The archer's faulted for its lack
Subgenius craves it—calls it slack
Potter shaping mound of clay
Seeks wabi-sabi, so they say
Outnumbered by the many foe
Kung Fu's the only way to go
The Koan reaches eager ears
Throws a wrench into the gears
Like pyramids, real power now
Though no one knows exactly how
An author knows this very well:
Slipped in the title, book will sell
That certain something thought of when
You don't know what to call it: Zen
Just for fun, search “Zen and the Art of” and see all the various suggestions offered by your search engine. (I recommend DuckDuckGo as a privacy oriented search alternative to the big guys. I do not use Google anymore.) Turns out that Robert Pirsig was riffing on another book’s title when he published Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: which was Zen in the Art of Archery, by German philosophy professor Eugen Herrigel, published in 1948.
Something striking to me about Western culture is that it’s thoroughly grounded in materialist orthodoxy but is endlessly fascinated with the ‘Mysteries of the East’ like Zen and martial arts. Everybody doesn’t like something, but nobody doesn’t like Kung Fu.
Understanding is alright
as far as prisons go, though
not understanding is better
One foot follows the other.
Once movement is begun
it is difficult to stop,
hence, the strange treasure,
the halting dissonance of
“I don’t know.”
Knowing things obviously is fine and necessary. The insight of the East is that attachment to knowledge as the vehicle of truth is an error. We gnaw at what we know. We can never leave well enough alone. Is truth something that would submit to such nonsense? Consensus maybe, but consensus is just an agreement to stop arguing. To stop gnawing.
So it came to pass that Adam and Eve were seduced by a serpent who’s every word split at the fork of his tongue and produced the multiplicity of countless things and their names. A new garden of endless variety. For the serpent, a cake walk. The vision must have sold itself.
What grand excellent simplicity must have preceded the fall into knowledge. The shear emptiness of things obliterated by the explosion of facts about their qualities. Time itself will be exhausted by the endless examination and tabulation of the many things and their qualities.
What the fable calls knowledge, we call ignorance. The tree which bears the forbidden fruit grows from its roots in the mind. What the fable calls forbidden, we call mistaken. The blush of shame blooms from its basis in a dream where a self has staked its claim in a universe opposed, and strategies begin to percolate in their pots.
Eve and Adam were not expelled from the paradise of unadorned reality, they left of their own volition. The serpent’s name may well have been Volition.
“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.”
Patience is said to be a virtue because it is completely accepting of what is here and now. Impatience is that troubling desire to be elsewhere, or for a situation to be other than what it is, or for reality to other than reality. Impatience is looking ahead without skill and turning this moment into a conundrum. Likewise, looking back with longing and pride upon your accomplishment is equally unskillful. Everything is smeared with our precious fingerprints. Attachment is an active involvement with unreal mental constructs. Treating the unreal as real is bound to be problematic, no?
Memories collect automatically. We do not need to sort and categorize, treasure some or try to forget others. No need to build up a shrine for our little accomplishments. The memories will keep. We already have the panoramic view of the here and now. Don’t clutter it up.
(Later I will check back to see if anyone liked MY blog post. See?)