deepstash

Beta

Alan Watts - the Western Buddhist who healed my mind - Tim Lott | Aeon Essays

The Zen View Of Life

For Zen practitioners, life is transitory and insubstantial. There is no security and thinking otherwise is a waste of time. 

They also don’t believe in an afterlife. Reincarnation can be more accurately thought of as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy before and after death.

608 SAVES


This is a professional note extracted from an online article.

Read more efficiently

Save what inspires you

Remember anything

IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

Alan Watts - the Western Buddhist who healed my mind - Tim Lott | Aeon Essays

Alan Watts - the Western Buddhist who healed my mind - Tim Lott | Aeon Essays

https://aeon.co/essays/alan-watts-the-western-buddhist-who-healed-my-mind

aeon.co

6

Key Ideas

The Zen View Of Morals

Evil cannot be destroyed, any more than good can, because they are polar opposites of the same thing. Destruction and creation, chaos and order; opposite aspects of reality, in tension with one another, are necessary to keep the whole going: the unity of opposites.

Zen makes no judgment about good or bad besides saying both are necessary to make the universe dynamic. Zen has no particular moral code and The Noble Truths are not moral teachings. 

The Zen View Of Life

For Zen practitioners, life is transitory and insubstantial. There is no security and thinking otherwise is a waste of time. 

They also don’t believe in an afterlife. Reincarnation can be more accurately thought of as a constant rebirth, of death throughout life, and the continual coming and going of universal energy before and after death.

The Zen View Of The World

The word 'Zen' means emptiness or void. This is the basis of Zen — that all that exists is based on a dynamic emptiness. Which is also what quantum science says.

In this view, there is no difference between matter and energy. Look at anything closely enough and you will see that it is an event, not a thing. Furthermore, there is not a ‘multiplicity of events’. There is just one event, with multiple aspects, unfolding. 

Instinctual Versus Intentional Behavior

Western philosophical traditions tend to distrust spontaneity since it supposedly clears the way for the dominance of brute animal instincts and dangerous passions.

Conversely, Zen thinkers believe that intuition, in a healthy soul, is more important than conscious reflection and that evolution has made the human unconscious wise, not reckless.

Western Versus Eastern Philosophy

Westerners find Buddhism frustrating as it deemphasizes language, reason and logic as tools to transform the self or to ‘know’. The riddles, or koans, that Zen thinkers speak in are intended to confuse and expose how inadequate words are in making sense.

Zen emphasizes intuition and mushin, an empty mind, over plans and thoughts. The ideal is that your mind can be unblocked from maya (illusion and play) and thus acquire a kind of resonance or instant reflection, or munen, which translates roughly as now/mind/heart.

Alan Watts’ Take On Buddhism

  • Life has no intrinsic meaning but that which we give it.
  • Everything is uncertain, so we must put together a world view that fits roughly with the facts, and accept that it is just a guess.
  • Life cannot be described, only experienced.
  • Zazen, spending hours seated in contemplative meditation, is unnecessary.
  • Karma and reincarnation are not real.
  • Zen and Taoism are more like psychotherapy than religion. They offer ways to maintain a healthy personality in a contradictory and repressive culture.
  • Zen philosophy teaches one to think clearly, and thus transcend conventional thinking to a place where the mind could be at peace despite its environment.

EXPLORE MORE AROUND THESE TOPICS:

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

The Universal God

Aldous Huxley's The Perennial Philosophy(1945) is an extraordinary work of synthesis, introducing global (particularly eastern) spirituality into mainstream western culture.

The Phi...

Fresh Take On Religion
  • Modern society has been described as the Age of Noise, and an Organized Lovelessness.
  • Advertising is revealed to be an organized effort to extend and intensify craving.
  • People in the modern age worship progress, technology, and their nation-state, all of which can be described as a 'religion'.
  • The dogma of such religions was profoundly criticized in the classic books, while paving the way towards newer ways to find God, like meditation.

The Author and Philosopher's fresh take on religion, shaping it as an 'empirical spirituality' was a huge influence in the 1960s and which has since then led to more people (now 27% in the US) being 'Spiritual but not Religious'

Constructing One's Reality

Aldous Huxley was heavily criticized after his death by newer philosophers who didn't subscribe to the Perennial Philosophy.

While the author insisted that the ultimate mystical experience is the moment of pure oneness with God where the concepts of 'I', language, image and culture are dissolved, his critics argued that all religions are true and some of them are truer than the others.

One of the critics states that human beings construct reality using their bodies, rituals, words, actions and cultures.

one more idea

One of the reasons why Stoicism is enjoying a revival today is that it gives concrete answers to moral questions.
Aristotle gave us an alternative conception of happiness

It cannot be acquired by pleasurable experiences but only by identifying and realizing our own potential, moral and creative, in our specific environments, with our particular family, friends and colleagues, and helping others to do so. 

5 Zen Principles To Live By
  1. Whatever you do, practice being in the moment.
  2. Makes sure you enjoy most moments of your day.
  3. Don’t look for happiness in other places. Find it right where...