Comments by ZenSeeker

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Posted on August 14 at 2:03 p.m.

Thank you for a thought provoking article on the Self and Soul. You provide a stimulating discussion of Buddhist and non-Buddhist notions which are crucial to our understanding of our presence, what purpose we share in common that brings better meaning to our short existence, and how these clearly determine the impermanence that normally exists in our life on Earth.

It is common to have thoughts that have cause and effect relationships which help us perceive whatever is on our mind. As a Zen practitioner, and a novice I might quickly add, I have wondered how our perceptions can be streamlined into continuous thoughts. How do we separate the cause and effect and retain only the cause and not the effect? The ability to separate the cause from its effects must be cultivated. For this to happen, the concept of emptiness or nothingness must be extremely well understood and of course put into practice. Emptiness of the mind does not necessarily mean no thoughts are present. It is a state of mind that remains uncorrupted by blocking illusionary thinking due to postulated consequences. The Sanskrit word used is “Samadhi” to describe stillness. In the practice of Zen, positive Samadhi is a state of conscious stillness while negative Samadhi, or absolute Samadhi, is used to signify death. In our daily lives, we experience many thoughts – some thoughts which are random and others which have something to do with what we have been thinking about for a while. These thoughts appear and disappear and somehow don’t seem connected. If only we could reach a state of positive Samadhi, then it is possible to have a stream of uninterrupted thought.

Let me give an example of my neighbor’s dog, which is constantly barking. A common perception of this is the annoyance created by the dog barking incessantly night and day. If only one could separate the consequence, namely, the annoyance, from the cause why the dog is barking, then it is likely that a clear perception of the benefit from the dog barking may be realized. Naturally, if the dog barks for any movement it perceives in the environment then it may be the best biological alarm system for the entire neighborhood!

Finally, more than 2500 years ago, soon after attaining enlightenment on a Full Moon night in May, it is said that while pointing his finger at the Full Moon, Gautama Buddha told his disciples that truth can never be an illusion. Since then, the phrase “Finger pointing to the Moon” has transformed into a rich philosophy in which an observer is cautioned that there is no knowledge gained by observing the finger of the one who is pointing. Conversely, if one were to look in the direction of where the finger is pointing to, there is so much that is out there that one does not precisely know what to look for. So, what is the perception needed to see what Gautama Buddha was pointing to on the Moon? For more on this discovery, visit http://sun-faced-buddha-moon-faced-bu....

On On Self and Soul

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