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May 25, 2018


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'There is nothing permanent, not even 'enlightenment.'

The author has only their own opinion. Who would hold such an opinion when science is based on the notion that the laws of this creation are immutable?

Knowing even one such law, one such principle, is an enlightenment that is indeed permanent.

The author is replacing one religion based on faith with another based on cynicism and labeling it Zen. 'If I can't see it, it doesn't exist.' That's not actually Buddhism or Zen. Both of these are the contrapositive: We can't know reality with this filter of mind and concept, and yes indeed there is a reality beyond, and we can experience it and understand it, even if the brain can't ever explain it or label it adequately.

It's interesting to see how religions take form. Here you have someone labeling Buddhism and Zen with their own new form of Anti - theism.

False are the notions of God. False the notions of no God.

Give up notions. Discover reality. It's a fantastic adventure.

And the reality beyond, the truth is too important to leave to the unscientific, unwilling to conduct their investigations, but more than willing to prognosticate on truth, yet unwilling to give up all expectations and proceed into truth.

I'm pretty sure you can't author a book about truth as a philosophy and have any credibility.

You can author a book about personal investigating or scientific investigation.

But that book is false that claims "nothing there". At that point it is self - labeling.

@ Spencer - I got drunk last night as I needed a release and I pray Master forgives me. However my concentration was abnormal in that it become so focused whilst I was falling between sleep and staying awake on the train journey home from a night out with friends.

Spencer - you are right - there is something there above any blog or irrelevant talking about past masters and what they would have meant etc.

Even Buddha told someone in order to avoid pain: “never be born”.

I know I should not drink but I’m glad I did and also thanks to you for your reasoning. And if I upset you - forgive me. You are the only one who offered a shoulder to cry on.

You are the man! As the youth say.

Thank you my friend.

A person must decide for themselves.

A. "Do I know it all?"
B. "Do I have more to see and learn?"

A. Represents all the people who give up.
B. Represents all the folks who persevere, either in personal, spiritual or worldly investigation, testing, trial and error. Every day they discover and give up false notions. But they are also seeing something like, some approximation closer to truth.

But they look upon their ignorance of yesteday and knowledge today as a representation of their progress, and that bolsters their faith to learn, adjust, and keep in investigating. They realize today's truth may be tomorrow's ignorance.

A. "I did learn the truth. Now I can stop. I know the truth. But you do not."
B. "I've had a glimpse of something amazing and truthful, but it came through a filter of conditioned thinking, so I don't know truth yet. Something is there, but I can't judge anyone else. I'm in the throws of my own investigation and I'm proceeding with greater determination than ever before, because while I see a glimpse of my ignorance, this is is relative experience of Truth that persists. So I persist. I must. To remain in ignorance is now intolerable. "

One student studies for exam by full awareness of consequences , another studies for fun and pleasure, exam is the same . Both will develop differently, one may become bookworm and another may become innovator despite his carefree attitude.

@ vinny - and one student may drop out of school and use unratio al thinking to change the world in a field where school educated people have failed to discover anything revolutionary 😀😀😀

@ vinny - I meant “unrational” thinking

Even Bill Gates dropped out of harvard and founded Microsoft by "unrational thinking", by stealing the research of Christian Innovators, you don't become innovator, cunning people of third world.

Does that offend you ? I will again use the phrase "Christian innovators". Lodge a complaint against me for using this phrase in some police station of third world. Stop stealing the research of Christian Innovators, sit at their feet and request for copyright release.

Hi Arjuna
We are all drunkards on a train, struggling between between staying awake and falling asleep. And both keep happening.

We nod off, awaken, we don't even recognize the passing destinations, the door opens and closes. Did we miss our destination home?

Where were we supposed to get off?

Must we wait for someone to tell us?

Your own Master has a beautiful sense of humor. You lived this in miniature all in one night.

@ Spencer - your response was pure poetry and just beautiful.

Yes it does appear to have a sense of humour😀

“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”

“Just as a snake sheds its skin, we must shed our past over and over again.”

Jenn you wrote
"“To insist on a spiritual practice that served you in the past is to carry the raft on your back after you have crossed the river.”

If you have crossed that river then you might have a point. But who would abandon their canoe that is carrying them in the middle of the stream? Or even at the beginning, to step back on the muddy shore?

And we have several rivers to cross. Clearly that author has never actually canoed on an actual journey. To serve us for the long journey on land and water and land again, and water once more our canoe doesn't just carry us. We must take responsibility also to carry it. Canoes were built to carry and to be carried. It is unlikely this author has actually journeyed far. They know nothing of portage.

"The journey was made much simpler and faster by portage."



ZEN 's aim is like RSSB s :

Stop thoughts 100% , while being conscious

1 > 3 minutes of that continuously is enough for satori, nirwana, heaven
and know that before Abraham YOU ARE ! ! !

It seems difficult but with Love it's easy


@ vinny - I don’t have a clue what you are rabling on about - Christian innovators and all that.

I was merely saying people who don’t go to school achieve big things as well- some may be famous or not. Some may have fought their own demons, helped the less fortunate. Etc.

Where the hell did Bill Gates come from lol. I wasn’t even thinking about him.

Anyway I’m sorry I commented and this is getting boring so goodbye!!!

Spencer >OW & >auuuwfull I think Adi Granth :

False are the notions of God. False the notions of no God.


"Be careful what you wish for. Only when our hopes are completely smashed will we be free. It's not the 'freedom we started out looking for at all"

This is the worst kind of nonsense. Your mind generates thoughts,
and desires 24x7. They well up from the unconscious and many of
them remain completely submerged. You will never ferret all of
them out. No matter how many are "smashed", new ones will

"Be careful what you wish for" is a punchline, not a mantra for
banishing them. It is a path of despair. You can't nullify, out
maneuver, or wish thoughts away with the intellect.

Magid opines: "this body, this body, this moment is all we have,
is all there is". This moment and mindfullness are in the right
direction. That's the path of discovery. Only a fool asserts
"that's all there is".

Dungeness, what Magid was speaking about when he said " Be careful what you wish for" were spiritual/religious fantasies of being able to transcend life's difficulties and problems. Meaning, some form of enlightenment, union with God, or whatever. He wasn't talking about ordinary desires.

Rather, based on his experience with Zen students and teachers, plus his background in psychiatry, he's well aware of our propensity to imagine that if only our mind was changed in a certain way, if only we can attain some sort of spiritual illumination, everything will change for the better in our life.

This isn't true. There is no evidence of this. Yes, things constantly change. But as Magid says in his book, enlightenment or illumination also changes. There is no permanent state of calm and contentment. Just wanted to clarify Magid's meaning. I can understand why you misunderstood him, since likely you haven't read his book.


You wrote
"This isn't true. There is no evidence of this."

So abandon hope all ye who enter here?

I think the entire world is populated with the inventions and creations of hope.

No one who has a vision expects things to look exactly that way when they are done with their creation. In fact they make difficult learnings and happy discoveries all along the way.

A psychiatrist might encourage their patients to dream big, but be flexible and open. But get moving.

There is all the evidence in the world that this is how personal progress and enlightenment happens.

It's a learning thing. Too bad Magid is a psychiatrist.

A developmental psychologist knows the evidence for hope and learning to transform lives.

A rehabilitation therapist knows the evidence for recovery from wrong thinking and the creation of progress.

These entire fields are filled with evidence and research that proves this philosophy of no progress is fruitless and a terrible disservice to those seeking guidance in their own development.

Columbus thought he had discovered India.

But had he given up all hope to begin with, he world never have embarked on the journey, nor brought America to the Renaissance world.

As the bumper sticker says, "Those who don't believe it can be done should not stand in the way of those who are already doing it."

I'm reading the book now and Magid's bias as a psychotherapist comes through clearly. He is concerned that the world view of Freud, that every one carries pathology and is living in angst to somehow heal, is a common world view. But this is only his projection as a psychiatrist, from his conditioning. He sets up a straw man that is not entirely objective.

One could just as easily adopt the view of Abraham Maslow, that very high functioning individuals who have met most of their needs seek higher things. Maslow's view is that it is natural to want to grow. We grow throughout our life, and become different people. It is natural and healthy to want to become better people. For Maslow spirituality, and in particular, successfully finding meaning in life, is at the top of the list, what we hunger for when the other needs have been met. And it is a natural part of human development.

He invented the term self - actualization to describe the individual who knows themselves, is confident in their skin, and happily persuing greater, spiritual things that are based in meaning rather than worldly accomplishment.

So maybe Magid's problem, and that of those who do not understand the pursuit of spirituality, is that it is not a replacement for the lower needs. And to take Maslow further, it is not separate from any stage of our development. It is the next step when life, in the most important aspects, has been mastered, at least on the personal level. And it is also the strongest foundation of hope and inspiration throughout life precisely because divinity, separate from our limited understanding, doesn't change. God is as immutable as any other immutable principle of nature, and as its author, more so.

Self - realization before God realization.

Magid claims to refer to the Tao for his "no progress is needed" message. But that's not true.

"Discontent is the basis of progress on man and nation"

"The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath your feet."

The journey begins with accepting where your are entirely. That's always a noble start.

But we were meant to move.
Ships may enjoy their time in the harbor, and that's fine momentarily, but they were meant to cross the seas.

The field of psychiatry has a notorious history of poor results and poor progress. The method is time consuming and poorly defined. Patients at best after decades learn to accept themselves, faults and all, but rarely make progress forward. It is easy to understand Magid's misunderstanding about Zen.

But psychiatry has been supplanted by much better, more focused approaches to rehabilitation and development. Approaches that work faster and better.

Magid conflates meditation and psychiatry and that is really taking two extremes and trying to make them the same thing.

Meditation is the best Psychotherapy but it doesn't replace the need for help. Rather it makes us more receptive, more flexible, more willing to try.

Where people give up, the only help for them is the annoying example of those who got up one more time and went back to the work.

@ Arjuna , cunning man from third world, he knows how to divert the rage on his cunning acts. Does he know about loss of intellectual property worth billions of US dollars by stealing of research by cunning people like him from third world.

@ vinny - I said I ain’t interested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I couldn’t care less!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brian, thanks for the clarification. I withdraw some
of my vitriol.

But, Magid does dismiss the idea of a "separate,
inner ethereal existance" as fantasy. He conflates
centuries of mystical literature and evidence with
all ilks of religion based escapism. He even waxes
psychiatric that this may be rooted in a fear of
death, or aching knees, or a "wandering mind".

I think, as a good scientist, he should remain
agnostic. Freedom may be just another word
for dropping quick judgments.

[damn, I miss Janis]

No one should be afraid of their thoughts, adverse to them, or passionately attached to them. They are only reflections in a muddied pond.

Magid cites the first practice his Zen teacher taught him, which is simply to observe and dispassionately label thoughts. The observing part is great. The labeling part not so much.

Learning to observe, you become your own anthropologist in your meditation practice, and like good anthropology, it requires accepting all these thoughts as part of you, no one else, no one else's fault. And doing so with an item mind brings them fully into consciousness, where they can reintegrate themselves naturally, with your conscious awareness, rather than influence without your permission unconsciously and inaccessibly.

But for that to happen, for the servants in your brain to become servants and not masters, judgment must be set aside.

Therefore notions of fantasy and notions of evil have no place. What you see comes from you and should be understood, first and foremost.

Is labeling a good practice? Probably not. But if there is a small space before the label is fixed where you witness and understand what you are seeing a little better, that space is worth the exercise.

Maybe today you will label it differently.

But if you cling to the old labels, the opportunity to observe internally, and externally, is limited.

Auto spell is my worst enema!
"doing so with an open mind..."

Spritual is only a word..nothing more nothing less.;)
Material is also ''spiritual''because it is vibration..
What is REAL? We don't know..
So not knowing is alright.
But my sadana is ''knowing''that I am not this body and not my thoughts.
Still I am living..and experiencing.
What am I?

Not this not this..
Enjoying more..even..

Quite enjoyed the two posts on Madrig's book. Zen (and Chan with its influence from the Taoists) seems to be more free of religious trappings than other forms of Buddhism. I guess what I appreciate from Zen is how it provides tools that help in understanding the processes of thought and our ever dominating and self-satisfying array of beliefs and opinions.

As a naturalist (and an observer) change and impermanence were ever-present in my studies. Later I came across the same declaration in Buddhism. Obviously the Buddha's teachings referred to life on this world but I would think that today's knowledge that sun's, galaxies and even the universe itself having beginnings and endings would fit in to his teachings.

Karma and reincarnation fitted in to my naturalist mentality. Wes Nisker explains this well through his book 'Buddha's Nature'. In the chapter 'The Karma of Evolution' he describes how “Life itself seems to reincarnate in form after form, with new forms of locomotion, perception, or types of consciousness”. Our 'previous' lives go way back in our evolutionary past (and even on the atomic level).

Equally the concept of no-mind and no-self interested me, (which science has taken up in recent years) I found was strongly a part of Buddhist teaching.

What Zen (and life) have shown me is how I live mainly through my mind, that is through the past (mind as being accrued information). The now is the experience as it happens before mind comes in imposing yesterday upon it. I am not simply my mind or my thoughts. It was Charles Darwin who said (again from Nisker's book) “Why is thought – being a secretion of the brain – more wonderful than gravity as a property of nature? It is our arrogance, our admiration of ourselves”.

I may buy Madrig's book. It's always interesting to read how different people express their experiences of this amazing life.

One wonders what cats think about... nothingness?

“I have lived with several Zen masters -- all of them cats.”

Eckhart Tolle

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