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Philosophy 312: Oriental Philosophy
Zen Buddhism: Seek Your Own Nature

Abstract: The nature and lack of goals in Zen practice are noted.

I.  General remarks about introducing aspects of Zen.  The origins are as much Taoist as Buddhist.

    A. Recommended beginning works:

      Daisetz T. Suzuki, Introduction to Zen BuddhismGrove, 1991
      Philip Kapleau, Three Pillars of Zen.   Anchor, 1989.
      Alan Watts, The Way of ZenVintage, 1999.

    B. Zen Buddhism emphasizes ...

      1. A way of life by direct insight into your own nature.

      2. Intuition and a distain for intellectual or formalistic methods, dogma, institutions. Zen seeks to transcend the relativity of cultural conditioning.

      3. The nature of self is the nature of change itself. 

II. Original Mind: seek the deepest expression of your own nature.

    A. There is no connection between the "I" of yesterday and the "I" of today. There is an "eternal now" of the mind.

      1. When you desire, you give up your own precepts.

      2. You don't have to justify your existence by works. We don't exist for something else--just ourselves.

    B. Always be a beginner: express your own nature by doing.

      1. Everything has a Buddha-nature: do things the natural (right) way with "no hurry."

      2. Listen to yourself as the first step. Note Vasudeva's relationship with the river in Hesse's Siddhartha..

      3. Sometimes when we try too hard, we develop a "purposeful tremor."

III. The quality of your state of mind is the activity. Live as you see a movie twice and accept with gentle surprise.

    A. If you think "I" do x, the ""I" is extra and unnecessary. There is no "I," just the doing of "x."

    B. Compare "losing yourself" in activity.


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