Thursday, 12 February 2015

which of these is true ?


  1. Andrew, I need a serious question answered. All of Zen/Ch'an hinges on this question.

    You didn't put much thought into it before, but now, I want you to seriously consider it.

    Does the mind emerge from brain activity or is there an undifferentiated awareness (i.e., non-abiding awareness or One Mind) that our brains differentiate and reflect it into self-consciousness?

    Read Astus' first post here (it is the 2nd post):

    Then read this topic discussion:

    I've been reading about how consciousness may be involved in the collapse of the wave function: (David Chalmer's argues the possibility of consciousness being involved in the collapse of the wave function in quantum physics) (this article argues how wave function is ontologically real)

    There were many physicists like Erwin Schroedinger and Mac Planck... and plenty of others that believe Pure Consciousness to be fundamental and universal in the world.

    1. when I write, I don't let what I write be shackled by some conceptual superstructure and what emerges is that a collapse of wave function ! ?

      is what I write emergent infinity ?

      is 'consciousness" the inclusion or exclusion of emergent infinity ?

    2. I had to decapitate rats. The idea of mind being nothing more than a product of brain activity frightens me. If mind is nothing more than the shadow of brain activity, what point is there in practice? Why not become a Carvakan or Libertine then?

      All Dharmic faiths when they get "deep" make the implicit claim that the underlying nature of reality is primordial awareness without subject/object distinction or One Mind in Ch'an. For example, Dogen’s Shobogenzo chapter Sangai Yuishin argues "The triple world is just your mind". I have had kensho experiences in solitude and the cushion, but I still cannot discern if the triple world is just mind. These Buddhists and Hindus argue the true nature of mind is inherently nondifferentiated prior to conceptual thinking, the substratum of reality. They argue our awareness is not aware "OF x" until there is differentiation that reflects it into self-consciousness. Therefore, it cannot be grasped through discursive thinking. The 5th skandha is consciousness but non-abiding awareness is not the same thing as consciousness: "I am aware, therefore I neither am nor am not." - Red Pine

      However, if it is the case that the material precedes awareness, and the brain activity generates awareness, then man is cut off from the true nature of reality. Consciousness becomes epiphenomenal then.

      Read Astus' first post here (it is the 2nd post):

    3. flame house

  2. I've figured it out. I understand now. Matter is aware.

    "It is not difficult to show how matter is aware. Whatever matter there is there is an awareness perceiving it - in terms of common language. In other words all there are are nothing but perceptions without anything being beyond (independent matter) or before (independent mind) perceptions. This is actually saying that matter is aware since there's nothing that could be without awareness. But panpsychism is not like this as it conceives the world in dualistic ways which is contrary to the Buddhist understanding."

    I agree with this guy.

    This means the unreal and real truly do blur.

    Dreams are to be valued, just like the dream of this life.

  3. the skies are sickly gray here on long island. it's disgusting... no green in sight. i do have one tree right next to my bedroom window, birds like to nest there and i like to take a look once in a while. seems like the only mammals left in my area are mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, and possums. deer are way out east.

    1. and of course, mass mass amounts of humans.

    2. this is my view at work if i'm looking outside:

    3. Photo is from about a week ago

    4. Jason, boston looks much more Siberian ! :o)

    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Nan Huai Chin mentioned Dream of the Red Chamber in Diamond Sutra Explained (Pia Giammasi transl.)

    Nan Huai Chin was a very good celibate teacher. I wish he was still alive, so I could be his student or something. Most of Soto Zen is just fake and tends to get nihilistic with its materialism/physicalism.

    1. he wasn't enlightened and had a son at least (who is suing the publisher of his fathers books) and fits squarely with suburban zen !

      if you are concerned about soto zen being fake, why aren't you more careful about avoiding the same trap !

      you just don't accept that you don't understand , you don't listen to me and just parade your intransigence and limp along in stupidity !

      surely the world needs you somewhere else, am I going to be stuck with the waste of my lifetime entertaining you !

      really you should go away at this point, we have a profound difference of opinion . .

    2. Wait, he had a son? I couldn't find the sources.

      Also, Kusan Sunim had a son but was a good teacher.

      Some good teachers make mistakes.

    3. Andrew, I apologize. You are a good teachers and I won't mess up again. I tend to make a lot of mishaps here and there, but are you sure Nan Huai Chin had a son? I can't find any source on that.

      Nan Huai Chin seems pretty similar to Kusan Sunim to me. Hsu Yun was also similar to Kusan Sunim.

      Also, what exactly is our different in opinion? I'm still thinking about your poem about the glade and reveries in relation to making sense out of the senselessness, and how that leads to recursion, like the spiraling branches of the trees underneath the moonlight.

    4. Oh wow, you're right... he did have a son...

      Are you sure he wasn't enlightened though? How do you know Kusan Susan was enlightened by Nan Huai-Chin was not?

      Was Hsu Yun, Seongcheol, Kodo Sawaki, or any other teachers of the 21st century enlightened? Thanks, I want to know for future reference.

    5. I guess I oscillate too much. I won't do it anymore. The way I make progress is like troughs and peaks, and eventually it starts stabilizing with no more troughs or peaks, just steady progress. I apologize and you made a good point.

    6. yeah they are very quiet about it, he was family man and may have other children as well !

      kusan sumin was enlightened . . nan huai was not . .

      recursion is every where, what makes for enlightenment is to penetrate recursion in a meaningful way

      you lack an open mind . .

      you are still telling me how to do things and how it is ! . .

      you need to be focused on top quality understanding and leave the mediocre and pay attention to improving your sleep with diet and supplements

      instead you just meander through what is not junk, but not top notch enough . .

      throw the "collective" the bird (advice which zakaj would be advised to take as well with his buddhist and christian empire building !)

      to know wether someone is enlightened or not you need to have had the dai kensho experience then add thirty years to work it out . . .

      actually you don't need the thirty years but that's what it takes to get surety ! :o)

      you are like ewk and reddit zen, you just don't accept there is any valid thing !

      and actually it's not one dia kensho but a series and progression of understanding !


    7. there is no 'I', there is just oscillation and stability

      the oscillation never gets any less, but long term some stability of what happens/what the story is forms a solid base that there is no real questioning of a n y m o r e ! . ! : o)(

    8. "Was Hsu Yun, Seongcheol, Kodo Sawaki, or any other teachers of the 21st century enlightened?"


      none of them were enlightened, though there may be a partial understanding

      sawaki was good on the 'wisdom" side but was missing something . .

      as far as i can see there's a good possibility he was working for the secret police in world war II, i'm not being judgmental, but it just indicates how uneven things are once you derate/step out of the hagiography !

      that's why his so called claimed lineage descendents like gudo nishijima and brad warner who also have some understanding are still missing the 'essential understanding' !

      historically it's very rare over a thousand years of active ch'an activity there's only about 10 or so truely enlightened masters !


    9. in recent times toni packer and possibly george bowman were/are enlightened, george seems to be a mixed bag i think due to his health and various affairs holding him back . .

      joko beck is mixed bag, half schizophrenic / half sensible . .

    10. "advice which zakaj would be advised to take as well with his buddhist and christian empire building !"

      Ha! That's a very interesting observation. It made me giggle. It's a penetrating insight though! I'm not sure I'm able to follow the advice yet, but I do see its validity. I also have a very strong feeling that I will be able to follow it in the future.

      You say you need to have dai kensho in order to know someone is enlightened; I think it's at least possible to know someone is NOT enlightened even without dai kensho. For instance, to me it's obvious DT Suzuki was not enlightened. Even if you tell me I'm wrong, I wouldn't accept it. DT Suzuk is cleary the typical case of someone who was incredibly smart, had some empire-building tendencies, great work ethic, actually more than great, robot-like work ethic, - but he was not enlightened! He completely lacks the stuff of enlightenment isn't that clear from everything he ever wrote? To use Hegel's metaphor, it's like a church that is missing the altar, the tabernacle, the holiest center (the mystical insight). What's left is just some empty room and decoration. Similarly, DT Suzuki was just the semblance of Zen, without the essential.

      People who obsess over Chinese or Japanese culture are all unenlightened. Even though I'm married to a Japanese woman, I am proud to say I was never a Japanese fanboy. I don't like samurai, bullshido, anime, etc. The things I like about Japan are things stupid Western fanboys usually don't focus on. I like the fact that in Japan, people are very introverted, shy, and ignore each other. That's one of the things I love. Then I like their politeness (even if it's fake, I don't care; I just like politeness because it's automatic, and it allows me to deal with others in a mechanic way; when people demand a more "humane" relationship that is not just automatic politeness, they drain my energy and it's wasteful). Another thing I like is the everyday food.

      Entering into recursion - this is extremely interesting. As I see it, recursion is where the finite realm "breaks down" (some kind of "hole/flaw in the Matrix" to use movie language... or like in the movie Inception, when they put one mirror in front of another mirror and infinite recursion was achieved, the whole virtual reality (dream) shattered in pieces basically, recursion deconstructed the reality they were in). So recursion is the intersection between the finite and the infinite. It is "using the finite to express the infinite".

      In the Lankavatara Sutra it is expressed as "self-realization of wisdom"; that Sutra is full of voynich but there are some amazing passages. That self-realization of wisdom kind of wants to tell us that there is no subject who realizes the Truth, but that the Truth unfolds, or rather, that the Truth self-cognizes. It realizes itself. What's our role in that? None. Or perhaps: it uses us, it realizes itself "through us". We're like a detour.

      All I can say is that this is all very strange and a mystic is always near insanity. Perhaps it's only the mystic who can balance the worlds of sanity and insanity. In the final analysis though, I think that even sanity is a subset of insanity! A special dialect of insanity! Insanity is the larger category.

    11. Sorry for the disordered text. Too chaotic, I should edit more before posting. Anyway, I wanted to say two more things. One is, that I would advise Sepehr to try meditating with a mantra or a dharani. Constant focus on the meaninglessness of the dharani/mantra allows one to come to a different realtionship to language. The "I" is in a way created by language. So a shift in our way of being in language is required for a shift in the "I". I imagine Andrew will strongly disagree with this, but that's my take anyway. I hope he won't kick me out of here again for suggesting this. It's not empire-building, it's my modest personal exp.

      The second thing I want to say is, apropos the brain/mind thing, the bishop Berkeley, the philosopher, once used the following argument to disprove the idea that the brain creates the mind. It's very simple and elegant. Basically, it's in the form of a question.

      If we accept that all there is, is filtered through the mind; and that the mind creates (or at least modifies) reality. Then that which constitutes (or modifies) reality cannot itself be part of that reality. To give an example: a painter cannot paint his own painting into a painting. He can paint himself while he's painting himself. But that will never be complete (because of recursion). So if that is true, how can the brain be both an object, part of reality (basically a lump of flesh) while simultaneously being THAT WHICH underlies reality, that which constitutes it, or at least modifies it? It's a contradiction.

      The way to resolve it is to 1) admit that mind cannot be identified with the brain; - 2) use the simile of the radio. Suppose the brain is like a radio receiver. If we use this metaphor, then we can explain both why if someone is brain-damaged, his mind will be faulty, while at the same time, we don't identify mind with the brain. Just like a radio -receiver if it's broken, it won't play the music right, but nevertheless we wouldn't say it's the radio that composes the music. It just receives it and plays it.

      The brain is like a machine that receives a little bit of something that is infinite. That mind-stuff or the "One Mind" Huangbo was talking about.

      The expedients of the masters, focusing on "three pounds of flax" or foxing on a mantra like "gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha" all have to do with realizing all this, the prison of our habits and our language-games. Ultimately, the gate is through meaninglessness, not through meaning.

      This is also why Buddhist Sutras are so recursive, like the Lotus Sutra. The whole text is just an infinite loop. Same with the mantras and dharanis, the Sanskrit grammar is such that they refer to themselves.

    12. PS: I write comments partly because I think a little bit of what I say can be helpful, even though I often butcher the English language, for which I apologize to the native speakers. I will never be able to write beautiful English sentences. It's just too late for that. However, there can be beauty even in ugliness. But partly I write these comments also because I anticipate how they will be deconstructed in the future, either by me rereading them, or by andrew's replies. There is a certain passion for self-destruction, which is not aggressive or pathological. It's part of the impulse towards the mystical, because it presupposes self-deconstruction.

    13. PPS: I accept true deconstruction can only come from solitude and isolation and true contemplation. That's why I'm organizing my life in such a way as to allow that to happen. A lot of things have to be sorted out first; the bare minimum essentials: financial & health. But I have a strategy.

    14. On D.T.Suzuki:

    15. got the flu dave? that's hagiographical bullshit, surely you can do better, how about his ultranationalism and Nazi associations ?

    16. I'm not saying I believe it. But it's a supposedly first-hand account. Who am I to say it didn't happen?

      I have little interest in playing the "guess which dead person 'was enlightened' game".

      That said, I just got a book of May Sarton's poetry. She was enlightened. :)

    17. Zakaj, I like Japan's history of permaculture. Check out Masanobu Fukuoka, for example. He heavily influenced the permaculture movement in Australia by collaborating with figures like Bill Mollison and his buddy David Holmgren.

      I know an3drew said anime isn't good, but one anime that is on the level of quality art is Mushi-shi. One of the few decent anime. It goes a bit into Japan's history of self-sustainability too:

      It gets exceptionally good on Part 2 of Season 2.

  6. zakaj. your English is exceptional, nice fluid writing style, way beyond most of what is on the internet !

    my question to berkeley and yourself is "what is mind ? "

    I think sepehr's problem like most of us on the inter net is to winnow the useful from the not so useful to free up the necessary time for the real world !

    1. Yeah your englo is pretty goodo Zakaj Chan.

    2. Lol makes me think about the time in high school

      Doing some bullshit test about about spelling or grammar

      And fucking Japanese exchange student destroyed us, top marks of the class.

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. Thank you, Jon. I have some problems with low-confidence; hearing native English speakers say that is encouraging. I admit it brings me joy.

      Andrew: I have a special notebook for new words, I just wrote "winnow" down, what a beautiful word. I love the sound of some words, you always seem to pick the beautiful ones. Your style is superb, you can see the decades of refinement and self-deconstruction and introspection in it. I don't remember who said that style is character. That our true identity is the style, not the content of our writing. Style can never be changed perhaps, it can only be refined, with age.

      It's your uniqueness that strikes me. "Spiritual" people usually tend to be - to paraphrase Nietzsche - "apes of their ideals". Even the so-called Zen masters - most of them are just copy/pasting the same metaphors, same expressions, same tropes as the "lineage" passes down. It's part of the ritual. Shouldn't enlightenment create a unique individual? Why then do these self-proclaimed enlightened teachers carbon copies of their teachers? Is the seal of the mind like a photocopy machine creating numerous iterations of "the Master"?

      What attracts me to your work is the imponderability of it; I can never anticipate your replies. For most people, I can anticipate what they're gonna say or post next, but you are kind of a constant surprise. Not that you're stochastic. You're very consistent. And still, even within that self-consistency, there's infinite detail, kind of like a fractal infinity, that can is both algorithmically logical, finitely confined, and yet infinitely zoomable and surprising.

    5. "what is mind?"

      Dogen's reply:

      "... what is called "mind" [shin] is the mountains, rivers, lands, and the sun, the moon and the stars. However, if you carry this statement one step further, it becomes inadequate. If [on the other hand] you stop short of it, it becomes excessive. The mind qua mountains, rivers and lands is mountains, rivers and lands."

  7. "Ultimately, the gate is through meaninglessness, not through meaning"

    meaninglessness opens the gate, but entry is walking through the meaning of it !

  8. Hi guys,

    I like all these posts! I think I'll share a little something. Hope you like it!

    Andrew, a few months back you wrote something about the sun and vitamin d3. You compared the Canadian sun and the Australian sun, saying the Canadian would be weaker or some shit... let me look it up to refresh my memory.

    Ah yes in pending poems 123

    “ you only need ~ 4 minutes of incidental exposure to natural light on the surface area roughly equivalent to the back of your hand to keep you healthy ”

    in a lot of sun conditions even with a fair skin that would only give you 100 - 200 iu !

    lol, I am in australia, what you (ed. Canada) call sun we wouldn't : o)

    there's a new view emerging that the sulphation of cholesterol and vitamin D which only the sun gives is important for cardiovascular, immune and immunosuppressive health !

    Anyways this post made me think of some recent shit that went down back in the summer of 2011. (I'm in Canada)

    My cousin and I went down to the local lake. We were gonna do some canoeing. It was a bit rainy out but nothing too bad. Went to grab the canoe from the shack and I noticed that the rain started to kick up into a stronger storm.

    We tried to load the canoe into the water but the storm was getting too wild meaning the waves were also getting higher and stronger. So we said fuck it and started to watch the storm from dock. I went to stand on the end, to defy this storm.

    It got too strong though! The wind power and the waves kept increasing, I had to step back onto land. The wind started blowing the rain horizontally and then revert back to vertically. It went back and forth like this for a bit.

    I noticed that the clouds had a sort of inverted look to them, sorta like I was underground and I was looking up to some hills. Like, I could see the shape inverted upwards. Does this make sense? I'll try find an image.

    Here you go.

    Shit kept going on, we were hit with a heatwave, like it started from the southern part and spread through the north. I noticed it go across the lake, it gave off the mirage effect on the lake! Like you could see it sweep across... I felt the heat, it was very hot. Not burn your skin type of hot, just like sitting underneath a hot sun I suppose.

    Once it was over the cold wind came back with the rain blowing vertically for a bit. And then the heatwave came again! I'm not sure how many times this happened, alternating between the heat and the cold. Three times each at least, maybe four or five.

    It suddenly stopped and the storm slowly died down and the clouds slowly turned into this video which my friend recorded.

    Man, that wind blew down a lot of trees I later found out.

    Well, after this event I noticed the sun felt hotter. Like it would be late summer, even throughout fall and the sun would be pretty warm still. Only thing that would make it cold was a windy day.

    Even this winter there were a few odd things. In January there were a few periods where the snow was just melting away, felt like spring! I think actually like 2 periods in January, spaced apart by a week or two where in a few days this melting occurred.

    Also the moon crescent looks a bit weird, seems a bit off. And the area where the sun/moon rises/sets seems to be changing location every so slowly.

    I think this is just polar shifting activities, some ice age shit. North and South poles switching spots with the equator. Where Canada is usually cold it will start to become more of a hotter climate.

    I don't how I didn't do much research about this, this is just what I'm seeing and experiencing, not based on some hardcore research. Maybe I'm just seeing what I want to see, what do you guys figure?

    If there's typos or some parts didn't make sense please ask and I'll clarify it.

    1. jon

      i think why you posted this, is it is an actual experience of infinity !

  9. Also, this is a good adaptation about LM Montgomery's Emily of New Moon. It's about a young girl and her dream to be a good poet. There's lots of beautiful quotes from the anime, but I misplace them. Beautiful quotes about how nature "speaks" to her to write beautiful poetry and so forth.

    1. It's not 1st tier like Tarkovsky, Emily Dickinson, or Shiwu, but it is 2nd tier.

      2nd tier is still okay for entertainment sometimes, and it does point to 1st tier... It's just not 1st tier though.

    2. Mushishi is 1st tier though. Posted on 15 February 2015 at 21:50

      I've had powerful dreams inspired by its fable-like stories.

    3. sepehr

      the years pass quickly and how have you spent them ? that's what i ask myself !

      the mistakes loom large in hindsight !