Tag Archives | Zen

On There Not Being Enough Suffering in the World

D.T.Suzuki_Museum_08

Michael Steinberg writes at Open Salon:

As John Cage tells the story, D.T. Suzuki–the man who did the most to bring Zen to the West–was once asked by an earnest listener if he didn’t think there was too much suffering in the world. His reply was that there was exactly the right amount.

He was by no means being callous, though he may have been testy. (How much suffering would his listener have found tolerable?) Suzuki himself was far from unfeeling and he mourned his wife’s death very deeply. His point, though, was a simple one. The world is what it is, and given its history it can’t be any different. We couldn’t have this world with a different amount of suffering in it any more than we could have this world with flying monkeys. It would then be a different world and that world, too, would have exactly as much suffering in it as was necessary.

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Daniele Bolelli: The Drunken Taoist Takes On Gnosis

The following is from the new book, THE QUEST FOR GNOSIS, available now.Dan22

Mr. Bolelli is the author of the book, Create Your Own Religion: A How To Book Without Instructions. His perspective on life, death and everything in between has always intrigued and inspired me and I just had to have a talk with him for The Quest For Gnosis.

GDR: So… you’re called the “Drunken Taoist.”

DB: Sure.

GDR: Why is that? What’s the story behind that?

DB: Um… Drunken Taoist I guess, you know how in kung fu movies you’ve got the old drunk guy who looks like crap and always manages to defeat these burly, strong, younger, better, faster attackers and nobody can quite figure out how. The Drunken Taoist is the power of weirdness: It’s an unorthodox approach, that no one can quite figure out why it works, but it does.

GDR: Right.… Read the rest

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Alan Watts

Alan_Wattsdisinformation author (Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book without Instructions) and all-round badass academic Daniele Bolelli has written a primer on Alan Watts for Datsusara:

Those who can’t resist the urge to take popular heroes down a notch will tell you that Alan Watts was an alcoholic and was addicted to nicotine. They will tell you that he was a victim of his own excesses. They will tell you that he sometimes mischaracterized Buddhism and Taoism, and turned them into hippie fantasies. In saying this, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong, but at the same time they would be completely missing the point. Nobody says Alan Watts was a saint. Watts himself never claimed it, nor would he have been interested in it. What he craved was an intense life, not a perfect one. And those who can’t appreciate his philosophical genius, just because the good man had some issues, miss out on the contributions of one of the most brilliant and influential minds of the 20th century.

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The Metaphysics Of Ping-Pong

Table tennis

[Disinfo ed.’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Prelude to The Metaphysics Of Ping-Pong, by Guido Mina di Sospiro, published by Yellow Jersey Press, Random House, and long-listed for the William Hill Sports Book Award 2013.]

During a summer some years ago our friend Rupert Sheldrake — the controversial philosopher of science — his wife Jill and their two boys, Merlin and Cosmos, paid us a visit. I gave the boys rackets and showed them a few strokes. It was instant karma: they were hooked. Back in London, they persuaded their father to buy them a table and he himself has become a player. Every time I went to visit them there were the inevitable ping-pong matches. I’d play for hours with both sons and with Rupert, too. It was fun and, surprisingly, also intellectually stimulating. There was something unusual about the essence of the game that escaped us. Eventually, after some speculative discussions about it, we realized what was intriguing us: the fact that ping-pong is strikingly non-Euclidean.… Read the rest

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“There Is No God and He Is Always with You” – A Conversation with Brad Warner: Monk. Punk. Dr. Funk

Great Sky 2009 057There Is No God and He Is Always with You is the title of Brad Warner’s latest book which is sure to raise a few eyebrows along with many questions, such as, “Can you be an atheist and still believe in God? Can you be a true believer and still doubt? Can Zen give us a way past our constant fighting about God?”

From Publisher’s Weekly:

In his new book, Warner (Hardcore Zen) momentarily sets aside his punk weapons of iconoclasm and takes a more respectful, even reverential tone to a perennial question: does God exist? As a practicing Zen Buddhist, his way of considering this question is entangled in oft-misunderstood concepts such as enlightenment. Warner never shies away from such complications; instead, they become grounds where the Western understanding of God and the Buddhist approach to reality and experience meet. For Warner, his practice is a way to approach and understand God without dealing with religion.

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Introducing Alan Watts?

It's unlikely this will be an introduction for most Disnfonaughts but as the community grows it's worth welcoming newcomers with a few of the basics. Trust me when I say he'll be useful to you if you're unaware of his work[1]. Open Culture has highlighted the arrival of the complete 1959 series of television shows which helped to make his name in the US. If you're familliar with his work you'll have skipped this, prepared yourself a good fat tasty portion of Zen and already be watching the master weave some 'classic' spells. Open culture writes:
The British-born interpreter and popularizer of East Asian Buddhist thought generated most of his media in the San Francisco of the 1950s and 1960s, and his televised lectures, produced for local public station KQED, must have offered many a San Franciscan their very first glimpse of Zen. Now that episodes of his series Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life have made it to YouTube (season one, season two), you can see for yourself that Watts’ then-cutting-edge delivery of this ancient wisdom remains entertaining, informative, and striking in its clarity. Begin with the introductory episode above, “Man and Nature,” in which Watts calmly lays out his observations of the ill effects of Westerners’ having grown to distrust their human instincts. FULL STORY HERE.
[1] Early rumours surrounding The Discordian Holy text "Principia Discordia" placed him as its author. This speaks to the clout he had in the US spiritual counter culture. Nick Margerrison
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Duncan Trussell on The DisinfoCast With Matt Staggs

Duncan TrussellDuncan Trussell | The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 09

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Comedian, actor, writer and podcaster Duncan Trussell (The Duncan Trussell Family Hour, MADtv, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time) joins me for this episode of The DisinfoCast. Trussell talks about his childhood attempt to raise quail from the dead, his experiences as a student of Zen and the ways in which psychedelics are like personal lubricants. When you’re done listening to the show, visit Duncan at www.duncantrussell.com.
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Sex, Sake and Zen

Portrait o fIkkyū By Bokusai[Site editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the new Disinformation title 50 Things You’re Not Supposed To Know: Religion, authored by Daniele Bolelli.]

Most Westerners who become fascinated with Zen Buddhism are intrigued with its reputation as an anti-authoritarian, freedom-loving, individualistic tradition. Books by excellent writers like Alan Watts popularized an image of Zen as a very relaxed, go-with-the-flow type of religion. But even a brief visit to a typical Zen temple is enough to make us painfully aware of the difference between hype and reality. Life in real Zen temples, in fact, is often so structured, regimented and heavily regulated as to quickly dispel the romanticism created by much of the literature about it. Far from being a hippie rendition of Buddhism, Zen discipleship can be demanding and severe.

But sometimes even misguided stereotypes are born from seeds of truth. Enter 15th century Japanese monk Ikkyu Sojun, who was truly as free, wild and allergic to authorities as advertised.… Read the rest

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Resist ‘1984’ in 2010: Facebook Mass Deactivation Attempt on March 7th

This is a call to all readers,

I represent a small group of people who have chosen to permanently deactivate from Facebook on March 7th.

Although we are all aware of the website’s convenience, we are abandoning Facebook for the Promised Land that was once known as life. In order to demonstrate our acknowledgement of the website’s obvious capabilities, we created an event page using Facebook. You can find it here:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=308145337480&ref=ts

On behalf of dwindling humanity in the face of population overload, we cordially invite you to check out the page, and hope that you will consider participating in deactivation on March 7. By gathering many participants in a show of solidarity, we hope to create some awareness and generate mainstream discussion on the true implications of web 2.0.

On the page you’ll find a heated and sometimes hilarious wall-debate outlining many different reasons why one may or may not choose to take up the cause.… Read the rest

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