Archive for the Zen Category

When nothing is done, nothing is left undone

Posted in That was Zen, and this is Tao, Zen on May 13, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

Non-resistance, acceptance, and surrender are some of the most inscrutable aspects of either Zen or the Tao, especially to Western Minds.
Wu-Wei or “non-doing” refers to action devoid of struggle, which flows effortlessly once the mind is aligned with the natural flow of life.
Sometimes it is referred to “the action of non-action”.
I highly recommend visiting Zen Flash on a regular basis.
Thank you Lou.

Namasté
नमस्ते
Chazz Vincent

Zen Flash

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In the pursuit of learning, every day something is acquired. In the pursuit of Tao, every day something is dropped. Less and less is done until non-action is achieved. When nothing is done, nothing is left undone. The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering.

~ Lao Tsu ~
Tao Te Ching

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If All is One…

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Zen on April 2, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

When you make differences

Between Good and Evil,

Pure and impure,

Sacred and Profane,

You fill the world

with self-righteousness

and give energy

to the enemies you create

in your dirty world.

Namaste

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

04/03/2017

 

I’m back

Posted in Confessions of a Mad Philosopher, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Crossing the Abyss, Escape Velocity, gratitutde, Memoires of a Post-Neo Dharma Bum, Zen on July 13, 2016 by dreamlanddancing

This is only the second time I have posted spontaneously since I started this blog.

Due to a back injury, I was incapacitated for nearly two months now, and am preparing to go back to work and resume normal activities of daily living.

Trust me, if I am in too much pain to post…all I could do was meditate, medicate, and try to leave my body; sometimes putting pen to paper to scratch out an idea that I did not want to forget.

I am most grateful for the experience. I frequently write on or around the subject of emotional pain, and I am no stranger to physical trauma, but I had lost touch with how pain can eventually create a sort of “slingshot effect” some call the “sub zone”. It was enlightening.

For me, it sent me to escape velocity spiritually.

Today I suddenly picked up a beautiful Fender Stratocaster that was given to me out of the gratitude a very dear friend felt for a favor that Suki and I had done out of love in her moment of need.

I sketched out the bare bones of a song I suddenly heard in my head that I slowly replicated on my instrument. It has been a very long time since that muse has whispered in my ear. I wrote some notations to make sure I don’t loose that moment, or those voicings and harmonies.

Suffice it to say, I am back; all around me, energies are flowing and Kaizen is in the air. All around me, what I had lost is slowly returning.

Some of it is material, and was badly needed, but the really important ethereal and occult and emotional/spiritual/transcendental blessings seemingly came out of the universe itself.

I became a paramedic to try to do penance for some of my previous actions; one day, I realized that just not being a bad person doesn’t necessarily make you a very good person. I had a lot of Karmic debts to pay. What followed nearly killed me and cost me my relative sanity more than once. I am not complaining; again I say I am NOW filled with gratitude for all of it.

I’m back.

Namasté
नमस्ते
Chazz Vincent

07/12/2016

 

 

“Spirits in the Night”…? (or How many Monkeys…?)

Posted in Buddhism, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Much Too Good For Children, The Knowledge of Good and Evil, Zen, Zen on December 6, 2015 by dreamlanddancing

Isn’t it ironic that we seem more preoccupied with trying to figure out what happens after we die than we do trying to figure out how we got here in the first place?

I ask that because although we are now beginning to be able to scientifically speculate as to the origins of the universe to a degree that may lend clues as to the very nature of existence itself, we are still unable to track where the mysteriously unaccounted for twenty-one grams of weight that allegedly leaves the body goes at the moment of death because no one has been able to come back to tell us. (With the possible exception of the occasional disembodied spirit that has allegedly either been witnessed or felt.)

My mother was a college-educated, Registered Nurse…and a most reluctant spirit medium, so I try to keep an open…and eternally questioning mind.

When I was very young, my father was a research scientist . He was the one who first told me how “…theoretically speaking…an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of typewriters will eventually produce Shakespeare.”

I was maybe ten years old at the time. It was the same year I lost my faith to agnosticism.

He was attempting to help me conceptualize the inevitability of all things in a quantum world. He meant well, and the image worked…in my mind, I could see a sea of monkeys elbow to elbow for as far as the eye could imagine in all directions.

I could hear their typewriters clattering, clicking and clacking away until the sound grew to a rhythmically swelling, collective singularity that sounded like the roar of the ocean as heard from a long distance.

(This often happened at nights when I could not fall asleep, and it beat counting sheep.)

If you have read any number of other posts of mine, you may have already assumed by now that I did not have a normal childhood, but in the back of my mind, those monkeys were just typing away… forever…and then one day I thought “So what happens when they finally do produce Shakespeare?…do they at least get a couple weeks vacation?…the rest of the week off?…early retirement?…an extra banana?…within the eternity of infinity, does it make any difference?”

Inquiring ten-year-old minds want to know….

I had a feeling that they did not; and after all, one thing just leads to another anyway…so after they wrote “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for instance, perhaps they could go on to write something truly original…(but hopefully, more accessible than Finnegan’s Wake).

The Cosmic Microwave Background discovered during the last century functions as a sort of photograph of the moment of the Big Bang.

In order to understand what it took to discover it, and then to interpret the findings in ways that might lend clues as to where we will go, we have had to re-align our thinking in ways that are still recognizable and repeatable to other scientists, mathematicians, and theoretical quantum physicists.

I’m not referring to just our individual lives, but as a species, and further, any existence at all after the inevitable collapse of the entire universe, which quantum physicists tell us will happen.

Everything out of Nothing and back again to Nothing at all.

Eventually.

General and specific relativity and quantum physics still have a few gaps between them that do not entirely explain each other in terms of a working continuum. It is speculated that those gaps might be filled in by the discovery of a universal factorial, or constant.

Dark Matter and Dark Energy may hold the clues, if not the explanation itself.

Perhaps.

Now, slowly repeat from five to zero backwards as you complete one full cleansing breath for each number…if you can do that while reading or walking, so much the better, but either way I’ll still be here when you get back…and while you’re at it, at least try to sit up straight….

You thought I meant that rhetorically, didn’t you?

Unless you just finished doing it, all I can say is that I would hope nobody has to hold a gun to your head to get you to do something that is good for you….and anyway, this next segment takes a bit of a leap in continuity so I thought the cleansing breaths might draw attention away from it.

Whether you call them Gods, Angels, or Ghosts, virtually all cultures that have existed on this earth create various degrees of acknowledgment, faith, fervor, and encouragement as to their existence; something occult, outside of our nominal, solid, three-dimensional state.

Did we create them in our own image because we needed to believe in something more than just our meager, finite existence?

Why do we feel so compelled to create a God to do so?

Is it possible to imagine a scientific explanation of sorts? Where do imagination and speculation end, and religions begin?

Are there other alternate parallel universes beyond or outside ours?

Is it possible that one’s vital life force (aka: soul?) could pass relatively undisturbed and intact, held together by something like a Higgs-boson field; something to lend it cohesiveness and coherence?

If they were only visible when they lingered for anything longer than Planck Time, they would be free to move from one dimensional plane to another in a completely fluid state of existence in no particular place at all.

In Planck time they can come and go, lingering just long enough to be visible, but allowing the Persistence of (our) Memory to make them appear solid in more than one place at a time.

(Planck Time is something on the order of one nanosecond to the negative twenty-third power, and is named after Max Planck, the German theoretical physicist and originator of quantum theory)

(And btw, certain sub-atomic particles travel even faster then the speed of light.)

It is postulated that the vacuum of space is not just completely empty, but rather filled with Dark Matter or Dark Energy…the void of presumably empty space from which our entire universe erupted.

Absolute nothingness is a very unstable state in terms of quantum mechanics. Given enough time (which is presumably non-existent in a non-existent universe), something will happen and something will appear out of what appears to be nothing, and it has all the time that has, will ever, or never has existed to do so.

The further down one goes in size, the more obvious it becomes that relative to its size, no matter how dense we may perceive a presumably solid object to be, it is almost entirely empty space.

Deep space is just as empty as sub-atomic space, and suns, planets, solar systems and galaxies resemble electrons , nuclei, atoms and molecules. It would appear that the Higgs-Boson field that provides coherence on a sub-atomic level is mirrored in the rest of the universe by gravity.

The Higgs-Boson particle, and its associated effects are thus far, the most elemental of forces in the known universe, as well as possibly whatever houses it, and may represent a fifth force (including the continuous classical force of gravity and the other three discrete quantum fields of electromagnetism, and the strong and weak nuclear forces).

Without Higgs-Boson, there would be no binding effect within the substrates of sub-atomic particles, resulting in zero mass, zero existence.

Perhaps Higgs-Boson is the equivalent of Gravity on a sub-atomic level, as nearly as can be interpreted in terms of quantum physics.

Infinite (Im)Probability eventually yields existence out of what appears to be nothing. In terms of quantum physics, no matter where you are at this exact instant, you are at the exact center of the universe.

On a quantum level, under particular conditions in a cyclotron/ particle accelerator, particles appear to not only pop in and out of existence, but even occupy two spaces at the same time. It is even possible for two of certain particles to occupy the same space at the same time.

The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle allows that in simply observing a phenomenon, we influence and affect it. (perhaps vice-versa as well).

“They became what they beheld.”

Density is relative to velocity. To what extent do particle accelerators affect the results that have been observed?

The story of Schrodinger’s Cat illustrates how a minimum of three outcomes exist simultaneously until the moment we open the vault.

…Sound familiar?…Perhaps….

“All existence is an illusion.”

“All is impermanence”

“Form is Emptiness; Emptiness is Form….

No Form, No Emptiness…

Absolute Freedom…

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…

Everything is exactly as it seems.”

(Basic Buddhist Doctrine 101)

Not based on any sort of scientific evidence, experiment or research, it would appear that they reached the same conclusions and anticipated the same results as theoretical quantum physicists.

Witness the power of the mind to envision a reality completely occult to casual observation, just by imagination, long before the existence of Scientific Method.

Both disciplines are filled with paradoxes and enigmas that seem to contradict the common wisdom.

One might even be inclined to be encouraged by the apparent intersection of two divergent paths of Knowledge and Wisdom that arrive at the same conclusions.

Or maybe…just maybe*…it is simply the results of beliefs which are the natural product of how we wrap our heads around our origins as well as our present existence…something like the lowest common denominator that our brains can process.

Or maybe it is the equivalent of “Tilt” due to inherent gaps or defects built into either the hard-wiring of our brains, and naturally, also our computers…or the result of the programming created within cultural biases, and other a priori assumptions locked into the Zeitgeist of either science or religion, since both are the results of human minds…thinking.

In my perfect world, however, I envision how an infinite series of Chimpanzees and word-processors eventually will not only write Shakespeare, but will go on to write Tom Robbins, Hunter Thompson and Dave Barry verbatim in unison while a mixed chorus of Chimpanzees and Bonobos perform perfectly synchronized reenactments of every Busby Berkeley dance routine ever performed, witnessed or filmed, while another “Universe out of Nothing” springs to life after an as-yet undetermined amount of time passes after the end of the Universe as we know it now. (Keep in mind, our universe is not infinite, although our theoretical primates are.)

“All existence is created within the mind.” (In this case, my mind.)

Unfortunately, by the time that event occurs, no one will be likely to even have the slightest clue as to what the fuck English was, and just regard it as gibberish and throw it away, further attributing the dancing to the results of Cerebral Tunnel Syndrome due to Repetitive Thought Injury (a long-overdue diagnosis within our most recent human culture, btw & imho).

Of course, even that pre-supposes that somewhere out there, some One or some Thing would be omnipresently witnessing, acknowledging, keeping score and/or even controlling everything outside of everything else; primates, word processors et al…an Uber-Sentience.

Or does it?

If a universe collapses, and no one is there to witness it, does it make a sound…did it ever exist?

Would it matter?

No matter, no matter.

No matter, no suffering.

And maybe…just maybe*…the Buddha was wrong and in fact, Suffering follows all Existence….

No existence, no suffering.

Does res ipsa loquitur with no one to speak, and no one to hear it?

Just a thought…

Just another Buddha dead…

Anyone hungry?

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

12/04/2015

*apologies and/or acknowledgements to Louis CK for the catch-phrase, as well as Dr. Lawrence Krauss, and Douglas Adams for additional inspiration and bon mots.

(“…and thanks for all the fish” to everyone else….”)

Why not? A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse.

Sayonara, y’all.

 

 

 

 

 

How do I Feel? (revisited)

Posted in Buddhism, Confessions of a Mad Philosopher, Escape Velocity, Post-Neo Dharma Bum, The Liberation Through Hearing, this thing we do with words, Zen, Zen on October 14, 2015 by dreamlanddancing

How do I Feel about my World Today?

Who is Asking the Question?

Today’s Mantra.

Before I get in touch with My Gratitude, I feel the need to assess my current condition in terms that better lend themselves to self awareness as a way of exercising the Ever Questioning Mind.

Something to gnaw on while doing T’ai-Chi Ch’uan perhaps.

Once you see the illusion of life as well as its impermanence as we experience the Folly of it all, it is easier to choose which path to take at any given moment, as one might a hat or a pair of shoes.

This is not to rule out emotional considerations. They are a part of the equation, just not all of it.

I just ran across an old quote by Kurt Vonnegut. He was giving advice on how to write and called the semi-colon(s) “Transexual Hermaphrodites”. …as if that was something bad…at least that’s the way most of the critics of the day viewed it; however, only one source I found noted that his next statement was that in case no one knew if he was kidding, “…from now on, I’ll tell you when I am kidding.”

There is excitement in illusion, in intrigue and in the commission of The Act (whatever it is).

Kurt would not like my works, I think. Most of his advice goes completely against the way I write. OK, I get that.

I think I like the semi-colon more than ever, viewing it in the light Vonnegut suggests; and I also disagree that one cannot fragment and creatively use words in the fashion that John Coltrane or Pablo Picasso might with notes or paint. James Joyce already did that in Finnegan’s Wake, after all.

I want the reader to feel like they fell down the rabbit hole. (That’s where all the good [fun] stuff is).

By the time they reach the bottom they will have everything they need to know to figure it out for themselves…of course, they already do… even if they don’t know they know it yet.

Or maybe that’s just me.

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

10/14/2015

 

 

 

How do I Feel?

Posted in Buddhism, Crossing the Abyss, inspiration, Post-Neo Dharma Bum, Zen on October 14, 2015 by dreamlanddancing

How do I Feel about my World Today?

Then ask Why? seven times….

(Kaizen.)

Who is Asking these Questions?

And who answers?

Today’s Mantra…maybe.

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

10/14/2915

 

 

 

The Ubiquitous Mr. Wu

Posted in Buddha, Buddhism, The Knowledge of Good and Evil, The Liberation Through Hearing, The Wisdom, Vision Quest, Zen on August 2, 2015 by dreamlanddancing

 

As a surname, he appears in numerous references to fictional and non-fictional characters ranging from the Chinaman in the TV series “Deadwood”, to the songs of George Formby, or even “Dr. Wu” by Steely Dan.

It is a very common name in China, as well as an informal category for a form of Chinese spoken in the Wu Provence of China.

Depending upon the dialect, the Chinese word for “No” can be pronounced “Wú”, or “Bú”. In Japanese or Korean, it is translated as “Mu”.

“Mu” is also a key element in Zen Buddhism.

The Buddha stated that “All things have Buddha-nature” despite the fact that he also allegedly stated immediately after his own birth that “…from the heavens above to the earth below, only I am holy.”

! is also the enigmatic emphatically negative response to the question in Zhaozhou’s answer (he is called Jo-Ju in Korean) in the Zen Koan that asks whether or not the dog has Buddha-Nature. It is often listed as the first of the Ten Gates.

Mu is also sometimes translated as “Pure human awareness, prior to experience or knowledge”.

In the Jogye practice of Korean Zen Buddhism as exemplified by the teachings of Seung-San Soen-Sa, this refers to what one knows intrinsically “in a place before words or thoughts”, sometimes expressed as “don’t-know-mind” or “you already know”, or even “if you open your mouth to speak, already you are wrong.”

It also may be intended to imply that the question is improper and must be unasked because yes is just as wrong as no or even no response at all.

Robert Persig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance equates this to a “Mu” (High-Resistance) state by identifying that although it is frequently asserted that binary computers are controlled by either a “One” or a “Zero” value, if the power is shut down there is neither “One” or “Zero”.

Yet in contemplating these interpretations of Zhao-zhou/Chao-chou/ or Jo-Ju’s response I could not help noticing how the emphatic pronunciation is also a phonetic pun that mimics that sound of the barking of a dog, thereby calling attention to our attachment to words.

“Wu!”

This makes perfect sense…in fact, I have never heard a dog issue either a “Bow!” or a “Wow!”

“Wu!”

I do understand the value of the contemplation of this enigmatic and paradoxical Koan for its own sake. For many years, I had only heard or read the English translation of “No!” and it encouraged the maintenance of the “ever-questioning mind” that is a fundamental cornerstone of Zen from which many other understandings were to come.

Mu is important to understand that any and all thoughts or uses of reason and words are to be cut off and discarded when the conditions of the question do not match the reality.

For some reason, when I read Persig’s book, his explanation of “mu” did not stick, and was completely forgotten for more than thirty years.

Obviously, that might have helped me many years ago…but perhaps not….

Easy answers may lead to facile understandings of more complex questions.

“Wu Wei” is a term for without action or even “Wei wu wei” meaning action without action or effortless action as in the Tao of T’ai chi ch’uan.

In similar fashion, at the risk of being a “spoiler” I would also like to propose the following solutions to several other enigmatic questions, such as:

If all things return to the One, to where does the One return?

ZERO. As simplistic as this may seem, it is nonetheless true.

In Buddhism, this is supported by the concept of Impermanence.

It is a fundamental scientific concept, especially in regard to quantum mechanics.

“First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain then there is…”

You are a Zen Master in a monastery, and a very large, intimidating man comes into the temple, who lights a cigarette, whereupon he blows smoke into the face of the statue of the Buddha, and drops the ashes onto the statue as well.

He believes that Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.

All things have Buddha-nature…he is the Buddha, the Buddha is him. No matter where he drops the ashes, the Buddha is everywhere. He is stuck and thinks that there is nothing else beyond his belief. Ashes are Buddha, Buddha is ashes

It is a given that “If you open your mouth to speak, already you are wrong” because all words have opposites and create disagreement.

If you try to teach his error with words, he will only hit you.

What can you do to teach him?

This Koan was popularized by Seung-San Soen-Sa, a patriarch of the Jogye Order of the Kwan Um School of Korean Zen, presented to him by Mang-Gong, his teacher.

In all my research of this Koan, it is to date, the only one that was never explained in print, and it seemed that no answer was to be found anywhere, despite the fact that I have struggled with this question for more than twenty years.

This question has to do with what is called “Dharma Action” such as biting an apple, ringing a bell, or drinking tea, because in the final stage of Zen, “everything is just like this…just this, only this…in a place before words or thoughts…”.

All is an illusion, a dream of dreaming. There is only impermanence. Even the comings and goings are an illusion.

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness.

Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.

No Form, no Emptiness…only this…Nirvana.

Magic, Madness and Absolute Freedom; Fish fly in a fiery sky and birds swim in a bottomless sea of all the tears of all the Buddhas, past and present. A stone girl plays a flute with no holes as lions dance with lambs to a song with no words or notes.

Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…everything is just like this. We have found our way back to a home that was already ours before our parents were born. We now recognize our one true face. We are like a mirror.

For several years, I believed that the answer was “Nothing” because all words create disagreement, and that perhaps the lack of reaction (Wu-wei) would eventually cause the man with the cigarette to realize his error, because for one thing, the statue of the Buddha is not the Buddha.

How many people does it take to achieve world peace?

One. (If that answer isn’t obvious, then think about it until it is…)

I figured it was best not to argue, but I was still attached to words and thoughts.

In fact however, I just had not yet come to realize the Dharma action that would cause him to realize that, like the Uroborus, all Zen teaching leads back to itself; “Form is Form, Emptiness is Emptiness…everything is Just Like This.”

Sooooo…What do you do?

Smile. Pick up the Ashes, and with great loving-kindness, blow them into his face.

Buddha is Buddha. Ashes are Ashes. (He can taste the difference.)

A quarter is still twenty-five cents.

“The mouse eats cat-food, but the cat-bowl is broken.”

As the tides come and go, fish swim in and out of the river as it flows to and from the sea.

Can you hear me Dr. Wu?

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

08/01/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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