Sunday, October 5, 2008


Originally posted on Peter's blog, The Stupid Way.
Prajna and precepts seem to be two different types of tools. Prajna only has relevance in an immediate, real, situation. Put simplistically, should I do A or B or something else *now*, given this real thing currently in front of my nose? And even that fails to describe it, I think. There is no choosing. Prajna presents the answer immediately, without question, when the "problem" arises.

The precepts play a different role. The precepts are generalisms. With out consideration to an specific real issue in front of you, they guide how you should head. They are (sorry, gotta try being absolute here just to see if it feels right) never ever appropriate for figuring out your path through an immediate real thing in front of your nose. In that case stop, meditate (even for a second), and see what the real right answer is that maybe prajna will reveal. (well, maybe that is too absolute, but still has the right flavor, I think).

I don't think I could trust a teacher who never got angry, who did not curse, or was never petty, or sad, or such at some point, in some way....or even if they really 'had it together', if they say people that exhibit such 'real' behavior, are not on the right path or such, I could not trust them.

Buddhism has no rank. These titles of Master, roshi, whatever, are social terms, not real terms. That is to say, a cat is a cat, a dog is a dog, and a person is a person. That's it. To say, "he should not be listened to because of x,y,z" .....

Damn, that ain't quite it...

There is no final. right stage in buddhism, I believe as far as relativistic, observed behavior goes. I'm guessing the final stage of buddhism is to act always out of prajna rather than checking a list of rules before each action you take. A person acting out of prajna, or striving to, may seem, at times, angry, or cussing, or rude, or extremely nice. One could say "what is he, he is angry, anger is bad, he is bad" or one could strive to see if the anger, or cussing or rudeness, bore (to borrow a Christian metaphor) good fruit.

As a new father I find that a "rule" I give my daughter one day for one situation may be entirely appropriate, but she can turn it into a justification for something really inappropriate the next day. Though this does mean I need better skills at rule making, it also has taught me that I must teach my daughter to make relative (prajna-esque) type decisions, not to operate from absolute rules.

Dogs howl to warn of danger. That is buddha-nature. If people 'howl' to warn of danger, that could be buddha-nature, or it could be rudeness and anger. Only our own prajna can guide us.

If I personally judge based only on precepts I believe I am headed down the wrong path.


Saturday, October 4, 2008

Short Course

We must all, ultimately, teach ourselves. No description of 'reality' will ever match 'reality.' It must be seen directly. I suppose the/a gateway to this is zazen. Various teachers/masters may have ways of describing 'it' that are more successful for a particular student/seeker than another.

A teacher that says 'yes, I can definitely get you there' however, is against the thesis that 'there' can't be described. A teacher that says 'this is what it looks like to me, but for you it may be different' seems to be more truthful.

We all that are curious about these matters have the ability to get there, finally, on our own. Someone who has been traveling there before us, or is there, that can speak to us in a way that we each, individually, can hear, is a tremendous time saver. If we get nothing but confusion from a teacher, drop them like a hot rock.

If a teacher appears to be antithetical to where you posit you should be headed, drop them.

'There', in fact, is nowhere. Another key thesis is we have the very aspect (nature) already available (within us) to see reality directly (the 'buddhadharma') without the relativism of right-wrong, strong-weak, rich-poor, smart-stupid, evil-kind, etc... coloring what is in front of us.

Arguments over precepts can not be helpful because arguments are a focus on right-wrong relativism.

It simply cannot matter what someone else says. Words do not change 'it'.

There seem to be a very few key points of theory about this game, and those few key points have had thousands and thousands of pages written about them.

The points as I see them today
There is a reality here that we don't experience directly.
Neither good nor bad, just
It is clouded by a habit of relativism/idealism.
Description can not capture it, only direct experience.
Sitting zazen is a practice of experiencing directly.
With sitting we can see how busy our intellect is categorizing, dreaming of the past and future.
[the map is now more murky]
With practice, somehow, with time but suddenly, this veil through which we normally filter 'it' drops away, and we can be in reality.
Then we must take a ain't a fairy tale, it's just reality.

Quoting Frost (probably with error)
"We dance around in a ring and suppose, but the secret sits in the middle and knows."

Good lasagna is a wonderful thing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Discourse on the Four Noble Truths

The 2 Extremes to avoid
devotion to indulgence of pleasure in the objects of sensual desire
pursuit of sensual happiness in sense pleasures
addiction to indulgence of sense-pleasures
That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects
devotion to self-torment
pursuit of self-mortification
addiction to self-mortification
that which is devoted to self-affliction

Vibhava-tanha (craving for non-becoming) is wishing & e.g.
Wanting not to become sick, old, ugly, foolish etc;
Hoping not to become dead, poor, despised etc;
Desiring not to become bored, unsatisfed, confused etc.
In general: Craving for future not-(be)coming of all unliked states!
It is commonly present & dominant in mental states such as:
Fear, anxiety, worry, feelings of insecurity & various concerns!
It is basicly the mirrored opposite of craving for becoming of all
liked states such as craving for becoming rich, young, beautiful etc.
They are thus equally effective as the primary Cause of Suffering!
See also: