As noted a few days ago, I'm taking another look at U.G. Krishnamurti through his book, "Mind Is a Myth."
I read a few pages every morning, along with a Zen book by Shunryu Suzuki I'm re-reading, "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind" -- the title of which shows that Krishnamurti and Zen aren't totally in sync.
But there's definitely some commonalities.
They both can be outrageous.
They both aren't afraid to defy conventional ways of thinking.
They both focus on the physical world.
They both have no interest in supernatural fantasies.
They both advise to live in the present moment.
Zen, at least in its Soto form/lineage, teaches that there is no difference between enlightenment and the act of sitting in meditation. Or doing anything else with full attention.
Suzuki says, "Enlightenment is not some good feeling or some special state of mind. The state of mind that exists when you sit in the right posture is, itself, enlightenment."
So there's a certain absence of goals in Zen. Suzuki says, "When you do something, just to do it should be your purpose."
You know, the whole chop wood and carry water thing. Just chop wood. Just carry water. Don't add unnecessary gaining ideas to simple actions.
In a Mistakes in Practice section, Suzuki says:
There are several poor ways of practice which you should understand. Usually, when you practice zazen [meditation], you become very idealistic, and you set up an ideal or goal which you strive to attain and fulfill. But as I have often said, this is absurd.
When you are idealistic, you have some gaining idea within yourself; by the time you attain your ideal or goal, your gaining idea will create another ideal.
So as long as your practice is based on a gaining idea, and you practice zazen in an idealistic way, you will have no time actually to attain your ideal. Moreover, you will be sacrificing the meat of your practice.
Because your attainment is always ahead, you will always be sacrificing yourself for some ideal in the future. You end up with nothing. This is absurd; it is not adequate practice at all.
In passages I read this morning, Krishnamurti speaks using different language, but I see some close connections between his view and that of Suzuki.
Understanding your goal is the main thing. To achieve that goal implies struggle, battle, effort, will, that is all. There is no guarantee that you will reach your goal.
You assume the goal is there. You have invented the goal to give yourself hope. But hope means tomorrow. Hope is necessary for tomorrow, not for today.
You know. You want more knowledge so you can develop better techniques for reaching your goal. You know that there is no guarantee that more experience, more knowledge, more systems and more methods will help you reach your goal.
Yet you persist; it is all you know how to do. Seeing today demands action. Seeing tomorrow involves only hope.
...You want to see meaning in your life. As long as you persist in searching for a purpose or meaning to life, so long whatever you are doing will seem purposeless and meaningless.
The hope you have of finding meaning is what is causing the present state of meaninglessness. There may not be any meaning other than this.
...Life, the so-called material life, has a meaning of its own. But you have been told that it is devoid of meaning and have superimposed a fictitious layer of "spiritual" meaning over it.
Why should life have any meaning? Why should there be any purpose to living? Living itself is all that is there. Your search for spiritual meaning has made a problem out of living.
You have been fed all this rubbish about the ideal, perfect, peaceful, purposeful way of life, and you devote your energies to thinking about that rather than living fully.
In any case you are living, no matter what you are thinking about. Life has to go on.
Late this afternoon I went for a walk with Mooka, our dog, around the community lake a short distance from our property.
The ancient white oak in our yard lost two large limbs in an ice storm last February. It survives, continuing to gladden my heart as I snapped one last photo before going inside to feed our dog. Life seemed fine, just the way it was.