I've been asking myself has my view on life changed since joining Treeleaf and the answer comes back 'No - not in any essential aspect.' But if I ask myself has my inner life changed - the answer is 'yes'.
This inner change is quite subtle because what I've realised is that my mind hasn't been engaged with any great resistance to Zen teachings. Whatever I read - though it is in a sense 'new information ( I knew very little about Zen/Buddhist philosophy beyond popular notion) the words strike a chord. In many ways it has felt like coming home - and the practice of Zazen felt like this also - once I'd got beyond worrying about sustaining posture, etc.
But - a couple of weeks ago - after reading the Brazier article Jundo recommended (Eight different kinds of enlightenment) - and the next couple of chapters on Critical Buddhism - my critical/analyzing mind jump-started. Something in me felt the need to 'defend' what I've taken on at the level of faith and belief (embraced by experience/intuition). Brazier's argument is that in the West (mainly through Zen) we've possibly embodied 'a fallacious distortion of Buddhism' by re-introducing the Atman type concepts of 'Inherent Buddha nature' and 'original enlightenment' - ' the Absolute' etc
The main case for the above is taken from a series of essays in a book called 'Pruning the Bodhi Tree'. Brazier does - fleetingly - mention the counter arguments that are included in the book. I haven't bought the book - it's over 500 pages long - and I've already over-extended my reading quota.But I am now mulling over these questions that hadn't struck me before.
I guess we can choose to make this as simple or complicated as we like - but my way of coming at learning about Zen is beginning to feel like a messy jigsaw puzzle.
How do others approach this - centre piece first (intuition - feels right) - or the outside edges (rational, conceptual knowledge/argument)?