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Is the world still the same

JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matterNetherlands Veteran
edited December 2022 in Buddhism Today

I was listening to Osho talking about Zen* the other day, a lovely story about how Tokusan visited Isan’s temple, went inside, went from east to west and from west to east, said “mu, mu” and then went out again, only to remind himself he must not be hasty. Then he dressed formally, went inside again and approached Isan, who reached down to pick up his staff. Tokusan then said, “kwatz”, and left. Later Isan asked his attendant what happened to the new fellow, and was told he had gone up into the hills. At which Isan said, that fellow will establish a hermitage and will one day assail the heavens and harrangue the patriarchs.

Osho’s first comment on the story was that the world of today was no longer the same as it was in the days when these stories were just new. That they no longer speak to us in the same way as they did to people then, and that modern man would be lucky if he just caught a glimpse of the path that those Zen monks walked.

It seems to me that today our minds have a different relationship with story than the people in the old times did. Since the advent of TV we have as many stories as we wish, and our minds are steeped in story. We are used to taking up a story like a coat, wearing it for a few hours and then putting it off again. Something like the Zen story of Tokusan and Isan is no longer puzzled over, left to settle within the mind.

What do you think? Are we still the same, and is the world still the same?

(*: the story is from Zen The Diamond Thunderbolt, discourse no. 2)

Comments

  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    The world is much the same, but the noise in our minds is a bit different, and, perhaps, louder. More difficult to tune out, but that seems to be the task.

    Shoshin1FleaMarketJeroen
  • I think we're still the same. The minds aren't fundamentally different and neither is the body. The difference may be more in how quickly information is processed and how fast events arise and fade. Kids these days don't even need to finish the tv show to know the ending or they assume the remainder of the story. Likely because they've heard about a dozen similar stories, a dozen stories that seemed similar but with a bizarre twist at the end, a dozen similar stories that are similarly aware the viewer knows of twists and feigns a twist but doesn't twist...and so on. We all know those jokes and phrases that once were new and are now so over-used it's like beating a dead horse until it's a really really really dead horse that's super dead. Ever been on the receiving end of one of those stories? It's a practice in compassion and patience. Probably similarly being on the receiving end of incessant rambling of a kid trying to explain their favorite video games.

    In the days of yore you'd catch a line or two at the local water-cooler, take it home, share it with your family or friends, contemplate on it and laugh on it as much as a week later. Now a quick scroll through any major social media and you've got multiple "days of old life-times" of content in less than an hour. Everyone does.

    It starts to create a different view maybe. Sort of a hive-mind effect? Like a scatter plot. The more inputs the more visible the trend becomes. Don't need to complete each point necessarily to verify. Enough people have done that already. Just like enough people have listened to a story and gone on a journey and reported their findings in their own unique ways. Collect the stories rather than take one yourself and find the pattern then grow from there instead. Of course without the first-hand experience or trust in someone experienced in the ways of the stories, this sort of short-hand understanding can be misleading but there are modern safeguards which with a little insight can be put in place as well to prevent that.

    Something else that comes to mind, I think of both elephant and hummingbird living on the same earth and even though their experience of life and time is quite different, that doesn't change the properties in the world in which they both live nor the interconnected nature of it. Maybe one is seen for the differences, and the other too for the differences, but fundamentally I think the difference in the individual experiences of the world is less than initially thought. And maybe in the sharing of each view, there is less difference to be found than what is searched for. Furthermore, each contributing in their own necessary way to the overall health of the ecosystem which sustains them and others.

    ..I think I needed to write. :dizzy:

    Where'd you find the audio for that story, @Jeroen? I'd be interested in giving it a listen.

    JeffreyJeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Here is a link to that series of discourses on OshoWorld for you @FleaMarket

    https://oshoworld.com/zen-the-diamond-thunderbolt-01-13/

    Osho talked a lot about Zen in his later years and I am just getting into those discourses, so you’ll have to forgive me if I make a few topics about them. Zen is a very worthwhile subject anyway.

    FleaMarket
  • Is the world still the same
    What do you think? Are we still the same, and is the world still the same?

    Times change, change is inevitable but perhaps people don't really change.......that much in how they react to life's experience where suffering is optional....

    Dukkha is Dukkha....and experiencing Dukkha (unsatifactoriness) in its many forms hasn't changed throughout the ages...The feelings and reactions remain the same...

    Jeroen
  • @Jeroen said:
    Here is a link to that series of discourses on OshoWorld for you @FleaMarket

    https://oshoworld.com/zen-the-diamond-thunderbolt-01-13/

    Osho talked a lot about Zen in his later years and I am just getting into those discourses, so you’ll have to forgive me if I make a few topics about them. Zen is a very worthwhile subject anyway.

    Thanks.

    I like your topics. They somehow stick in the mind longer than most stuff and they're usually worth the ponder. Post as many as you like, just forgive me if I do more of that stuff above on some of them. I haven't figured out how to plug that up just yet.

    Jeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited December 2022

    @FleaMarket said:
    just forgive me if I do more of that stuff above on some of them. I haven't figured out how to plug that up just yet.

    You’re very welcome to ramble. I’m not convinced that “plugging it up” is the right response to that impulse anyway… the gift of speech is something that can evolve. As you gain wisdom the fountain of words becomes less urgent, and composing just the right sentence starts to seem more important. The words become fewer, but the few words become more worthwhile.

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    @Fosdick said:
    The world is much the same, but the noise in our minds is a bit different, and, perhaps, louder. More difficult to tune out, but that seems to be the task.

    Osho held this opinion, that the modern mind had to process and hold a lot more rubbish. That is why he designed a number of meditations based on catharsis, getting the mind to spew forth its nonsense. If you’re interested @fleamarket at the end of those discourses you will find brief guided meditations which start with a section of gibberish, where everyone chants nonsense words.

    I certainly think that modern media saturate coverage for children with stories, video’s and games. Its a very different environment to grow up in than the time where you might get a new doll every so often or a bicycle. I grew up with libraries and Dungeons and Dragons and a bit of TV. Even that was different than YouTube at your fingertips.

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran

    I like the analogy I've heard a few people state. That the human mind is still on version 1.0 but we're living in world 5.0. Biology moves at a much slower rate than culture and technology.

    I think our evolution brought us to a state selected for life in small groups and immediate environments. Today there are so many people living anonymously, we lack that connection in most of our interactions. Our intuitions towards the world are well tuned for what is happening in front of us (our lived experience), but society is so complex and interconnected our intuitions break down and our experience often doesn't match up with actual trends.

    KotishkaJeroenFleaMarket
  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    The only thing that ever remains the same, is that nothing does.

    Does your meditation, or the most basic of Buddhist teachings or entropy itself, if you are of a scientific bent, not illuminate this observation?

    Here, whether awake or dream entranced, is the evidence of the unwinding of the vibratory nature of all phenomena not also the underlying experience of all life?

    Jeroen
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Ok, so nothing remains the same, but how do we bring these Zen teaching stories to the modern mind? If as Osho says all we modern men can do is catch a glimpse of the path these ancient adherents of Zen used to walk, how to speak about and illuminate the path.

    It seems likely to me that Tokusan on entering Isan’s temple was looking for something, and did not find it, which is why he left. Then he entered a second time after constituting he must not be hasty, because he had not encountered the master. But the master’s response of reaching for his staff was not satisfactory, not what he was looking for in a master, which is why he elected not to stay with Isan.

    This much can be understood, but it is a story about how mysterious utterances can have meaning to Zen monks. The meaning of “mu, mu” and “kwatz” as a response to reaching for the staff are opague.

  • SuraShineSuraShine South Australia Veteran

    IMO the world will never change because we (generalising humanity here as we) do not want to change. If we did would wars continue? Would antisemitism be a thing still? Would racism, holocaust denial, prejudice etc. still be a thing? I don't think so. But I'm a cynic.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited December 2022

    These are simple stories of how the basest of material attachments, that we think we've transcended, can still roam freely under any spiritual clothing.
    The meanings of the "mu & kwatz" speak only of where others have awakened from the limitations of their own dreamed storylines. They are only meant to say to a seeker that anyone, anywhere, anytime can find their own awakening. They appear mysterious only to prevent other seekers from mistakenly trying to mimic a form of an awakening that doesn't apply to them.

    To discover the mu or kwatz that applies to you, find the very attachment which currently owns you and that you can not yet address. Face it as endlessly & squarely in all its forms as you can.
    When freedom from this attachment eventually becomes more important than all of the identity that it offers you, then your own "mu or kwats" or freedom becomes possible.
    Here, the practice itself is the mu or kwatz of your awakening.

    There are no shortcuts to such an understanding that I know of.

    Shoshin1JeroenFleaMarket
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    That feels correct, @how, thanks. It also implies that the modern being is more complex, has more attachments to different things, and so might have a harder time reaching its own “kwatz”.

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