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Thread: Getting caught on Zen terms

  1. #1

    Getting caught on Zen terms

    When one reads things like "Miraculous Awareness", one might get caught. These words are true, but I think it's a habit, for some, to make them more than what they are. For instance, one might think it's something big. It's not. It's not amazing or all knowing. It's not anything really. Just what it is.

    What I'm trying to say is just , sometimes, one might focus on the words more than one focuses on the practice. The words express the practice, but are just words. They are a guide only, or an expression.

    From when we were wee little tots we've associated certain ideas and meanings with words. Our vocabulary expanded with time and we started asking more questions, a vocabulary arose that added further meaning to new ideas.

    When we were kids we said: "No. Yucky. Boo boo." etc.. As we got older we say Enlightenment, Awareness, solitude, matrimony, non-thinking, Guru, wise, inexpressible, truth, and so on. The words are not action. They are an idea (A lot of the time, a presumption).

    How can we possibly know what Enlightenment is? We might have this idea that it's something...what?... great? etc. etc.. But that's an idea. One who is "Enlightened" doesn't talk about "Enlightenment", or have a view of what it is . So, we read the word Enlightenment, and think that "it must be something great". But seriously, how could you even begin to understand that word?

    So, words like Awareness, and Oneness are not the experience or idea of "Awareness" or "Oneness". They are only a guide to express this practice.



  2. #2

    Re: Getting caught on Zen terms

    Good advice. We should also beware of words that have outlived their usefulness. Humans have a terrible habit of assigning placeholder names for concepts that are incompletely or wrongly understood, like gravity. These words take on a life of their own, with baggage stuffed in their meaning, huge sprawling dictionary entries... then, when the concept is studied and figured out, its hard for the truth to stand out in that huge mass of baggage. There is no force like magnetism that causes you to stick to the planet. The moon does not have magic invisible 'tractor beams' holding it in orbit. Gravity is a word that is stuck poorly to the concept of the shape of space-time- the shape of all that space is what causes the phenomenon we call gravity. We have known this for decades, but most people still have the old idea.

    Enough rambling, especially since I can't think of a Zen example for this- I'm sure there is one, though!


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