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Thread: A Nietzsche quote about thinking and ego

  1. #51
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Hi Neo,



    Actually both would be wrong!
    This is NOT an either-or-question.
    You need to get both aspects under one roof.

    On the one hand you need your ego to live in this world - you could not "function" without it.
    However, you should not take things (and neither yourself) too seriously.

    This is the big cosmic joke: You are actually everything that is, but at the same time live as a separate, individual self through which IT/the Tao/the cosmos/God/[please fill in your favourite expression that like the others won't be able to describe the mystery anyway] realises itself.
    How funny, tragic, awesome, ordinary and extraordinary that is!

    In any case the first thing you must do is to fully accept yourself. And from that basis you can try to change your "little self" - but from a state of acceptance!
    If you completely gave up your ego you'd become a robot.
    However, at the same time you need to realise you are much more, and that all of this is just a great show - in fact the biggest and grandest show of all.
    You are stuck in this "dream" - so make the best out of it for yourself and everyone else. But at the same time you should act with the knowledge that it is in fact a "dream".
    Yes, there is birth and death - but no, actually there is not.

    You must know that in the long run happiness (not the superficial one, but more a constant state of being) can only come from within - never from outside factors.
    Because you cannot control those outside factors. If your hapiness depends on money, power, fame or recognition by others, etc. disappointment is to be expected.
    If your happiness comes from within, from a contentment with what is, being happy and grateful for the mere fact of being alive, everywhere is your home and "true happiness" can settle.

    This is not a one-time-thing - it is a constant practice.


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    Timo, you and Ben are just doing such a much better job today than me at explaining all this stuff! Lovely!

    I should shut up and let you two handle it!.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #52
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Timo, you and Ben are just doing such a much better job today than me at explaining all this stuff! Lovely!

    I should shut up and let you two handle it!.
    Jundo, please, you make me blush and are feeding my ego with this!
    No, seriously, I just have great teachers, so 10.000 bows go to you, Taigu and everyone else in this Sangha.


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  3. #53
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    are feeding my ego with this!
    WHO is feeding the ego? (Here is a clue: It is the ego)

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #54
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    WHO is feeding the ego? (Here is a clue: It is the ego)

    Gassho, J

    Hah! You've got me there - thank you!


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  5. #55
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Thank you Daitetsu! Wonderfully said. And yes Neo, that's the other aspect of all these things. When I mentioned no-self before it's true, but also not the big picture. Zen is a this and that frame of mind. Duality falls away in light of a practical paradox. There's no self because we're composed of non-self parts which are constantly in flux, but there also is a self. I am Nameless and John... not two. In the Heart Sutra it's said, "form is emptiness, emptiness is form," yet it's just as true that form is form AND emptiness is emptiness, simultaneously.

    This is why one is the other because they are each themselves at the same time. The sea is the sea and the wave is the wave at once, and the sea is the wave and the wave is the sea, ya dig? (Sorry, felt I had to throw a 1960s colloquial in there for some reason). So in this way there is the ego, and there's no ego... together. The ego is broken, and it's not broken. There's Neo and no-Neo. This experience and its resulting behavior is why Zen is called the Middle Way. To fall into neither extreme of the spectrum of duality. This is why Zen doesn't fall into nihilism, and why it cannot integrate the more self-godliness of existentialism.

    The no-duality paradigm extends into all concepts. "To go east one mile is to go west one mile." In this way, the ego continues one without anything extra. The sorrow, the concern with self, any anger or greed... they fall away because they're unessential. So experience of the non-self lets the ego realize that its always been at peace beneath all the BS.

    Gassho, John

  6. #56
    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    I get the feeling that u haven't read the whole post here.

    Anyway, the zen answer is something like - It's a concept that most of us (99.9% living today) identifies as our self, our sense of worth, seperated from the reste of the world we experience. According to some old teachings it's just an illusion and we are so much more than this small self. Some of us, very few, realizes this and can now dance from morning to nightfall without any fear or anxiety, cause they have leaped beyond all fear.
    Think about why you answered this post.

    Gassho, Jishin

  7. #57
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless View Post
    Hey Neo. I can relate. I was once in an eerily similar state of mind. Studied philosophy and theology for years trying to expand my mind, answer my questions and come to a view that felt right and... complete. After awhile I started to pick out views I agreed with from all these schools of thought. Started living by my own philosophy. To my amazement, the thing I created was very very similar to Zen Buddhism. When I read the first book on Zen I was blown away. So, I found it very easy to slip right into it because I was kind of practicing before knowing I was practicing haha.

    My ego, fed on speculation and intellectualism for almost three decades, has rebelled against zazen at times as well. I find it's beneficial to show myself kindness at such times. Visualize a mother consoling her infant. "It's okay sweetie, you're all right. We're just gonna sit now, okay?" I take a few deep breaths, and envelop myself completely in mindfulness when preparing to sit. Then, the ego settles and submits. Like a child afraid of the dark who's been lulled into sleep. If you're interested, this upcoming column written for the local paper might be useful.

    In regards to striving, learning, growing and all that I can only suggest the view of being the moment. If we drop all thoughts of, "Doing this for that reason," "I hate this I wish it was done, " "I love this, I wish it would never end," and just focus on the sweeping when we sweep then it's possible to truly be immersed in the motion of sweeping, united with it. Then, the floor being swept and clean is just a fortunate byproduct. This is anything but stagnant, this is the way of unadulterated equanimity, emotional beauty and satisfaction. The grass doesn't think of growing, it just grows. With this there is unconditional appreciation, which is the essence of enjoyment. That's my take on it at least.

    Gassho, John
    You need to get a cat.

    Gassho,

    Lee

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by Nameless View Post
    Hey Neo. I can relate. I was once in an eerily similar state of mind. Studied philosophy and theology for years trying to expand my mind, answer my questions and come to a view that felt right and... complete. After awhile I started to pick out views I agreed with from all these schools of thought. Started living by my own philosophy. To my amazement, the thing I created was very very similar to Zen Buddhism. When I read the first book on Zen I was blown away. So, I found it very easy to slip right into it because I was kind of practicing before knowing I was practicing haha.

    My ego, fed on speculation and intellectualism for almost three decades, has rebelled against zazen at times as well. I find it's beneficial to show myself kindness at such times. Visualize a mother consoling her infant. "It's okay sweetie, you're all right. We're just gonna sit now, okay?" I take a few deep breaths, and envelop myself completely in mindfulness when preparing to sit. Then, the ego settles and submits. Like a child afraid of the dark who's been lulled into sleep. If you're interested, this upcoming column written for the local paper might be useful.

    In regards to striving, learning, growing and all that I can only suggest the view of being the moment. If we drop all thoughts of, "Doing this for that reason," "I hate this I wish it was done, " "I love this, I wish it would never end," and just focus on the sweeping when we sweep then it's possible to truly be immersed in the motion of sweeping, united with it. Then, the floor being swept and clean is just a fortunate byproduct. This is anything but stagnant, this is the way of unadulterated equanimity, emotional beauty and satisfaction. The grass doesn't think of growing, it just grows. With this there is unconditional appreciation, which is the essence of enjoyment. That's my take on it at least.

    Gassho, John
    You need to get a cat.

    Gassho,

    Lee

  9. #59
    Member Liang's Avatar
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    Neo,

    I'd like to thank you for raising the questions you have and sharing your struggles of trying to make sense of all it in your head. The response you've gotten have been really helpful to me. I too constantly do philosophical juggling in my head and my mind loves to analyze, create theories and meta-theories. I want to get an A on the exam and a pat of the back from the professor; it's what my mind does best. When I started Zen I sat down and wrote down and numbered list of what I "knew" to be true, Descarte's First Meditations style. (I should probably throw that away!)

    So thanks for you questions and your courage. Maybe together we'll start a philosopher's anonymous chapter here at the sangha.

    Gassho, Fred

  10. #60
    An old Zen story ...

    There is a Zen story that tells of a university professor of Philosophy who comes to visit a famous Zen master. While the master is serving tea, the professor begins talking about all the things he knows of Zen and its principles, Existentialism and Positivism. The master, who remains quiet throughout the time that the professor is speaking, keeps pouring tea until it overflows the cup. Even then, he keeps on pouring. Seeing this strange, irrational act, the professor asks the master to stop pouring, as the cup is unable to hold any more and the overflowing tea is just wasted. Only then the master replies, “Exactly. You are like this cup; you are full of ideas. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can't put anything in. Before I can teach you, you'll have to empty your cup.”
    Some comments on a version of this story by our friend Nonin of Nebraska Zen Center ...

    http://www.prairiewindzen.org/emptying_your_cup.html

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #61
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
    You need to get a cat.

    Gassho,

    Lee
    Haha! Already do.

    Gassho, John

  12. #62
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    An old Zen story ...



    Some comments on a version of this story by our friend Nonin of Nebraska Zen Center ...

    http://www.prairiewindzen.org/emptying_your_cup.html

    Gassho, J
    Thank you,



    Willow

  13. #63
    Friend of Treeleaf Taikyo's Avatar
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    As a 'university professor of Philosophy' I teach Nietzshe to my students but not Zen, so here I keep quiet and drink my tea!

    Gassho
    Taikyo

    PS If anyone is interested there is a book by Robert G. Morrison entitled Nietzsche and Buddhism.

  14. #64
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    Think about why you posted at the first place.

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Neo View Post
    Think about why you posted at the first place.
    I don't know and that's OK! Let's have some tea and sit for a while.

    Gassho, Jishin

  16. #66
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Listen to the teaching without trying to make it conform to your own self-centered viewpoint; otherwise, you will be unable to understand what is said....

    Thank you, Master(s)


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajña from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  17. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by Daitetsu View Post
    Hi Neo,



    Actually both would be wrong!
    This is NOT an either-or-question.
    You need to get both aspects under one roof.

    On the one hand you need your ego to live in this world - you could not "function" without it.
    However, you should not take things (and neither yourself) too seriously.

    This is the big cosmic joke: You are actually everything that is, but at the same time live as a separate, individual self through which IT/the Tao/the cosmos/God/[please fill in your favourite expression that like the others won't be able to describe the mystery anyway] realises itself.
    How funny, tragic, awesome, ordinary and extraordinary that is!

    In any case the first thing you must do is to fully accept yourself. And from that basis you can try to change your "little self" - but from a state of acceptance!
    If you completely gave up your ego you'd become a robot.
    However, at the same time you need to realise you are much more, and that all of this is just a great show - in fact the biggest and grandest show of all.
    You are stuck in this "dream" - so make the best out of it for yourself and everyone else. But at the same time you should act with the knowledge that it is in fact a "dream".
    Yes, there is birth and death - but no, actually there is not.

    You must know that in the long run happiness (not the superficial one, but more a constant state of being) can only come from within - never from outside factors.
    Because you cannot control those outside factors. If your hapiness depends on money, power, fame or recognition by others, etc. disappointment is to be expected.
    If your happiness comes from within, from a contentment with what is, being happy and grateful for the mere fact of being alive, everywhere is your home, you see others as yourself and "true happiness" can settle.

    This is not a one-time-thing though - it is a constant practice.


    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    Yeah, this is right on.

    I've read a lot of philosophy, and a lot of Nietzsche and quite a bit of Sartre (though not his big giant book). In any case, there are similarities between these guys and Buddhism, and I personally don't find Nietzsche or Sartre to be nihilistic - I think that's an interpretation that they're often boxed into.

    More importantly though is this, at least for me: reading these philosophers was great, and sometimes fun, and sometimes made me feel awful, and etc, but the thing that I noticed, pretty quickly, was that with all of them, there was nothing to do. There was just more thinking, more reading, like an infinite regress. An almost purely intellectual thing. Insofar that thinking is an act, that's pretty much all that is there with these guys, these great thinkers - think, consider, and there's even an element of "believe" what they're saying. But with Buddhism, there is something to do; there is physical activity (and also mental activity) to be taken, which is zazen. The problem with these guys, to me, is that they do a great job of talking about the world, of trying to interpret it, but much of it is unhelpful in every day life. Seriously, how is Nietzsche's idea of an Unbermensch going to be helpful in every day life? I mean, it's a great idea, but many people disagree about what exactly he meant by it. How can anything be helpful in every day life, in concrete reality, if people can't even agree on the meaning of it? Same with the "will to power" - a lot of different interpretations. In the end, you're not running with Nietzsche or Sartre, it's just you and this world that is you, that is living through you, that you are living through.

    Zazen is doing the dropping of "finding meaning" in the world and "interpreting the world." By dropping all that, we find there is no need for meaning or not, no need for interpretation. Though meaning and interpretation can be fun, the trick is not getting tied up into trying to figure it all out - pulling our hair out about the meaning of it all. Zazen is not about stopping and not advancing and not being creative and not being intellectual - it's about opening to whatever we are and letting our intellect and creativity be what they are, freely, unimpinged by existentialism and Nietzsche or father figures or culture (as much as this is possible), etc.

    Gassho
    Last edited by alan.r; 01-25-2014 at 05:04 PM.
    Shōmon

  18. #68
    So in not studying philosophy, it sounds like I didn't miss much -)



    Kind regards. /\
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  19. #69
    Neo:

    btw, great thread. Thanks for starting it! I love this kind of stuff.......

    Gassho,

    Lee

  20. #70
    Senior Member Nameless's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    So in not studying philosophy, it sounds like I didn't miss much -)
    Just a headache and blurry vision Rich. Oh, and of course the million different ways to describe a tree without seeing one.

    Gassho, John

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by alan.r View Post

    Zazen is doing the dropping of "finding meaning" in the world and "interpreting the world." By dropping all that, we find there is no need for meaning or not, no need for interpretation. Though meaning and interpretation can be fun, the trick is not getting tied up into trying to figure it all out - pulling our hair out about the meaning of it all. Zazen is not about stopping and not advancing and not being creative and not being intellectual - it's about opening to whatever we are and letting our intellect and creativity be what they are, freely, unimpinged by existentialism and Nietzsche or father figures or culture (as much as this is possible), etc.

    Gassho
    Hmmm. Well, let me perhaps advise to drop even that, Alan! I think you mean that each has its place, but do not be their prisoner all tangled up.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong about being interested in Nietzsche, Existentialism or Western Philosophy while Practicing "Zen", no more than there is anything wrong with throwing oneself diligently into gardening, cooking eggs or reading Agatha Christie mysteries while Practicing "Zen". Each is lovely, and when tending roses in the garden do so with great energy ... when reading Nietzsche, just do that!

    Of course, we have our Shikantaza in which ... while sitting ... we drop all thought of Plato, Nietzsche, roses and eggs and Agatha Christie ... all to realize a Realize which fully transcends even while dancing all that!

    But rising from the cushion, get back to the philosophizing, mystery solving and rose pruning should one wish! Lovely! There may be times to stop, times to advance, pull one's hair out, be creative or intellectual. Have at it! It is Buddha pulling out Buddha's Hair!

    Know those times when we pick up the book or garden sheers, and those times when we put them down and head for the Zafu. Perhaps one will then sense a Reality where there is Plato and Nietzsche and roses and crab grass and eggs and Miss Marple, ... a Reality where Plato is found in every egg, where advancing is sitting perfectly still and Miss Marple tells us who killed Neitzsche. ... a Reality in which every Mystery is solved as so many mysteries remain!

    I find great meaning and direction in life through Zazen. How to describe the feeling?

    For me, life is something like being born on a mysterious sailboat sailing on the sea. Through this Practice, one finds that the key point is in the sailing, not the destination ... that there are good directions and bad (those that head into storms and onto rocks, those that go with the wind) ... and that water, sun and wind, wheel and mast, storms and clear skies, sails and this sailor are each separate, yet each one. Very Existential! (And there are even times to sit on the deck with a good book of German Philosophy!)

    Good Sailing!

    That is enough direction and meaning for me.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-26-2014 at 05:51 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #72
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    "Not knowing is most intimate."
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
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    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    For me, life is something like being born on a mysterious sailboat sailing on the sea. Through this Practice, one finds that the point is in the sailing, not the destination ... that there are good directions and bad (those that head into storms and onto rocks, those that go with the wind) ... and that water, sun and wind, wheel and mast, storms and clear skies, sails and this  sailor are each separate, yet each one.
    Beautifully put Jundo, thank you! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  24. #74
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hmmm. Well, let me perhaps advise to drop even that, Alan! I think you mean that each has its place, but do not be their prisoner all tangled up.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong about being interested in Nietzsche, Existentialism or Western Philosophy while Practicing "Zen", no more than there is anything wrong with throwing oneself diligently into gardening, cooking eggs or reading Agatha Christie mysteries while Practicing "Zen". Each is lovely, and when tending roses in the garden do so with great energy ... when reading Nietzsche, just do that!

    Of course, we have our Shikantaza in which ... while sitting ... we drop all thought of Plato, Nietzsche, roses and eggs and Agatha Christie ... all to realize a Realize which fully transcends even while dancing all that!

    But rising from the cushion, get back to the philosophizing, mystery solving and rose pruning should one wish! Lovely! There may be times to stop, times to advance, pull one's hair out, be creative or intellectual. Have at it! It is Buddha pulling out Buddha's Hair!

    Know those times when we pick up the book or garden sheers, and those times when we put them down and head for the Zafu. Perhaps one will then sense a Reality where there is Plato and Nietzsche and roses and crab grass and eggs and Miss Marple, ... a Reality where Plato is found in every egg, where advancing is sitting perfectly still and Miss Marple tells us who killed Neitzsche. ... a Reality in which every Mystery is solved as so many mysteries remain!

    I find great meaning and direction in life through Zazen. How to describe the feeling?

    For me, life is something like being born on a mysterious sailboat sailing on the sea. Through this Practice, one finds that the point is in the sailing, not the destination ... that there are good directions and bad (those that head into storms and onto rocks, those that go with the wind) ... and that water, sun and wind, wheel and mast, storms and clear skies, sails and this  sailor are each separate, yet each one. Very Existential! (And there are even times to sit on the deck with a good book of German Philosophy!)

    Good Sailing!

    That is enough direction and meaning for me.

    Gassho, J
    Yes, definitely! This is better expressed and exactly what I was going for. And you've hit it right on: "not be their prisoner all tangled up." For me, personally (and I sensed this with others in this thread), for a while (and it still occurs sometimes) I thought that if I read everything, all these philosophers, I'd really figure it out. I'd really get it. That seems sort of funny to me now, but I think I really believed this. And thinking that way led to some serious depressive tendencies because I'd get caught up in thoughts and a lot of other things. One of the things, the biggest things I've learned from you and Taigu, as well as many people here, is that studying philosophy is great, fun, and can be taken seriously, but there's a way to hold it all lightly, gently, and with some humor - take it seriously without taking it too seriously in other words.

    Thanks Jundo.

    Gassho
    Shōmon

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