Blogging and Its Discontents

Damn, what is this blog becoming?

It started out as a little serendipitous public repository of things I have encountered in practice and training as a monk, which I might like to look at again and offer to others. Things by the Buddha and Mahler and Beethoven and Bassui, Sapolsky and Harris and Dawkins and Zen Master Seung Sahn. Pointers by Schopenhauer and great Cioran that I might like to reflect on again. Beethoven had a daily table-talk book where his very conversations were recorded as his deafness became total. This blog is just supposed to be my own daily table-talk book speaking only to my own practice, and maybe enabling some help for others’ practice if they find it useful. It is a digital collection of helpful quotes and talks that I found helpful for expressing the otherwise-wordless practicing way to others. By having them here in public, there is the sense that maybe someone somewhere seeking some practice could get some benefit from the pointing of one of these teachings. We cannot expect everyone to connect to the intensity of Zen. There are many doorways to the one truth.

So, this blog doesn’t aim to anything high-road. These are just snippets of talks and memes and citations that might spark the interest of someone on the Internet today who is open and seeking the Way, whether they realize it or not consciously. But it is something which begins to create a hunger for more and more exposure, more display. I have to watch that.

No Peace of Mind at All

Dae Soen Sa Nim (Zen Master Seung Sahn) used to say very much the same thing: “If you have mind, then have a problem. Have no mind, then no problem.” And even more powerfully, he would say, “World peace is not possible… Also, not necessary [in order to accomplish spiritual work].” And this is from the monk who was constantly emphasising “Attain your True Nature, then world peace possible.” But that was exactly the point, as with Osho: To attain real peace — authentic peace, transcendent and enduring — we must return to our original nature, our being before thinking arises. This is sometimes called “don’t-know mind” (by Dae Soen Sa Nim), “no-mind” (Osho), “the cloud of unknowing” (the 14th-century unnamed English Christian mystic). And Dae Soen Sa Nim was even blunter: “Throw your mind in the garbage. Then freedom appears.”

And does this seem like some out-of-reach exoticism? The father of Gestalt therapy is known for this same teaching:

And these, too, are only mere words words words. It is why the only true experience of this oneness or Absolute can only be completely attained through silent meditation. All other practices, especially those centred in conceptual thinking, are mere approximations, as a written recipe of a cake is never — ever! — comparable in the slightest to even one bite of the cake itself.