Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Religion, Zen.  ---  .This section is about Zen.  ---  1/24/2006

Religion, Zen.  ---  (1) Developing the ability to focus is good.  Constant distractions can be bad.  Attention deficit disorder is bad.  (2) Developing the ability to be quiet can be good.  Constant noise is bad.  (3) Calmness and peace is good.  Constant mental disturbance is bad.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  (1) Mindfullness: Self aware of thoughts.  (2) Mindlessness: Not-thinking.  ---  1/10/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  (1) The psychology of Zen.  (A) The brain science of Zen.  Meditation, much like biofeedback, generates brain waves that can produce calming brain states.  (B) The psychotherapeutic aspects of Zen.  Zen meditation, combined with the philosophical attitudes of Zen, can help improve outlook on life.  (2) The philosophy of Zen.  Zen is a set of philosophical ideas.  Zen is a set of metaphysical, epistemological, ethical, and aesthetic ideas.  The philosophical ideas of Zen can have be used as a kind of Rational Emotive Therapy, when used to replace negative and counter-productive attitudes with improved attitudes.  (3) The religion of Zen is bullshit, because religion in general is bullshit.  ---  6/1/2007

Religion, Zen.  ---  (1) They say Zen can not be communicated.  I say anything that exists can be communicated.  (2) Two different phenomena.  (A) Thinking about Nothing.  That is what Sartre the existentialist did.  (B) Not-thinking.  That is what Zen does.  (3) Epistemological ways of knowing.  (A) To know a fact or statement.  (B) To know by experience.  (4) Zen engages in "not-thinking" because what it is trying to impart has to be known by experience (senses), and not as a statement (see 3A).  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  A road to Zen.  (1) Its not all about me.  (2) There  is no me.  (3) Who am I?  (4) Where do I end and everything else begin?  (5) What is mind?  ---  4/4/2001

Religion, Zen.  ---  All things are related, i.e., they coexist in relation to each other.  All is one if you look at it as a set in set theory.  ---  1/9/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Another road to Zen.  (1) What is a body?  I am not my body.  (2) What is a mind?  I am not my mind.  (slightly more difficult to see).  (3) What is left then?  Buddhists say an eternal essence.  I say just the opposite.  ---  4/4/2001

Religion, Zen.  ---  Bad Zen.  (1) Institutionalized.  (2) Repressed.  (3) Zombifying.  (4) Thinking and doing nothing ever.  (5) Do it your self lobotomy.  (6) Denies rationality.  (7) What do you do when you have "no mind" left.  ---  12/30/1992

Religion, Zen.  ---  Balancing East and West.  In a world where there are so many unhealthy opposite extremes and so few happy mediums.  In a world where the West often argues one extreme and the East argues the other extreme.  In such a world the individual must see both extremes and find the balance between them.  ---  1/8/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Be the ball.  Flow.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Common Zen sentiments.  (1) Be here now.  (2) Just do it.  (3) Do what you are doing.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Egolessness.  If no one is there then who or what is there?  An animal?  Nothing?  ---  5/27/2002

Religion, Zen.  ---  Good Zen.  (1) Yogic breathing and posture.  (2) For relaxation.  (3) For clarity and calmness/stillness.  (4) For fewer unimportant thoughts, and more important thoughts.  (5) The search for peace/tranquillity vs. the search for knowledge and problem solving.  ---  12/30/1992

Religion, Zen.  ---  I do think Zen is helpful when it says to (1) Take time to experience and recognize yourself.  (2) Learn to see your unity with all things.  See your unity with the universe.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  I think Zen is wrong when they say our desires are the source of our misery.  I say, injustice is the source of our misery.  Our drives are not bad.  Drives are necessary for mental health.  It is not bad to desire.  At one extreme, repression of drives is bad.  At the other extreme, drives running out of control is also bad.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  If one sits and meditates 24x7 that is overkill.  ---  4/4/2001

Religion, Zen.  ---  If the problem with most people was that they thought too much, then I would say "go do the Zen to get back in balance, and learn to enjoy direct experience."  But the problem with most people is that they do not think enough.  So I can not endorse Zen.  People should think hard.  ---  1/14/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  If you are doing zazen all day long, in every activity, letting thoughts and feelings drop as they arise and are acknowledged, you will not get far.  We need active, directed, striving thinking to sort out our personal problems and the problems of the world.  ---  1/10/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Issues.  (1) No mind.  Forget yourself.  Experience other things.  Transcend yourself.  Think about other people and the earth.  See the big picture.  (2) Stillness.  Mental stillness.  Physical stillness.  (3) Clarity.  (4) Zazen sitting does nothing special.  It is irrelevant.  (5) Enlightenment.  No such thing as enlightenment as they describe it.  (6) Greed, anger and ignorance I understand.  And I understand not having such feelings.  And I understand the opposite of greed, anger and ignorance.  If that is all enlightenment is, then no big deal.  (7) Beginners mind.  An open mind is a good thing.  A closed mind is not a good thing.  (8) Koans are ridiculous.  Both the questions and the answers they give are ridiculous.  (9) Mu is ridiculous.  (10) You can not "see yourself" as they say.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  It is good to enjoy the moment.  It is good to learn skills that help you to enjoy the moment.  This is a contribution of Zen to psychology.  ---  10/17/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Many people attracted to Zen are confused, suffering emotional pain, or on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  ---  1/10/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  One needs to find the balance.  People with too strong a sense of self ("a big ego") may benefit from Zen.  People with not enough sense of self would benefit less from Zen.  In general, I think that people would be better off seeing a psychotherapist than doing Zen.  ---  1/9/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Problems with Zen.  (1) There is no true or false, no right or wrong.  (2) It asks you not to think, and not to feel, which is a recipe for repression.  (3) Life is but a dream, illusion.  ---  04/24/1997

Religion, Zen.  ---  Pure Zen is not religion.  Zen is strong on focus and attention, calmness and peacefulness.  Zen is weak on thinking; weak on acknowledging instead of repressing healthy drives and emotions.  ---  12/01/1994

Religion, Zen.  ---  Sometimes they use the term enlightenment to refer to truth.  Sometimes they use the term enlightenment to refer to goodness.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  The benefits of Zen are psychological only.  The concept of "Buddha nature" is just another wrong religious view concerning the divine.  ---  1/21/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  The cause of all suffering is not desire, as Buddhism claims.  Some people think they are doing right and they are actually doing wrong and causing injustice.  This is injustice caused by screwed up ethical systems, which in turn is due to not thinking and feeling out their ethics enough.  (2) Desires are good and necessary.  We should desire to do good.  Some people desire the wrong things.  ---  1/9/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Their grave precept is, "Do not be angry".  Wrong.  If you should be angry then be angry.  If a situation is unjust then you should be angry.  To not be is to be a repressed unhealthy neurotic.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  There is no such thing as Zen enlightenment.  There is no such thing as pre-conceptual thought or consciousness.  There is pre-conceptual unconsciousness, yes.  ---  05/10/1997

Religion, Zen.  ---  They say "know thyself", but they refuse to explore the self.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  They say that Zen is not a philosophy, but it is.  They have metaphysical, epistemological and ethical views, which is unavoidable in life.  (1) To say that everything is empty is a metaphysical view, and a false one at that.  (2) To say that all things are perfect is a metaphysical view, and a false one at that.  (3) To say to do good is an ethical view.  To believe that good will reveal itself to you without your thinking is a wrong view.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  They say that Zen is not a religion, but it is.  They have liturgy and chants just like traditional churches and temples.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  They say Zen is not a religion and not a philosophy.  But if you take away its religious aspects and its philosophical aspects, there is very little left.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  They turned Zen into a religion, with all the ritual and hierarchy.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  To some degree Zen is about gaining control of your mind.  Meditating takes a lot of mental self-control and physical self-control.  When a person becomes anxious and agitated then their previous hours of Zen meditation helps them develop the ability to say "I can handle these feelings.  I can handle this situation."  This differentiates Zen from other forms of therapy.  For example, Rational-Emotive therapy might say "Try replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts".  Psychoanalysis might say "Lets explore your past and see how these feelings may have developed".  Zen says "I am riding the water buffalo (mind), and the water buffalo (mind) is not riding me".  Zen is like hard work that helps develop your self-confidence and strengthens your personality.  This is Zen as training.  Other views of Zen include: (2) Zen as a mental electro-chemical state, like that achieved in biofeedback.  (3) Zen as paradox, which, incidentally, is closely related to humor.  (4) Zen as introspection.  ---  10/31/2000

Religion, Zen.  ---  Views of what Zen is.  (1) Loss of self.  No ego.  No self awareness.  Unselfconscious.  No mind.  Flow.  (2) Merging with the object.  Breaking the subject-object duality.  "Be the ball, Danny", from the movie Caddyshack.  (3) Experience put above and before thought.  Preconceptual thought.  Just being.  (4) Reality is an illusion.  (5) All is one.  Unity.  (6) All is holy.  Sacred.  (7) Extinguish passions.  (8) Things are they way they are.  The truth is in front of you.  Stop searching for ghosts.  (9) Simple life.  Seeing great beauty and preciousness in the everyday.  (10) Sabi: solitude.  Wabi: poverty.  (12) Be here now.  This-ness.  In the moment.  (13) Zen in martial arts.  Practice something so much that it becomes instinct, and you can do it without thinking.  (14) Void.  Emptiness.  Nothingness.  (15) Zen and Humor.  The fool.  The trickster.  Zen lunatics.  Play.  Joy.  (16) Zen and work.  Work is the way.  (17) Nature.  Love the natural. (anti hi-tech).  (18) Typical "spiritual" values.  Humility, modesty, low ego, mercy, kindness, generousness.  ---  04/24/1997

Religion, Zen.  ---  What is it about Nature and the Wild that lends itself so well to Zen?  When one has been alone in the wild long enough the thoughts stop, or at least slow down to a rivulet.  One looks around and says to oneself, "Ah, sun.  Ah, water.  Sun good.  Water good."  From here to Zen is not that difficult.  You become animal-like in an empty-headed way.  You become almost vegetative.  ---  2/29/2000

Religion, Zen.  ---  What most of the people at the Zen monastery seemed to be looking for is optimal health, and a metaphysics, epistemology and ethics they can live with.  ---  1/10/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  When one has quieted the mind, and forgotten about the body, then it seems like there is no self.  Only seems like.  ---  1/9/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  When they say that Zen can not be communicated or thought about, that sounds the same as the religious concept of mystery.  And that is baloney.  Magical baloney.  ---  1/10/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  You can not drop, or let fall away, your body or your mind.  And if you could then there would be nothing left.  And if there was something left, then a pin drop would have no effect on it (as opposed to the Zen view that a pin drop can cause enlightenment).  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen Buddhism.  Ways of saying: (1) Let go.  (2) Let drop.  (3) Set down.  (4) Set aside.  (5) Give it a rest.  (6) Stop obsessing.  ---  5/13/2004

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen is a do it yourself lobotomy.  ---  11/17/1988

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen is a passive mind.  An active mind is healthier.  ---  1/22/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen mind.  (1) Mindlessness.  Still mind.  Quiet mind.  (2) Mindfulness.  Self awareness.  Awareness of actions one is performing and environment one is performing in.  (3) Both mindlessness and mindfulness are no big deal.  No big accomplishment.  It is a small thing.  It is a simple thing.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen people use the term "subjectivity" to refer to delusion.  They use the term "objectivity" to refer to enlightenment.  This is simplistic, and wrong.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen seeks to destroy the ego, destroy the self, and lose the self.  And it attracts those people who feel ill at ease with self and who have difficulty living with self.  ---  1/11/1999

Religion, Zen.  ---  Zen term "enlightenment" is a joke.  They refuse to define it.  They refuse to discuss it, yet they says it exists, and they say it is a wonderful mind-expanding big deal, and they say they are enlightened but other less fortunate people are not enlightened.  Ridiculous.  ---  1/1/1999

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.