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Thread: Woodstock Zen

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Woodstock Zen

    I've been fixated on all the 40th anniversary of Woodstock stuff. I watched the movie again the other night and I was struck by how zen-like the whole event was. People were "in the moment" and peaceful and unified (like a sangha of sorts) and well-behaved towards each other and the town folk. The people there realized that they were bigger than just themselves, that their personal reality was shared by others, lots of others, and that realization created a connection between them that made them One beyond one-ness, sort of. It was like a collective enlightenment, a sort of group kensho. This sounds over blown, but that's the way people talked about it then and still talk about it now, because once you've had that type of experience you can't go back to the old way of looking at things. Yes, it was naive and there were drugs, so no, it wasn't perfect and not everyone was happy about it there, but just because sometimes beauty is flawed doesn't mean it's still not beautiful.

    I was going on 11 years old at the time and lived a couple hours away from a town called Woodstock, Illinois. I was convinced that's where the concert was and was trying to get someone to take me there. Eventually I figured out it was in upstate New York and was really disappointed, and also a little confused :?

  2. #2

    Re: Woodstock Zen

    I'm just not of that era, and like many in my generation, Woodstock to me creates images of hippi new-agers, alot of drugs, then who eventually grew up to be the faces now who tell you what you can and cant listen to, what you can or can't eat... what you can and cant say because one person out of a million " might" be offended...basically they became the authority figures of my generation, our parents, teachers, politicians, etc etc so naturally its not as magical, as it's just not from the world we know, of an era so different really than our own a generation raised on hair bands, old school punk, fast technology booms, and credit cards ( not that it didn't create it's own branches of problems or anything >.>) ...needless to say though that several bands I love played there

    but.. your right, Having done the concert hopping things in my life, like edgefest, ozz-fest, driving a few hours to see Nine inch Nails, or Tool play in another town, or go to a sporting event, be it peewee, highschool, collage, professional, etc.... when you get the collection of individuals in something like a game, or a concert people tend to just...slip into that moment regardless of what music genre is, what the demographic is, what the social views etc etc...there is a little zenfulness in all of it.

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Woodstock Zen

    Views on Woodstock definitely seems to be generationally based. It seems both older and younger don't quite "get it" the way those of us of that generation seem to, and we didn't have to be there to "get it" either. I feel like I understood it just watching it on the news. Of course, I didn't understand it the way those there did, but I felt something similar, or so I am convinced. All the words I've been reading about it still don't adequately seem to describe it for those witnessing it, from near or afar. We don't understand others' enlightenment experiences either, but that doesn't mean it's ok to doubt them or denigrate them (not that I am accusing you of that). Part of the lingering mystery of Woodstock is how it came to be seen as so magical that 40 years later there is still fascination with it, but for those there it was also the most natural thing in the world. Not two things, by the way.

    And yes, similar experiences happen with any big crowd, but this was a HUGE crowd, 400,000 people, so multiply that normal crowd experience by whatever many times, then add the beautiful outdoors, a rainstorm, lack of food and water and sanitation facilities, and you get a rock-n-roll zen monastery :roll:

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Woodstock Zen

    There is a zen monastery there...well, a few towns over anyway: http://www.mro.org

  5. #5

    Re: Woodstock Zen

    Wow, far out. I don't know what else to say except how much is my ticket worth?
    /Rich

  6. #6

    Re: Woodstock Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Views on Woodstock definitely seems to be generationally based. It seems both older and younger don't quite "get it" the way those of us of that generation seem to, and we didn't have to be there to "get it" either. I feel like I understood it just watching it on the news. Of course, I didn't understand it the way those there did, but I felt something similar, or so I am convinced. All the words I've been reading about it still don't adequately seem to describe it for those witnessing it, from near or afar. We don't understand others' enlightenment experiences either, but that doesn't mean it's ok to doubt them or denigrate them (not that I am accusing you of that). Part of the lingering mystery of Woodstock is how it came to be seen as so magical that 40 years later there is still fascination with it, but for those there it was also the most natural thing in the world. Not two things, by the way.

    And yes, similar experiences happen with any big crowd, but this was a HUGE crowd, 400,000 people, so multiply that normal crowd experience by whatever many times, then add the beautiful outdoors, a rainstorm, lack of food and water and sanitation facilities, and you get a rock-n-roll zen monastery :roll:


    Yup, I would totally go with that being a generational thing, I mean... I PERSONALLY don't see anything negative of it.. I admit in my current mind can't see myself having been interested as monster events have never really been my thing and a few other reasons.....but then again I look at it too that...It was a different era, one that yes shaped my own, however soooooo different in many ways that is IS hard to wrap my brain around it completely ....and look what happened when we tried to " revive" Woodstock for this generation... we got in two events, now they refuse to do them anymore because of the riots, fights, fires, 10 dollars for a bottle of water etc etc etc

  7. #7

    Re: Woodstock Zen

    I have watched the movie & enjoyed Jimi's jams at Woodstock. The only thing that I find fascinating is how many folks seems to be so attached to a particular moment in their lives that they seemed trapped in a particular moment.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Woodstock Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    The only thing that I find fascinating is how many folks seems to be so attached to a particular moment in their lives that they seemed trapped in a particular moment.
    Good point! To draw out my enlightenment analogy, some people got stuck there. And just like when we get stuck aiming for a repeat kensho experience it all goes to hell on us, as shown by how all the attempts at recreating that Woodstock experience have all gone quite badly for various reasons.

  9. #9
    Senior Member bayamo's Avatar
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    Re: Woodstock Zen

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    I have watched the movie & enjoyed Jimi's jams at Woodstock. The only thing that I find fascinating is how many folks seems to be so attached to a particular moment in their lives that they seemed trapped in a particular moment.
    exactly!! that seems to me a case of people who have a "moment of brilliance" or "flash of clarity" but fail to move on from that specific point/ moment and for ever search after it.. what happened then, can never come again..

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