The Transcendence Q A

Q What do you mean by transcendence A Can you see that which asks this question Can you hear it Can the nose smell it or can the tongue taste it Can you become conscious of it In truth, you cannot. And because you can't, something mysterious transcends the sphere of the six senses. Q But if I can't perceive it, it doesn't exist. So, why even bother with transcending A You can't see wind either or hear vision or see smells. But that does not prove the nonexistence of wind, vision or smell. If we...

The Koan Q A

Q What is the basic purpose of koans A Mainly to put a stop to representational thinking. Q Just what exactly do you mean by representational thinking A Basically, representational thinking deals with the habitual use of mental images at a very subtle level. The major problem with such thinking is that we believe it matches the object it tries to represent. But it doesn't. From a Buddhist standpoint, no representation can match our Buddha-nature. And as long as we try to visualize this nature,...

Dark Zen Meditation Part

Q What is the meditation of being mindfulness of in-and-out breathing A From the perspective of Dark Zen it means that fundamentally we are unrelated to in-and-out breathing. Q What I have never heard that before. I thought that mindfulness of in-and-out breathing meant that we must follow our breath. Isn't that right A If you follow something, aren't you led by it In that case you are less than what you follow. And don't you also, as a consequence, become more of what you follow Q Yes, of...

QA Karma and Rebirth

A Well, it is undeniable that the Buddha, under the Bodhi-tree during the first night-watch, came to recollect his previous births. Q Yes, I know. But wasn't he just accepting the outlook of his day Didn't many of his contemporaries just assume that each person had a former existence and that, owing to karma will continue to have more rebirths A I seriously doubt that. Jayatilleke pointed out in his book, Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, that it is false to conjecture that rebirth was...

Old Zen and zazen

(This article appeared in the July 96 issue of the The Zennist newsletter.) The history of Zen can be said to have begun in the Chinese port city of Canton some time around 480 A.D. with the arrival of a mysterious Indian Buddhist teacher, named Bodhidharma. Important to the background of Zen, there is nothing unique in the use of the term Zen (meditation) which would suggest that Bodhidharma was the sole originator of Zen. Judging from Buddhist documents of the Sui period, Zen, as a...