From ‘Zen Buddhism’, by Christmas Humphreys

“and who shall bind awareness in a word?”

[…]

“Any device is good which works, and a thousand more have yet to be found and used as people have need of them. All, however, will have in common the emptying of the self, that into the space so made the light of life, the eternal More, may flow. Everything must be emptied out, the toys that we love, each cherished, loved ideal as well as each “fond offence”, all purpose and desire. The self, with its pride and regret of the past, its fears and boasts and desires of the moment, its hopes and ambitions for the days unborn, must be transcended.”

[…]

Indeed the preparations include the acceptance of all limitations of karma, for to refuse to accept them, or anything whatsoever, is to perpetuate the division between this and that of which satori is the end. Yet even the attempt to acquire satori must at the final moment be cast away. “The Tao,” says Alan Watts, “is not brought to birth by deep philosophical understanding or by any effort of action or emotion, although it is necessary and inevitable that one of these attempts should precede the birth. The birth itself, however, only takes place when the futility of the attempt has been fully realised, and that realisation can only come through making the attempt”. But this is only another of the countless paradoxes which, like a hedgehog’s prickles, stand erect at the entrance to satori. Another is that with the approach to satori the mind is enormously expanded and contracted at the same time. “Each single fact of experience is to be related to the totality of things, for thereby it gains for the first time its meaning.” The part is the whole, and the whole of it, and if that is not difficult enough to understand, be pleased to notice that the part is greater than the whole. For the whole is complete, which is finite; the part is unfinished, and that is infinite. . .”

From ‘Zen Buddhism’, by Christmas Humphreys

From ‘The Incompleteness of Objective Reality’, by Thomas Nagel

“We must think of the mind as a phenomenon to which the human case is not necessarily central, even though our minds are at the centre of the world. This idea can be betrayed if we turn objective comprehensibility into a new standard of reality. That is an error because the fact that reality extends beyond what is available to our original perspective does not mean that all of it is available to some transcendent perspective that we can reach from here. But so long as we avoid this error, it is proper to be motivated by the hope of extending our objective understanding to as much of life and the world as we can.
By a general concept of mind I don’t mean an anthropocentric concept which conceives all minds on analogy with our own. I mean a concept under which we ourselves fall as instances – without any implication that we are the central instances […] I want to think of mind as a general feature of the world. […] The necessary incompleteness of an objective concept of mind seems fairly clear.

[…]

One might say that the wider problem of mental objectivity is an analogue at the level of mental types to the problem of other minds for individuals: not, “How can I conceive of minds other than my own?” but, “How can we conceive of minds subjectively incommensurable with our own?” In both cases we must conceive of ourselves as instances of something more general in order to place ourselves in a centerless world.
The interesting problem of other minds is not the epistemological problem, how I can know that other people are not zombies. It is the conceptual problem, how I can understand the attribution of mental states to others. And this in turn is really the problem, how I can conceive of my own mind as merely one of many examples of mental phenomena contained in the world.

[…]

The issue is whether there can be a general concept of experience that extends far beyond our own or anything like it. Even if there can, we may be able to grasp it only in the abstract, as we are presumably unable to grasp now concepts of objective physical reality which will be developed five centuries hence. But the possibility that there is such a concept would be sufficient motive for trying to form it. It is only if we are convinced in advance that the thing makes no sense that we can be justified in setting the limits of objectivity with regard to the mind so close to our own ordinary viewpoint.

CONSCIOUSNESS IN GENERAL

So far as I can see the only reason for accepting such limits would be a Wittgensteinian one – namely, that such an extension or attempted generalization of the concept of mind takes us away from the conditions that make the concept meaningful.”

 

From ‘The Incompleteness of Objective Reality’, by Thomas Nagel

From ‘The Way of Liberation’, by Adyashanti

“As a guiding principle, to progressively realize what is not absolutely True is of infinitely more value than speculating about what is.

[…]

No spiritual teaching is a direct path to enlightenment. In fact, there is no such thing as a path to enlightenment, simply because enlightenment is ever present in all places and at all times. What you can do is to remove any and all illusions, especially the ones you value most and find the most security in, that cloud your perception of Reality.”

From ‘The Way of Liberation’, by Adyashanti

From ‘ A World without Substance or Essences’, by Richard Rorty (1994)

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“whatever sorts of things may have intrinsic natures, numbers do not – that it simply does not pay to be an essentialist about numbers. We antiessentialists would like to convince you that it also does not pay to be essentialist about tables, stars, electrons, human beings, academic disciplines, social institutions, or anything else. We suggest that you think of all such objects as resembling numbers in the following respect: there is nothing to be known about them except an initially large, and forever expandable, web of  relations to other objects. Everything that can serve as the term of a relation can be dissolved into another set of relations, and so on for ever. There are, so to speak, relations all the way down, all the way up, and all the way out in every direction: you never reach something which is not just one more nexus of relations. The system of natural numbers is a good model of the universe because in that system it is obvious,
and obviously harmless, that there are no terms of relations which are not simply clusters of further relations.”

From ‘ A World without Substance or Essences’, by Richard Rorty (1994)

From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki

 

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I wish to emphasise this idea of ‘seeing’. It is not enough to ‘know’ as the term is  ordinarily understood. Knowledge unless it is accompanied by a personal experience is superficial and no kind of philosophy can be built upon such a shaky foundation. There are, however, I suppose many systems of thought not backed by real experiences, but such are never inspiring. They may be fine to look at but their power to move the readers is nil. Whatever knowledge the philosopher may have, it must come out of his experience, and this experience is seeing. Buddha has always emphasised this. He couples knowing (ñana, jñana) with seeing (passa, pasya), for without seeing, knowing has no depths, cannot understand the realities of life. Therefore, the first item of the Eightfold Noble Path is sammadassana, right seeing, and sammasankappa, right knowing, comes next. Seeing is experiencing, seeing things in their state of suchness (tathata) or is-ness. Buddha’s whole philosophy comes from this ‘seeing’, this experiencing.

[…]

The one thing I wish to call to the readers’ attention is the term ‘wisdom’, pañña, or prajña in Sanskrit. This is a very important term throughout Buddhist philosophy. There is no English equivalent for it. ‘Transcendental wisdom’ is too heavy, besides it does not exactly hit the mark. But temporarily let ‘wisdom’ do. We know that seeing is very much emphasised in Buddhism, but we must not fail also to notice that seeing is not just an ordinary seeing by means of relative knowledge; it is the seeing by means of a prajña-eye which is a special kind of intuition enabling us to penetrate right into the bedrock of Reality itself.

From ‘Mysticism: Christian and Buddhist’, by D.T. Suzuki

From ‘Notebook of Errors and Absurdities’, by Beatrice Mendi-Otz

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“A million years from today, the sun will rise in the morning, and all my thoughts, endeavours, poor singing voice, pains and laughter will have been long forgotten. The mark of all my actions, legacy, deepest concerns and ideals will have faded forever. All the matter of my body – bones, brain and tears alike – will have become many different distant things: rocks and clouds, trees and fossils, other sentient beings and their own tears. The sun shall rise indifferent, illuminating all that, continuing the endless morning that has circled the Earth for over 4 billion years.

A further million years from then, the sun will rise still, the other morning long forgotten – if there is someone or something to do the forgetting.

But today… Ah, today I got worry!”

From ‘Notebook of Errors and Absurdities’, by Beatrice Mendi-Otz

From ‘Signs of the times: Rorty and Girard’, by Andrew McKenna

Opnamedatum: 2010-04-22

Rorty’s “panrelationalism” issues not only from his acute sense of linguistic mediation, but also from the capaciously researched observation, in philosophy and the natural and social sciences, that “there is nothing to be known about anything save its relations to other things” (Philosophy 54). What holds for things holds no less for people, which is doubtless why he views the self, after Freud, Quine and Davidson, as a “centerless web of beliefs and desires” (Essays 1), as “a centerless bundle of contingencies, of the sort which both Foucault and Dewey shared with Nietzsche” (Essays 197). Such homely terms as bundles and webs seem hardly the stuff of a rigorously coherent anthropology, for which Rorty could conceive no need anyway, since what we gather from Freud’s legacy is “the increased ability of the syncretic, ironic, nominalist intellectual to move back and forth between, for example, religious, moral, scientific, literary, philosophical, and psychoanalytical vocabularies without asking the question ‘And which of these shows us how things really are?,'” without asking either “‘Which is my true self,’ or ‘What is human nature?'” (Essays 158).

[…]

All this changes if we conceive of the bundles and webs mimetically and interactionally; if we acknowledge, as I think Rorty must, that our beliefs and desires must come from somewhere, and if not from some egologically centered self or the Mind of God, then from others, and from those around us more likely than from those in our remoter past, from our parents and neighbors rather than from Plato or Pascal. What contingency means in human relations, at least, is proximity, involving us inextricably with the doings of other human subjects who happen to be within reach of our attention, acts and utterances–intersubjectivity in a word. It is in just this sense that, in Je vois Satan, Girard states that we need to substitute “mimetisme itself” for the “human subject, which “does not grasp the circular process in which it is caught up” (112). In our “self/other-centeredness,” we are inextricably in-between self and other; our mode of being, or non-being, our non-entity, in sum, our essential eccentricity or relationality, is constituted by mimetic desire which binds our identity to desires, beliefs, and actions that others model for us.

 

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From ‘Signs of the times: Rorty and Girard’, by Andrew McKenna