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Fri Sep 21, 2012, 11:06 PM

Zen Buddhism teaches us of the importance of living in the present

Ever since I was a child, I have been acutely sensitive to the idea in the way that other people seem to feel only after bereavement or some shocking unexpected event that the human intellect is unable, finally, to make sense of the world: everything is contradiction and paradox, and no one really knows much for sure, however loudly they profess to the contrary.

It is an uncomfortable mindset, and as a result I have always felt the need to build a conceptual box in my mind big enough to fit the world into. Most people seem to have a talent for denying or ignoring life's contradictions, as the demands of work and life take them over. Or they fall for an ideology, perhaps religious or political, that appears to render the world a comprehensible place.

I have never been able to support either strategy. A sense of encroaching mental chaos was always skulking at the edges of my life. Which is perhaps why I fell into an acute depression at the age of 27, and didn't recover for several years.

The consequence of this was my first book, a memoir called The Scent of Dried Roses. While I was researching it, I read the work of psychologist Dorothy Rowe, a quiet, almost secret, follower of Buddhist philosophy.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2012/sep/21/zen-buddhism-lessons?newsfeed=true

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply Zen Buddhism teaches us of the importance of living in the present (Original post)
MindMover Sep 2012 OP
byeya Sep 2012 #1
MindMover Sep 2012 #2
Viva_Daddy Sep 2012 #3
defacto7 Sep 2012 #7
GliderGuider Sep 2012 #4
ellisonz Sep 2012 #5
DryHump Oct 2012 #8
ZombieHorde Sep 2012 #6

Response to MindMover (Original post)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 01:30 PM

1. An old adage, if that's the correct word: "When I first started to meditate and practice Zen,

 

mountains were mountains and trees were trees.
"After five years of intensive sitting and reading the sutras, mountains were no longer mountains and trees were no longer trees.
"After completing my studies and continuing to meditate, mountains are once again mountains and trees are once again trees."


Also see the Ten Ox Hearding pictures for another take on living in the world and perceiving its suchness.

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Response to byeya (Reply #1)

Sat Sep 22, 2012, 02:52 PM

2. Thank you for your contribution ...

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Thu Sep 27, 2012, 11:46 PM

3. Where else can one live but in the present?

You can remember the past or imagine the future but when you do you can only do it NOW. You can only BE now.

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Response to Viva_Daddy (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 30, 2012, 11:34 PM

7. Sorry for weaselling in but I think that's a point.

You are correct in my opinion, but many loose NOW completely as it's so habitually easy to remember "past" and imagine "future" to the exclusion of NOW. If we are only NOW, those who are lost in the past and future can't be NOW even though they are NOW, and in that lies confusion. Not that past and future aren't interesting but neither exist, and NOW is infinitesimally small. Reading the comments to that article are very telling to me in that regard.

I'm new to this group so excuse me if I'm being simplistic.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 12:12 PM

4. The comment thread on that article is quite shocking

 

At least to someone who accepts this stuff as self-evident...

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #4)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 03:02 PM

5. It's actually mild compared to the shit fest that is the DU Religion forum IMHO.

I thought the full essay was much better read. The excerpt did not encompass what the essay was really getting at: accepting imperfection.

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Response to GliderGuider (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 18, 2012, 05:34 PM

8. I agree with your take on those comments. I have read similar comment sections

and feel sorry for people who outright dismiss such a breathtaking perception as living in the pure present. The Zen experience is not a flabby surrendering to "whatever", it is the result of a conscious emptying of self until one knows consciousness in the pure present. The IS. Can't explain it to folks who don't want to see it.

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Response to MindMover (Original post)

Fri Sep 28, 2012, 08:40 PM

6. Thanks for posting. nt

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