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27 Years of Zen destroyed my life


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:24 AM

user posted image rKen Korczak: So I have been practicing Zen meditation every day for 27 years, and it has destroyed my life. Now, when I say “destroyed my life,” that is not a bad thing, nor a good thing. You see, after 27 years of Zen, for something to be “good” or “bad” becomes a very problematic concept. Things like “good” or “bad” pretty much lose their meaning. Even the word “meaning” loses its meaning. So you can already see why Zen has destroyed my life, even though that never really happened. Zen did not destroyed my life because my life was the way it was even before 27 years of Zen, except I didn’t know it.

It’s like what Zen master Shunryu Suzuki suggests in his book “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.” He says everyone is enlightened all the time, except they don’t know it. Now I realize that he was right. In other words, you don’t need 27 years of Zen meditation to destroy your life because it has already happened to all of you. Suzuki also says that before you achieve Zen Enlightenment, you think it’s something special, but after you achieve it, you realize that it is nothing special at all. He was dead right about that, too

One of the problems, however, is when you have this realization, it destroys your life, even though that’s not really a problem because it never happened in the first place. In the end, nothing happens, and there even isn’t an “in the end.” The fact that there could be “an end” to something or anything becomes totally ridiculous after 27 years of Zen, believe me.

I drive my wife crazy because I talk like this all the time, which is just one of the many reasons why I say Zen has destroyed my life. For example, my wife will tell me about something Oprah Winfrey said on TV about how important it is for married couples to communicate, and I say, “Oh that Oprah Winfrey is such a phony and a witless blockhead!“ And my wife says that Oprah makes some good points, and then I say the concept of “good” has no basic meaning, and Oprah says what she says on TV because it makes people give her money, and that’s all. My wife thinks I’m crazy and can’t understand what I’m talking about. It’s a problem, yet my wife puts up with it, so it ends up not being a problem. That’s not hard to understand since there was no problem to begin with. You start realizing things like this after 27 years of Zen.

I once wrote a column here on Unexplained Mysteries telling people to stop worrying about things simply because of the fact that none of us have anything to worry about because of the obvious fact that none of us exist. Immediately, about 100 UM users posted responses suggesting that I was absolutely crazy. Some people were extremely insulted by my suggestion that they don’t exist, and some called it a “whacked theory” and a whole lot worse -- and if you don’t believe me, go read the column and the nasty comments right here:
http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum...showtopic=63575

Let me tell you something, if you want to get people really upset, just suggest to them that they are not real, but only think they are real. Believe, they will get extremely irritated with you. But why? It’s because people are heavily invested in the idea that they have an existence -- a real, solid existence. They want that. Even if their lives a miserable, boring and bland, they will feel threatened if you suggest that their miserable, bland lives are not real. What’s interesting is that if people are happy, filled with joy, and leading exiting, adventurous lives, they will not be as threatened by the idea that their lives are bogus illusions. They won’t care as much. They’re happy anyway, so why should they mind if anything is real or not? Still, even a few happy people will get upset if you tell them they don’t exist. Suddenly they are less happy because they are afraid of the idea that they don’t exist. They want their happy existence to be real.

Yet, the concept that some people are happy and some are unhappy is a completely facile because these traits or values or nuances have no basic meaning once you start thinking about them. After 27 years of Zen, to say “I am happy” or “I am sad” are empty statements that only diverts one -- and the diversion is not even really a diversion because there is nothing to be diverted from. Get it?

You might wonder how all of this started for me. Well, when I was in college working on a degree in newspaper journalism, I took an elective class from the philosophy department. It was a 1-credit class called “Zen Meditation.” It was about 90 minutes once a week, and what we did was, come to class, sit down on a pillow, and stare at a blank white wall. All we did was stare at the wall and concentrate on our breathing. If we had “thoughts” we were instructed to ignore them and let them ramble on, and not be bothered by them. After about 25 minutes of staring at the wall, we got up and did a kind of walking meditation, which took about 15 minutes. Then we sat down and stared at the wall for another 25 minutes. After that, the philosophy instructor rang a bell, meaning we were supposed to stop. We were supposed to stop trying to do nothing, and start doing something again. That part is weird. Then he led a discussion about Zen, and we were to read Suzuki’s book, “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.”

One of the really funny things about the class is that there were two fundamentalist Christian Bible believers in the class. They did what they had to do to earn their single, measly college credit, including the Zen meditation exercise, but then in the discussion portion, they heaped scorn upon the whole thing and kept saying things like, “This is all so ridiculous! Why can’t people just read the Bible and find out what Jesus wants for us, follow His advice, and then lead a good, moral life?” And they would also say things like, “We’d all be better off giving our lives to Jesus and not wasting our time staring at a blank wall!” For some reason, these comments caused everyone to laugh, even if they agreed with the Christians.

Yet, everybody hated the class, and not just the Christians. I hated it, too, and only about eight of the original 20 of us finished the class. I have to give the two Christians credit -- they finished the class, but never gave up their loathing of it all the way through, and they never stopped urging people to “go with Jesus.” Anyway, staring at a blank wall is extremely difficult and it drives people crazy. Nobody wants to do it, or enjoys it, even if it means one college credit toward a college degree. What’s weird is that I not only finished the class, but for some reason, I continued to meditate at least once a day, and I have done so for the past 27 years -- which led to the destruction of my life, and which led me to writing crazy columns like this on Unexplained Mysteries.

Some people here at UM know that I make a lot of comments in the “World Events” forum here, and in case you’re wondering, my online name is “IronGhost.” Along with my name "IronGhost" is a big wacky picture of my eye. Anyway, some people message me and ask me why I always make arguments favoring the Liberal side of things -- they think that this is a contradiction because after 27 years of Zen, I really shouldn’t be a Liberal or a Conservative, and that I should be neither, but this whole question is just a big red herring. Whether someone is a Liberal or a Conservative is not the point. The point is to see that one is either a Liberal or a Conservative. If you’re a Liberal, then be a Liberal, if you’re a Conservative, then be a Conservative. You just see it for what it is. Get it?

Others think it’s strange that after 27 years of Zen, I still think that there is a good chance that the Patterson film that appears to show a Bigfoot walking in the woods is real, and not a hoax. But what does that have to do with anything? After 27 years of Zen, when I look at the Patterson Bigfoot film, it strikes me as real and not a hoax. What’s the big deal? But then some people say, “Well, according to you, Bigfoot doesn’t really exist because nothing exists.” And I say, “So what?” I still think the Patterson film shows a real Bigfoot. I could be wrong. It could be a hoax. It could be Bob Heironimus in a monkey suit. That’s not the point. The point is that it’s either a real Bigfoot, or possibly a man named Bob Heironimus in a monkey suit. You just have to see that. One thing is for certain, whether it was Bob Heironimus or not in a monkey suit, Bob Heironimus is no different from anyone else in that he has achieved Zen Enlightenment, whether he knows it or not. Get it?

I have a good friend named Mike who is a brilliant computer scientist. He’s from North Dakota. When Mike does complex math equations, he figures them so fast it looks like he’s writing a letter. Mike thinks I am nutty and, in his words, “a flake.” Mike is your classic skeptic and atheist and is a real materialistic kind of guy. He doesn’t even believe in psychology unless it is behavioral psychology, because everything is about basic cause and effect to him, and all the rest is speculation. So, anyway, I asked him that if he thinks that I am such “a flake” why does he waste his time talking to me and hanging out with me? And Mike said, “Well, you’re a flake, but you know you’re a flake. That‘s different from being a flake.” And I thought, “Wow! Mike’s life has been destroyed by Zen and the lucky SOB didn’t even have to stare at a wall once a day for 27 years!” But then, neither did I.

It’s the same for you readers. Like my life, your life has been destroyed by Zen. Some of you know it, some of you don’t know it. But it doesn’t matter whether you know it not because the situation remains the same. It took 27 years for Zen to destroy my life, but it wasn’t wasted time. It wasn’t anything. It would have happened anyway. But ultimately, nothing really happened. Nothing HAD to happen, so nothing DID happen. Get it?

Yo! Word! Ken's Blog: http://ironghost.wordpress.com

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#2    Primeval

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:26 PM

Premature enlightenment, as Tyler would say.

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#3    Reptilian

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:57 PM

You need 5000 bucks for a weekened of drunken gambling and orgies with some Thai hookers in Vagas.

That'll set anybody straight!

The point of life is to live. To feel. To create. To enjoy the sound of birds and the feel of wind on your skin.

Life is being sad. Life is experiencing sorrow and joy.

Life is life! Live it!

Climb a mountain. Ride a horse. Play with children. Dance with the old. Sing at the top of your lungs.

That's our purpose in this world and nothing else. To live, to enjoy, to feel.

That is my philosophy.

Edited by Reptilian, 28 December 2007 - 12:57 PM.

The profane masses have many heads and no brains.

#4    Bill Hill

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 01:06 PM


SaRuMaN on Dec 28 2007, 09:24 AM, said:

For example, my wife will tell me about something Oprah Winfrey said on TV about how important it is for married couples to communicate, and I say, “Oh that Oprah Winfrey is such a phony and a witless blockhead!“


That is true Zen enlightenment, my child. (bows down)

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#5    Mbyte

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 03:01 PM

Zen. I achieved Zen by not even meditating just by thinking. I think of it as the art of dying. This is why the concept of morals drove me insane becasue i couldn't understand them. I did philosophy to see what would the best way to live my life. All i got was a whole load of nothing. Philosophical blabber which doesn't get you anywear. It's much like, god is everywear but he's no wear or everything we do has yin and yang so whether we do a good thing there will be an equally bad thing so it deosn't matter. I see this as philosophical bull and it doesn't get you anywear in life. When oprah says that the key to a good marrige is communication I would believe it. Zen does nothinng for nobody. It totally undermines human beings and any other life forms. You end up like a wall youself. I soppose thats wear the phrase "it's like i'm talking to the wall" came from. I set out to find out the best way to live my life and concluding that there is nothing was not an answer. Life has a yin and yang so there is this physical dump called the universe which is physical and dead and then there is life which is not physial but just experience. This life experiences feelings and pain and emotions which from what science tells us is unknown to inanimate objects. experience not by the universe but by consciousness. Morals are based on this. It's bad to not care about life and it's good to care about life. You could say that it is still all pointless but emotions and feelings are on a totally diffrent plane to physicality and an experience of feelings is an experience of fellings not physicality. So when oprah says that a key to a good marrige is communication it makes sense to me because two people who care about each other must express themselves to stay together. I see life as not a delusion of our mind but actuality. We are not delusioned, ezperieince is above physical not the other way around. If it was the other way around then killing someone isen't a bad or good. The reason it's bad becasue of the experience you casued by the decesed and the freinds and family. You could argue with me but my only arguement would be that my view makes sense and puts some sort of meaning to life while zen is just depressing why would you want that. If you get depressed by such a view then you are denying yourself something thus meaning that a human trying to experience physically is wrong.

Edited by Mbyte, 28 December 2007 - 03:06 PM.

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#6    subamen

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 04:36 PM

My friend,

I don't know what the art of Zen is, but from your explanation it seems like a mind control technique. More like attaining enlightenment or Nirvana. But I don't think Zen is supposed to make u a skeptic! The Oprah Winfrey example tells that its your basic nature and not the Zen speaking. If I were to describe you on the basis of the Oprah Winfrey example and ignore your zen background, I would say that you are skeptical and think negatively. I guess the art of Zen and the subsequent enrichment that you attained is only good when you are preaching to people who understand the art of zen, else its like telling the lion to be a vegetarian.

So the next time your wife tells you about what Oprah Winfrey said give it a positive thought, perhaps it her way of hinting something indirectly.


#7    Mbyte

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 05:17 PM

subamen on Dec 28 2007, 04:36 PM, said:

My friend,

I don't know what the art of Zen is, but from your explanation it seems like a mind control technique. More like attaining enlightenment or Nirvana. But I don't think Zen is supposed to make u a skeptic! The Oprah Winfrey example tells that its your basic nature and not the Zen speaking. If I were to describe you on the basis of the Oprah Winfrey example and ignore your zen background, I would say that you are skeptical and think negatively. I guess the art of Zen and the subsequent enrichment that you attained is only good when you are preaching to people who understand the art of zen, else its like telling the lion to be a vegetarian.

So the next time your wife tells you about what Oprah Winfrey said give it a positive thought, perhaps it her way of hinting something indirectly.

Zen is like trying to understand the world without illusion. Pretty much like scepticism.

"Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance."

#8    IronGhost

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 06:00 PM

subamen on Dec 28 2007, 04:36 PM, said:

My friend,

I don't know what the art of Zen is, but from your explanation it seems like a mind control technique. More like attaining enlightenment or Nirvana. But I don't think Zen is supposed to make u a skeptic! The Oprah Winfrey example tells that its your basic nature and not the Zen speaking. If I were to describe you on the basis of the Oprah Winfrey example and ignore your zen background, I would say that you are skeptical and think negatively. I guess the art of Zen and the subsequent enrichment that you attained is only good when you are preaching to people who understand the art of zen, else its like telling the lion to be a vegetarian.

So the next time your wife tells you about what Oprah Winfrey said give it a positive thought, perhaps it her way of hinting something indirectly.


Here's the thing:  To have a "positive thought" about Oprah Winfrey is extremely problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To have a "negative thought" about Oprah Winfrey is extremely problematic and leads to a lot ot trouble.

To have a completely "neutral opinion" about Oprah Winfrey is extremely problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To "have thoughts" is like trying to chop down a tree by using the wood of that tree as your axe handle.

You're trying to chop down the tree, but there is is, the tree right in front of you.  You thought it was part of your axe.  You're trying to use the tree to chop itself down.

To think that one can "have" a Zen background is extremely problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To think that one "cannot have" a Zen background is extremely problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To think that one "has" a Zen background and that one "does not have" a Zen background both at the same time is extremely problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To "have" problems and "a lot of trouble" is problematic and leads to a lot of trouble.

To have problems and a lot of trouble is to have problems and a lot of trouble.  

You just have to see that.

Or not having any problems at all, and not being in any trouble is something to see, too.

When you "think" you have trouble, well, that's basically thinking that you have trouble.  You can easily change your mind about it. Then you "think" you don't have any trouble.

That's the way the world of thinking works.


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#9    Pelican_Eel

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 09:56 PM

Quote

For example, my wife will tell me about something Oprah Winfrey said on TV about how important it is for married couples to communicate, and I say, “Oh that Oprah Winfrey is such a phony and a witless blockhead!“


That is true Zen enlightenment, my child. (bows down)


yes Billy of the Hill, I noticed that sentence too... blink.gif
no.gif

Who needs drugs when you have everything you need inside you?

#10    SnakeProphet

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:27 PM

Your destroyed life is an illusion, have you realized that?

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Someone is gonna die if you listen to me.


I try to salvage thoughts long gone,
I am the mountain that dreams on.

I am the sea that longs for freedom.
lashing out towards my chains.

#11    Bill Hill

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 11:38 PM


justejust on Dec 28 2007, 09:56 PM, said:

yes Billy of the Hill, I noticed that sentence too... blink.gif
no.gif


Lithuania huh? Must've been lost in translation..

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#12    IronGhost

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 01:09 AM

Volos on Dec 28 2007, 11:27 PM, said:

Your destroyed life is an illusion, have you realized that?


Leaves "Getty Lee Award of Merit" for this post.


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#13    IronGhost

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 01:12 AM

Billy of the Hill on Dec 28 2007, 11:38 PM, said:

Lithuania huh? Must've been lost in translation..


Places "Getty Lee Red Barcetta of Excellence Award" for this post.  


Conrgatulations, Billy.


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#14    kua

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 02:39 AM

To my understanding, Zen is to find who you are and where your pure mind is.

Quote

Anything that changes will eventually expire and since all phenomena change everything (including the universe itself) will someday die.

The fundamental truth for any person is that they possess a Buddha nature. You have it, but you cannot see it, just as a man who has a wonderful, beautiful perfect jewel sewn into the lining of his coat. He wears this coat everyday so the potential for wealth is there, but because the jewel is out of sight and he is unaware of its presence, it has no value at all to him.

This pure Buddha nature is a kind of energy so that part of ‘you’ cannot die. The king realized this, and was relieved because he now understood that death was nothing to be afraid of. At the same time you should realize that while death is not to be feared, it is also not to be embraced. Death should embrace you, not you it.

http://www.buddhistinformation.com/loving_heart1.htm
http://www.buddhistinformation.com/shurangama_sutra.htm
Lots of reading...


#15    Pelican_Eel

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Posted 29 December 2007 - 12:18 PM

Quote

Lithuania huh? Must've been lost in translation..

whatever. I think we both had our own reasons, and those reasons were different

Who needs drugs when you have everything you need inside you?




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