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March 19, 2022


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Benoit writes
"Such a grave error of understanding necessarily entails anxiety, inner agitation, a feeling of unworthiness, an egotistical crispation on oneself-as-a-distinct-being, that is to say, it prevents inner pacification, reconciliation with oneself, disinterestedness toward oneself-as-a-distinct-being, the diminution of emotion -- in short all the inner atmosphere of relaxation which governs the release of satori."

Modern research demonstrates that the opposite is also true. Worship reduces anxiety, gives one purpose and confidence, even joy and strength in the midst of the most pressing situations. Rather than creating fear of an angry God, religion also quite often supplies the love of a forgiving God who worships his kids with far more attention and love than they return.

It is in the experience of spirit that purity arises all of itself. It is the experience of inner purity underneath all our failings that is both redemptive and liberating.

When viewed dualistically, which is the way the mind must function, all roads are a dead end.

But viewed beyond mind, in the Spirit, those dead ends are merely the circumference of the mind. Reality is far more than that.

Suzuki writes
"For the same reason, when we cling to or abide with emptiness, we are emptiness-bound; when we abide with Dhyana or tranquilization, we are Dhyana-bound."

It is certainly true that what we attend to generally is where we go. But who is attending to us? I think what they think may become what we think without any needed effort on our part. We strive and struggle, or remain Inert as a condition of the entire creation, of which we are a speck.

The system isn't actually under our control. So to cling or not cling isn't in our hands.

Therefore if you cling it is no more an error or the effect of purity than not clinging. And clinging could be a very good thing. Cling to what is right, stop clinging to what isn't. As if..

Mental arguments are models of reality. But a model of reality as an entirely empty space is hardly accurate.

Suzuki writes
"However excellent are the merits of these spiritual exercises, they inevitably lead us to a state of bondage in one way or another. In this there is no emancipation."

Quite the opposite. It is in their practice that all the bonds of mentality are gradually worn away, until there is no mind left, no impressions left. Then what? We rise, like a rocket. Blazing light, awesome sound! The Father and all creation! What is, whatever is, is all there already. The curtain is worn away, the bindings and chains chains are worn away through loving practice.

Then you don't have to think about it.

The ride waiting for you already exists.

I think these philosophers hopelessly clinging to duality and discrimination create their own mental prison, and then try to devise a means of escaping, claiming everyone else is imprisoned!


Yeah! Fuck salvation! Who needs that shit.

If God exists, He either a) doesn’t have the power to end suffering or b) doesn’t care to end suffering.

Obviously, there is no God.

"Indeed, the one feature shared by virtually all of the figures responsible for the Western interest in Zen is their relatively marginal status within the Japanese Zen establishment. While Suzuki, Nishida, and their intellectual heirs may have shaped the manner in which Westerners have come to think of Zen, the influence of these Japanese intellectuals on the established Zen sects in Japan has been negligible. At this point, it is necessary to affirm that Japanese Zen monasticism is indeed still alive, despite the shrill invectives of some expatriate Zen missionaries who insist that authentic Zen can no longer be found in Japan."
Robert Scharf
Sharf, Robert H. (August 1993), "The Zen of Japanese Nationalism", History of Religions, 33 (1): 1–43, doi:10.1086/463354

Every time your mind wanders from meditation practice there is the opportunity for greatness, transcendence. And the same for each moment you return to your practice, whatever form of focus or repetition it is, Because in that split second your mind is not bound by anything. In some natural way it has detached entirely from what you were trying to do. And in the same way, when it returns to mediation focus, it does so naturally, without your conscious permission. You are only a passenger.

Love those moments of freedom, for they grow. The cycle time gradually decreases.

The cycle time between spiritual thought, distracted thought, and Spiritual thought again could be years, but with practice it will become months. Your return is inevitable. Then weeks. Then days. Then hours. Then minutes, then seconds. Then split seconds. Then freedom from all thought persists. And you are in an illuminated sea of love.

And as the cycle time shrinks, the moment of mindless but entirely focused joy increases. You are, little by little, falling in love, and gradually you become love.

The movement of cycle time is what it is for each of us.

Accept it. And do not reject the flow back and forth, nor your practice. Let them integrate, in calm focus, in gentle effort.

Spiritual experience and materialism are not opposed. One is water, the other is sun. They play with each other, the mind visits each. Let that child be free to do both in is own nature.

I recently watched a doc-film depicting the life of a Puritan family whose people had settled in New England (I believe). Typical of that period their lives were completely enmeshed in the concepts of original sin, ever present dangers from various forms of evil, witches and the Devil. Their lives were so limited, narrow and restricted – very claustrophobic.

Many religions, both Western and Eastern ones, even today, spend a lot of thought energy on thinking about sin and evil. The whole ‘spiritual’ endeavour is aimed toward salvation along with a place in heaven. Many, even in some advanced Western cultures, deny the realities of life – including their own bodies. There is an attitude of aloofness that attempts to deride any teaching that does not follow their cultures traditions of spirituality. This seems to me a narrow, almost life denying way of life.

Perhaps due to centuries of conditioning it is difficult to break away from the many beliefs and life negating concepts we have been indoctrinated with. It compels many a potential enquiring mind to abandon questioning that does not fit with the current inherited cultural beliefs; it can be very intimidating.

Thank goodness that the more psychological and science-based religions (philosophy) of Zen and Chan have been introduced into the West. Many Western teachers have wisely adapted Zen and Chan to best help the western mind. They offer the most sensible response to the on-going human problem of why – regardless of being religious or not – our lives are readily embroiled in conflict and suffering. Of course, some traditional Eastern Zen teachers do not favour the modified Western approach and there are always the ever-present deceivers and agenda-ridden ‘teachers’, but a search from an honest mind can find many good teachers in most Western

This essay points to the precise problem with Junk Zen -- it fosters self-centered moral vacuity in the name of enlightenment. And so we get Junk Zen devotees like Alan Watts and Jack Kerouac who rationalize their wrongs with the false notion that Zen somehow means life has no rules.
And so we get people who steal books and somehow find a way to brag about the theft as if it's a badge of honor. It's not.

If we want to throw out 1000 years of Mahayana teachings are define Zen as a humanistic concern for our actions, fine, great. But that still means stealing is wrong. It doesn't mean the librarian is an asshole for caring about preserving the property of the library.

That comment was unkind, Tendzin, and in bad taste, and it sounds like a far from pretty personal attack, not that I've any clue why this apparent animosity. In any case, your criticism seems unfounded. If you check out the original 2005 post of Brian's, that he's linked to in the current post, then you'll find he says he's paid them the replacement cost for the book. Perhaps an apology might be in order.

Tendzin, Appreciative Reader is correct. You have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. Hey, you need some Zen! Here's what I said in my original post about the unreturned book:

"It’s now thirty-six years overdue. I’m pretty sure I paid the library the $1.65 replacement cost. That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than 5 cents a day, times 365 days, times 36 years, which is what I would have owed by now."

If only all our late fees and lapses could be paid for with 1.65! That's a lot cheaper than years of meditation.

But sadly, we can hardly remember all we've borrowed and borrow each day. Happens daily.We take from the people who make our food, or clothes,, who serve us. We take a portion of their devotion to their work, a portion of their lives and pay practically nothing for it.

But even this life will be reclaimed. We are merely renting this book of our own life.

Personally, if I could hold onto the book of this life for decades beyond its due date, and all for $1.65, I would be very thankful to Master Brian Ji for sharing this path to enlightenment.

Now,, Tendzin, we are all thieves. Even had Brian Ji outright never paid the $1.65, that is a pittance compared to what the western Zen reinventers have stolen from Zen. Far more.... And yet, what of the theft of the inventors of Zen from the Nature from whom they stole and labeled?

You see, they, and we, are all theives on a monumental basis. We soak s of wet invented what in truth was handed to us. We charge a bill for Someone Else's work.

But not Brian Ji. He has not created his own religion or psuedophilosphy. He is a tiny thief at worst, and yet of the best kind. He educates by presenting something false so that you must refine what is true within you through inner and outer dialogue.

He has made a painful truth palatable. Pretty clever.

I suggest that if Brian Ji has swindled anything it is a bit of our ignorance, and he has left a small gift of truth in its place.

I would say we are better for it.

So Tendzin, you owe no apology, but a moment of thanks may be appropriate.

Does Brian Ji charge for all he has given to us? Not even a penny, sir.

Oops typo
"We soak s of wet invented.."
Should read
"We speak of what we 'invented', what in truth was handed to us."

When someone finds gold in the ground they immediately claim they own it. As if they wove the atoms themselves!

And they claim everyone has no entitlement to their share. Their share they define by what they can grab. They define it themselves because there is no one higher than themselves that has made claim to it, or can show a paper deed to the land.

This is pure theft. And all of us are guilty of it. We are stomping all over someone else's grounds all the time, claiming it for ourselves.

Christians stole Judaism and labeled it Christianity. Christ didn't and would never have done that.

Scientists are so proud of their atom bombs, as if they invented atomic energy.

Once you become aware of this constant theft, once it becomes black and white, it is all any of us can do to cease and desist from doing it ourselves. It is a lifetime's work.

All finger pointing is really projection of our own guilt, our own complicity.

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who borrowed a book and in it discovered treasure.

Once he saw the treasure he hid the book in a secret place. Many years passed and the man finally went to the library and the librarian there who knew all about him, but whom the man had forgotten and offered to pay the cost of the book.

The librarian knew this man was an old friend and had forgotten their friendship. So the librarian happily agreed to the pittance the man offered, knowing that the man was here because something in him brought him here, that something in the book brought him here, and that he was gradually remembering.

Many years passed, and the man forgot many things. He found the book in a drawer again years later. When he opened the book this time and saw the treasure he still didn't understand.

Then one day he remembered the real treasure in the book, and his friend the Librarian, and their friendship from long, long ago.

He ran to the library and embraced his old friend.

This is what the Kingdom of Heaven is.

@ Spence [ Does Brian Ji charge for all he has given to us? Not even a penny, sir. ]

That would be usurious if I catch the drift. I've been practicing it, or
trying to, since arriving here.

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