disgruntled posters unable to locate the source of their frustration and blame the quotes they refuse to ponder.  And I understand.  Skimmers tend to get irked when asked to look beneath the surface. 

I still don’t know what that has to do with you…or me…or hens.

Hmmm.  OK. I am sure there are many things I don’t understand.

What I don’t understand is why you singled my post out.  Of all the other posts on this thread what makes mine hinder yer ability to have a conversation with unsmoked?

 
 
unsmoked
 
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25 June 2021 18:34
 
EN - 25 June 2021 01:15 PM

It is one thing to free oneself from excess baggage, which can be done (to a degree, I think) through any one of several mental or psychological exercises.  But to go back to before you had any experiences is to go back to nothingness. I can’t see how that would be helpful.  But I’ll listen to what unsmoked says about his experiences.

I’m guessing that you and I have had similar ‘experiences’.  (along with others here).  U.K. used to be more of a monoculture with two major religions.  Catholics went to their own school, and in public school we started every day with the Lord’s Prayer spoken in unison with palms together in front of the chest.  This was followed with a story from the Bible.  Joseph and his coat of many colors, or Jesus baptized by John with the heavens opening and the spirit of the dove descending on him and God saying, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.” 

This was followed by our learning to write the letters of the alphabet in a small tray of sand.  It was wartime and paper was very scarce so we each had a tray of sand on which we made the letters with our fingers.  The teacher came around to correct if needed.  She carried a small bag of sand to replenish the trays if needed.

As an adult in the U.S. I worked for a Christian international youth exchange under the auspices of the State Department.  I might have gotten the job because, as a kid, I came from another country so might have something in common with the German high school kids who were coming to go to school here and live for a year with an American Christian family.  At age 16 they wouldn’t have remembered the Hitler Youth, but some might have had older siblings who had been indoctrinated with Nazism.. Possibly the State Department thought that if kids were imbued with fascism it wasn’t who they really were and a year in America would show who else they might be?

In 1945, in Scotland, I watched Hitler Youth arriving in our town in their big gray army coats.  (Nazi insignia removed). They were POW’s - so many of them they had to ride on the roof of the cars.  Listening to adult conversation I learned that those kids were glad to be alive - many of their fathers, uncles, older brothers gone.  I heard my mother (an American) complaining bitterly,  “We don’t have enough to eat and now we have to feed them!”

Here’s another story about Hitler Youth after V-E Day.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kao3t0NBMU

 
 
EN
 
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25 June 2021 18:38
 
LadyJane - 25 June 2021 04:23 PM
EN - 25 June 2021 03:03 PM
LadyJane - 25 June 2021 02:16 PM
EN - 24 June 2021 09:21 AM

Or, you could let me and unsmoked just have our little conversation and not get all mother-henny. For the record, unsmoked routinely relies on “external authorities”.  Just sayin’.

When I say sub forum I mean many threads.  Threads in this section of the forum.  Where it has been common practice to see very disgruntled posters unable to locate the source of their frustration and blame the quotes they refuse to ponder.  And I understand.  Skimmers tend to get irked when asked to look beneath the surface. 

I still don’t know what that has to do with you…or me…or hens.

Hmmm.  OK. I am sure there are many things I don’t understand.

What I don’t understand is why you singled my post out.  Of all the other posts on this thread what makes mine hinder yer ability to have a conversation with unsmoked?

Well, it was right after my post. Plus, your denser the bark post was right after my post. Plus, your reference to external authority seems directed at me. If I am wrong, I sincerely apologize.

 
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