Friday, February 27, 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
by Brad Warner
Tuesday, February 10, 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
This verse belongs to the Song of Enlightenment written by Yoka Genkaku. It is considered a fundamental text in Zen studies. One of the basic themes in the poem is the relationship between Buddha-nature and Self-nature. An also, I risk to say, between phenomenon and numinous. This is when Aristotle and Plato hold hands. Aristotle mostly inspired the scientific way of thinking while Plato gave some theoretical ground for religious philosophy to rely upon.
However, Yoka Genkaku in the song of Enlightenment does not concern itself with separation and categories as western philosophy usually does. The preferred approach of zen is to find communion among all beings, animate and inanimate, through our commonalities.
The ultimate meaning of the concept of “Emptiness” in Buddhism is that all beings are empty of identity, because we are all together one sole being. Before the 20th century, this was mostly a philosophical subject. With advent of Quantum physics Emptiness became a scientific certainty. Religion and science found a common ground. Belief and faith can be replaced by appreciation as it always being the attempt of zen practice. When a zen practitioner bows to the Buddha statue, the intent is actually to bow to the Buddha nature present in all individual selves.
Phenomena do not occur independent from each other. Individuality is just a conceptual tool to study and deal with the all-embracing, interconnected and interdependent reality. The reflection in the water, all the myriad beings, is just perceived as individuals due to the limitations of our human perception. Separation is an illusion. As every piece of knowledge, that realization brings us freedom but also bring us responsibility. It can set us free from loneliness and isolation. However, it also brings the inescapable necessity of seeing your neighbor as yourself. Therefore, you better love your neighbor as yourself as Jesus said.
Friday, January 9, 2015
Zen has no gods. However, it intensely focus on the godliness of all beings. The main goal of zen practice is to unveil one’s eyes to realize such ever present godliness. This realization does not come through the belief in doctrines nor through the faith in an imagined God. For zen, every being (animated or inanimate) is sacred. However, such sacredness comes as fruit of a peaceful rebellion against everything that is so-called sacred. All of us reflect a truth that is one and the same for all. All beings are together one sole being. Therefore, zen laughs at sacredness because everything is sacred.
Only seemingly a paradox, Truth is to be found through inquiry and doubt, through the realization that there is no absolute truth. All truth is relative depending on how we reflect the same one truth existent inside each other. The only absolute is relativism. Truth may be only one. However, it manifests in a unique way through each one different being. That is why zen laughs at absolutes.
If your belief and truth is shaken by laughter, how strong and real is it? Laughter is the killer of false truths, self-importance and delusion. Laughter is an awakening alarm from falsehood. Laughter is only a threat if one is attached to false gods. If there is a god in zen, and there is none, that god is laughter.