November 05th, 2013

American Buddha

“Americans like to refer to one of the old Zen stories about how a master took a wooden Buddha image, chopped it up, and made a fire, warming himself by its flames. Seeing this, a monk asked, ‘What are you doing, setting fire to the Buddha?’

The master replied,’Where is Buddha?’

The opposite goes in America. In America we want to burn the Buddha images to begin with. You see, that monk was stuck in the image, stuck on the form. In America, we are antiform, so the pointing goes in another direction. If you’re attached to neither existence nor nonexistence, you manifest a sixteen-foot golden Buddha in a pile of shit and rubbish, appearing and disappearing.”

– John Daido Loori



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July 03rd, 2009

Showing Your Mind as a Mirror

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In the declaration below, Allen Ginsberg explains why it is vital to write.

I’ll let you read it for yourself, but add simply this. Similar to the how the ego is targeted as a pariah within the psyche’s field, the mind also is devalued and maligned as a function that sidetracks us — prevents focused attention. Especially in the Buddhist traditions, there’s too much oppression against the mind.

Ginsberg reminds us that the mind is a mirror. And when we remember this I think we’re aligned in the right way with our apparatus.

I discovered this entry today on a site I’ve been visiting, reading and enjoying very much lately, Luke StormsIntense City.

Luke gathers together a diverse collection of material — and mixes it alongside his own writing. He keeps things fresh that way, and, similar to what I’ve tried to do with Astroinquiry, finds inspiration by placing his own thoughts alongside the material that is most influencing and informing him in the moment. I think you’ll discover that Luke’s site is a place you’ll want to visit again and again. Like repeating a favorite long walk on a spring (or winter) day — along with the familiar road, there’s always something new to discover.

“Proclamation of the actual mind, manifesting your mind, writing the mind, which goes back to Kerouac but also goes back to Milarepa, goes back to his original instructions: Don’t you trust your own mind? Why do you need a piece of paper?

So writing could be seen as “writing your mind”, observing your own mind, or observe what’s vivid coming to mind. For the purpose of relieving your own paranoia, and others’, revealing yourself and communicating to others. It is a blessing for other people if you can communicate and relieve their sense of isolation, confusion, bewilderment, and suffering by offering your own mind as a sample of what’s palpable, visible, and whatever little you’ve learned.

In other words, if you can show your mind it reminds people that they have got a mind. If you can catch yourself thinking, it reminds people that they can catch themselves thinking. If you have a vivid moment that’s more open and compassionate, it reminds people that they have those vivid moments.

By showing your mind as a mirror, you can make a mirror for other people to recognize their own minds and see familiarity and not feel that their minds are unworthy of affection or appreciation. It is appreciation of consciousness, appreciation of our own consciousness.”

– Allen Ginsberg
 

Photograph: William S. Burroughs. 1953.


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December 19th, 2008

A Pre-Solstice Gift of Nothingness

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Buddhism anticipated the reluctant conclusions of modern psychology: guilt and anxiety are not adventitious but intrinsic to the ego. According to my interpretation of Buddhism, our dissatisfaction with life derives from a depression even more immediate than death-terror: the suspicion that “I” am not real.

The sense-of-self is not self-existing but a mental construction which experiences its own groundlessnes as a lack. This sense-of-lack is consistent with what psychotherapy has discovered about ontological guilt and basic anxiety. We usually cope with this lack by objectifying it in various ways and try to resolve it through projects which cannot succeed because they do not address the fundamental issue.

So our most problematic dualism is not life fearing death but a fragile sense-of-self dreading its own groundlessness. By accepting and yielding to that groundlessness, I can discover that I have always been grounded, not as a self-contained being but as one manifestation of a web of relationships which encompass everything. This solves the problem of desire by transforming it. As long as we are driven by lack, every desire becomes a sticky attachment that tries to fill up a bottomless pit. Without lack, the serenity of our no-thing-ness, i.e., the absence of any fixed nature, grants the freedom to become anything.

– David Loy Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 92 Vol. 24

Opening photograph:Untitled by Brassaï. 1932


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