Zen and not Zen.... Years ago I was deployed to the...
Zen and not Zen....
Years ago I was deployed to the Balkans with NATO during a war there...on the Staff Officers recommended reading list was a familiar and trusted name - Nat Geo...”The World of Islam...written and compiled by The National Geographic Society”...it was far more informative than any briefing or militarily oriented review.
As I read I understood - that interpretation and reliability are critical variables...each of us - interpret and are influenced by our understanding, backgrounds, bias...and our own limitations of understanding...my walk away was / is it’s very much a religion of Peace but hard to interpret without deep study...
My experiences from Bosnia, Kosovo and even Iraq and Afghanistan are that - just as in other religions...mine included - I am a Christian...it is the interpretation that effects application...and we have to fight hard to be clear in our studies to reach a deeper understanding...not easy....we must study and understand...
Japanese martial arts has a concept called - Hirwasa Suwasa - “make yourself wider and deeper in your understanding”...and realize you’ve always more to learn...Bruce Lee’s favorite Koan - empty your cup...
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. “It is overfull. No more will go in!”
Like this cup, Nan-in said, you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?
“You cannot learn anything if you already feel that you know."
"Preconceived ideas and prejudices always prevent us from seeing the truth."
"You should open your mind before you open your mouth."
"The master is trying to tell him to ease back and relax. The professor is too anxious about the whole thing."
"Some people want to be taught everything in one sitting. It's not possible."
"This story proves to me that you have to unlearn before you can learn."
"We shouldn't get too wrapped up in one aspect of life. If we do, we close ourselves off to new experiences."
"Even though you may be full of knowledge, you should always be open to the fact that there is still more to learn."
"I bet the master did that just to shut the professor up!"
"If you want to learn, you have to shut up and LISTEN for a change."
"We should be open to the views of others, and accept them as their own. Treat each opinion individually, and don't just add it to your own."
"Sometimes another person has to catch you with your guard down in order to teach you something."
"The professor's understanding of Zen is too intellectualized. The master is trying to point him towards a more intuitive understanding . If you're too intellectualized about ANY subject, often you miss the boat."
"I would tell this story to anyone who believed something about me that was untrue."
"I think the master was trying to show him that when you can no longer take it is time to give - and you must sometimes give in order to receive."
"This professor probably doesn't really believe in Zen. His prejudices are preventing him from seeing clearly. This is what the master is trying to show him."
"Too much of anything is just too much!"
"I don't think the professor's reaction indicated that he had a closed mind. It was perfectly normal. Wouldn't you do the same if someone was spilling tea all over the place?"
When we “think” we are absolutely correct - often we stop listening to each other...so Shoshin...beginners mind - always and Listen....