RE: virus: Science, Zen and Wittgenstein
Tue, 16 Jan 1996 12:51:56 -0700

>I have some more to say about zen but I should preface my remarks by
>confessing my exposure to zen philosophy is limited to skimming a few
>books my former roommate bought as required reading for an introductory
>university course, so I am quite willing to be corrected on these issues.
I take that as permission to be a bit pedantic. I am not a practising

anything, either a Zen mystic or a philosopher, but having lived in Asia for

about eleven years, in a position in which it is important to study the

cultures, and having in fact read quite a bit about the Hindu and Budhist

religions, I just felt I had a duty to interject a bit into this discussion


Basically, I have omitted quoting any of the rest of your message, because

I'm afraid that any of the questions you ask with regard to Zen Buddhism just

don't apply. You have to realize that questions of reality for a Buddhist

are very different than they are for anyone in the West.

To a Buddhist or a Hindu, the objective reality that you want to "map" is in

fact a subjective reality created by minds. How and what the details of this

are topics that have led to the founding of the many sub-sects of Buddhism,

such as Zen. All Buddhists, however, see their duty to be that of rejecting

the reality presented to us by our senses, so that we can attain awareness of

the more fundamental reality. This is the process of attaining

"enlightenment", and necessarily encompasses loss of identity, a "return" to

the "godhead", or whatever you want to call it.

None of the above is really a very good explaination of the complex subtlety

of a philosophy that has been developing for thousands of years, based as it

is on the Rig-Veda viewpoint of Hinduism, from which Buddhism emerged 2,500

years ago, or which Zen is an offshoot of the Japanese version. All,

however, share the view that what you are trying to do with CoV is pointless,

as it is based on an acceptance of objective, sensual reality as truth.

To go farther would take a book, and has, many times. The short version is

that all those "mystical" Zen questions are simply aimed at helping the mind

doubt the validity of the information it receives from the senses, so that it

can be prepared for an acceptance of higher reality. All this is in a sense

mystical and based on faith, but also based on rigorous discipline of the

mind, and so is a brand of rationalism.

Please don't treat non-Christian, non-Western religions the same as you do

the European traditions. They are profoundly different, and deserve that

that difference be respected.

C. David Noziglia
Wellington, New Zealand

"Blessed are those who have no expectations,
for they will never be disappointed."
Kautiliya Shakhamuni Sidhartha Gautama Buddha