Monthly Archives: January 2019

Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu’s Zen – Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment

Zen Koan #41: Parable of Joshu's Zen - Buddhist Teaching on Being with Disappointment Our struggle is obligatory, but it is eventually just our inclination to be present that counts and that this is the true effort of the way. Glad to know that you have time to meditate. In a country like America, where people can do so many things, and where there are so many distractions, to meditate is not easy. One gets older doing this and that, finding no real satisfaction in anything. Coming to accept that there is nothing wrong with me has been a very important part of growing up.

How can one be certain that there was a Teacher known as the Buddha? We present everything to the object of our surrendering. The basic act of surrender does not involve the worship of an external power. Rather it means working together with inspiration, so that one becomes an open vessel into which knowledge can be poured. You may feel liberated. If you do this, you are grasping the false. For instance, suppose you endeavor to clear a blocked pipe by pushing another object into it.

You can see the tip of each blade of grass and the outline of every leaf. The person who is seeking to attain is separate from the attainment, the object of his search. All of your actions will boomerang back to you and you will have to take the consequences.

Zen Koan: “Joshu’s Zen” Parable

Joshu began the study of Zen when he was sixty years old and continued until he was eighty, when he realized Zen.

He taught from the age of eighty until he was one hundred and twenty.

A student once asked him: “If I haven’t anything in my mind, what shall I do?”

Joshu replied: “Throw it out.”

“But if I haven’t anything, how can I throw it out?” continued the questioner.

“Well,” said Joshu, “then carry it out.”

Buddhist Insight on Being With Disappointment

Wisdom is also this development of patience, love, or constancy that you go through so many cycles. Unfortunately, the truth dealt with by science is only a partial one. By looking for complexities of developing and perfecting within the primordial unstructured presence of the nature and disenchantment, the essence without accepting and rejecting will not be seen. The American Zen teacher Charlotte Joko Beck writes in Nothing Special: Living Zen,

When we refuse to work with our disappointment, we break the Precepts: rather than experience the disappointment, we resort to anger, greed, gossip, criticism. Yet it’s the moment of being that disappointment which is fruitful; and, if we are not willing to do that, at least we should notice that we are not willing. The moment of disappointment in life is an incomparable gift that we receive many times a day if we’re alert. This gift is always present in anyone’s life, the moment when “It’s not the way I want it.”

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Man is the Noblest Flower in God’s World

Charity Towards Those Who Disagree with Us

Charity Towards Those Who Disagree with Us Tolerance is more than charity towards those who disagree with us. It is a duty we owe to ourselves.

What is the essence of tolerance? It is respect for the free expression of minds other than our own. Surely, I do not possess perfect wisdom. My way of life reflects my own taste, my background of experience, what my limited knowledge has suggested to me as being sound and right. Because I am conscious of my limitations, I want other forms of life to flourish freely. It is their right, and I owe it to them. Nevertheless, I also owe it to myself, for how else will I ever correct my own deficiency except by permitting myself to be challenged by those who disagree with me?

A bigot is a source of misery to his fellow man, but he is also the forger of his own chains, jailing his soul from free contact with die world. He bites the hand that offers him food he has never tasted before, and which has new delights for the body or the mind.

A single flower could not contain within itself all the beauty and fragrance of the universe. This is why God has made many flowers in the garden of the universe. Woe unto the man who is so in love with the flower in his own window box that he would deny all others the right to be!

Man is the noblest flower in God’s world. When you meet one with unfamiliar color or character, do not trample on it. Cherish it as a new revelation of enriching beauty.

This is why good will is so often the best place to start wishing the other person well, but realizing that true happiness is something that each of us finally will have to find for ourselves.

True Merit and Pretend Knowledge

True Merit and Pretend Knowledge A growing body of theological reflection has concluded that ethical treatment of nonhuman creatures is an issue of justness and mercy. It is perpetually better to have no ideas than false ones; to believe nothing, than to believe what is wrong. Men in health who are outstandingly dirty, or that have been in the company of those who have been affected with an infective fever, will transmit disease as much as the sick themselves, and the jail distemper has been known to continue from prisoners who were not themselves affected by it. Nevertheless, crucially, we have to want to be emancipated; we have to want to become educated. It is on all hands acknowledged, that the most obvious appearances in nature are those, which are least, understood. The progressive and discerning public can readily differentiate true merit from pretend knowledge. Facts are demonstrable—his superiority is universally acknowledged. Into what grievous forms these have shot forth, and what various mischief’s they have produced in society, is too well known.

You are either somebody who feels this (or has felt it) or not-much like you are someone who either gets headaches or does not. Even if you have never felt it yourself, almost sure enough you know someone who has (whether you recognize it or not). Existential boredom defines an inability to find not just specific things but all of life interesting. It manifests itself as a mood in which, for no reason you can articulate, nothing seems to satisfy-even things that normally do. American founding father Ben Franklin once wrote,

  • Plough deep, while sluggards sleep, and you shall have corn to sell and keep. Work while it is called today, for you know not how much you may be hindered tomorrow. One today is worth two tomorrows, and Never leave that till tomorrow, which you can do today.
  • If you were a servant, would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Are you then your own master? Be ashamed to catch yourself idle when there is so much to be done for yourself, your family, and your country. Handle your tools without mittens: Remember, that the cat in gloves catches no mice.
  • It is true, there is much to be done, and perhaps, you are weak handed; but stick to it steadily, and you will see great effects; for Constant dropping wears away stones; and by diligence and patience the mouse ate in two the cable; and little strokes fell great oaks.

When you find yourself flipping from Cyberspace site to Internet site; picking up a book, reading a few pages, and then putting it back down; walking around your flat or house in search of something to do but finding nothing to occupy you.

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Glimpses of History #13: First Civilizations in Minoan Crete

First Civilizations in Minoan Crete

The biggest Grecian island was home to the first important Aegean civilization—the Bronze Age Minoan culture (approximately 27th–15th centuries BCE). Evidence for the hunter-gatherer inhabitants of Greece has been flimsy, but intensive research in Epirus (northwestern Greece) and Argolid (Peloponnese, southern Greece) proposes that long-lived successful adjustments probably were prevalent on the mainland by the end of the last Ice Age and in the first few millennia of the current warm era (the Holocene, after 8500 BCE).

The island of Crete sustained the most composite civilization in Europe. Similar to the Phoenicians, with whom they traded, they were skilled seafarers trading with Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean; they had a written script known as Linear A, which is still untranslated at the moment (Linear B seems to have been the first form of Greek).

The pioneer was Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist from Germany who, in 1870, uncovered the site of Troy that was made famous by the legend of the Trojan War. Four years later, he exposed the rich remains of an ancient kingdom at Mycenae.

Minoan culture, religion, bulls Archaeological work has endured on Crete until the present day, with archaeological diggings of palaces, villas, and towns and important archaeological surveys of much of the island. The portrayal of this civilization that we can piece together is at the same time impressive and frustrating. Many towns and palaces were built, the most famous of which, Knossos, inspired Greek myths of the labyrinth thanks to its sheer size, complexity and religious rites involving bulls.

Minoan culture degenerated for a number of reasons—earthquakes affected the island more than once, and a natural disaster in the 15th century BCE, possibly the flare-up of the close by Thera volcano, had a major impact. From 1500 BCE, there was growing influence from the Mycenaean culture on the Greek mainland, and there is clear archaeological proof for prevalent destruction on the island around 1450 B.C. If the Mycenaeans were blameless for this destruction, they definitely took advantage of the events—administrative records from this period are written in Linear B, the script of Mycenaean Greeks. The cultural interconnection now shifted towards the developing Mycenaean civilization of mainland Greece, but the tale of rapid destruction of a sophisticated civilization is occasionally credited with motivating Plato’s Atlantis.

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