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27 Years of Zen destroyed my life

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assortedreptiles

Those who speak, do not know.

Those who know, do not speak.

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ShaunZero

When the reasoning that IronGhost has, you might as well not exist. You have no personality. No feelings, no opinions, no goods or bads...

You might as well not even reply to me, because remember.. it had no meaning to begin with!

I don't have to come back to you all, however, because I never went anywhere in the first place.

These types of sayings, in my opinion, are just randomly put together sentences which actually have no logic or meaning behind them. So, they actually matter not!

Edited by Zero of Deism

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DigitalDreamer

Dude...How can zen destroy your life.

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SoCrazes
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.

Interesting philisophy...used to be mine and it is not wrong. I beleive what you mention is part of a bigger picture of life. In a nutshell, I beleive this "life" we are experiencing is similar to a classroom where at times we are a student and other times we are the teacher. Student and teacher of what subject? Still trying to figure that out - maybe "love" and I'm still trying to define that word.

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SoCrazes
Your right! It seems some people here are offended by your comments about not existing, or that fact that it doesn't matter if you think you exist or not. And more to the point it seems the people with....perhaps a more average, dull experience ( the oprah fans for example ) seem especially riled!..well done :lol:

It depends on how one defines existence.

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joc
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.

:tu:

I once read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Sometimes I clean off my desk.

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assortedreptiles

When you are deluded and full of doubt, not even a thousand scriptures are enough;

when you have discovered inner truth, even one word is too much.

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IronGhost
In your earlier article you made a reference to Einstein. He said the reality is merely a persistent illusion. Would you mind explaining what you think that means? I'm interested.

Sure, he was speaking to number of issues. Let me put it this way:

What if there was some "thing" in your life that was of extreme importance. What if this something was "a thing" you could not live a normal life without. What if you used this "thing" dozens of times every day. What if you used this "thing" to make sense of your reality. What if you used this thing in dozens of different ways. What if our banks used this "thing" every day to make money.

Okay, now what would you think if I were to tell you that this extremely important "thing" we are talking about does not exist -- it's just an illusion.

That would seem ridiculous, wouldn't it? Your whole life is wrapped up in using this "thing" every day, you are totaly dependent upon it, yet, it doesn't really exist.

Well, there is such a thing -- it's TIME!

We're all totally dependent upon it, we use it every day, yet it doesn't exist. Banks use it to calculate interest -- that's how they make money. If we did not have time, there would be no monetary system -- yet, time is only a concept, not a reality.

But that doesn't bother any of us. We take something that has no reality and use it every day, and shape our whole lives around it. We even wish we had "more" of it -- so we could live longer. But we can't have "more" time because there is no such thing.

Einstein was the very first to consider that time is not an absolute "thing." It's very fluid and totally dependent on the viewpoint of the perceiver of time. The faster your rate of speed, the slower time goes -- but not for the traveler. He still experiences time at the same rate. But to all others, his time is moving slower.

All measurement of time is relative -- you could not measure time if you did not have two things to compare to each other. Time in an illusion created by what we perceive to be objects out there in the universe. But what if you could go to a place in the universe -- say, way deep out in space -- where there was nothing except a vacuum. You can't even see any stars. It's just all black. You don't have a watch on -- how would you tell time out there? You might try to count your own heartbeats, I suppose, but that wouldn't be very easy. When a doctor checks your pulse, he does so while looking at his watch. Why? He needs one thing to compare another thing with in order for it to exist.

But the bottom line is, there is no time. It's just a an invention -- yet we all are totally dependent on something which does not exist.

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Aztec Warrior

Outstandingly written article Iron! My hat off to you.

I have often considered the idea that, if everyone were to die and nothing was left of the earth…then everything would be the same and nothing would change. Nobody would be left to see the changes and therefore they would be no changes.

I have also noticed, as I grow older, that time or the perception thereof…seems to be increasing or speeding up.

I never studied Zen, but I have read The Celestine Prophecy several times and implemented several of those techniques.

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Guyver

Thanks IronGhost. I appreciate your explanation. Let's just make the assumption that time is an artificial construct. We base that construct on the world around us. We observe the seasons, the movement of the stars, our position relative to the sun, etc. We (and all humans ever to live) determine our measurement of time relative to an annual cycle around the sun. I don't understand how you make the connection between time being a man-made measurement and the entire world being non-existent. Please feel free to elaborate.

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IronGhost
Thanks IronGhost. I appreciate your explanation. Let's just make the assumption that time is an artificial construct. We base that construct on the world around us. We observe the seasons, the movement of the stars, our position relative to the sun, etc. We (and all humans ever to live) determine our measurement of time relative to an annual cycle around the sun. I don't understand how you make the connection between time being a man-made measurement and the entire world being non-existent. Please feel free to elaborate.

Thank you for your comments. The illusary nature of time is just one more piece of the puzzle which we can clear away as we try to dig ourselves out from under a mountain of very persistent illusions.

Here's another piece of the puzzle: When we try to find any particular object in our lives, and if we really look hard, we find that we can't actually find anything.

For example, what about a person's house? That's a pretty big object, and it sould be easy to find, but when you look very closely, you will discover that it is impossible to pin down that house as being any kind of discrete object at all. For example, where does the "house" end, and where does the "lawn" surrounding the house begin?

If you go look very closely at the wall of the house, you will think that you see where the wall ends, and where the part that is "not wall" begins. But if you look really closely at the edge of the wall, say, with a microscope, what looked like the smooth side of a wall is actually very rough. Even if a board is very smooth and polished, under a microscope, it has a jagged, uneven look.

If you keep looking more closely, you will soon start to head down a kind of "tunnel of infinity." You will find no discrete "ending" or border to the wall which separates it from everything else. If you could look at the edge of the wall on a molecular level, it would continue to break down into even more complex and varied structures. You can never find that "exact border" where the wall of the house "ends" and everything else "begins."

That's because the house literally has no border. The border of a house can never be found -- because there is no end to the complexity of what it is, and it is in now way separate from the rest of reality.

In fact, the house is not separted as a discrete object all -- it blends into the rest of nature down an infinitely complex series of increasing complexity. That complexity veers off into infinity.

But we are not seeing the house for what it is because of another reason -- we are not taking into account that house was once not a house, and was just a pile of lumber. We are not taking into account that the house is disintgrating little by little -- if no one keeps up the house, it will eventually crumble back into the ground.

We are also not taking into account that the pile of lumber was once a tree.

Where does the "house" stop and where does the rest of it "began?" We can never find that because their is an infinite number of interconnections and processes that are ongoing and endless complexities rushing off into eternity.

But we just arbitrarily choose to call a "house" a "house" when we have decided that it is a "house." But a house is never just a thing -- it's in a constant state of change. It's a house, but NEVER JUST A HOUSE.

You can never find where the house "started" and where it "ended" because it has no beginning and no end.

So what we call a "house" is not really what it is -- it's just our illusion and "idea" of what a house is at any given moment. The house as we have decided to see it is not a house.

So, it's just a very persistant illusion, not something that is real. You mgiht say that the "process" that is the house is real, but you wouldn't be able to "find" that process either, for obvious reasons.

If you want to understand this better, go do a search on something called "Mandelbrot Sets." It's a amazing!

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Guyver

Thanks - great explanation, very articulate. I'll have to think about it for awhile.

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joc
So what we call a "house" is not really what it is -- it's just our illusion and "idea" of what a house is at any given moment. The house as we have decided to see it is not a house.

I think rather than being 'illusion'...our 'house' represents a 'definition' of where we put our stuff...and the stuff, rather than being an 'illusion' is also a definition of matter that we are deluded into believing is really ours to begin with.

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Guyver

For IronGhost and others like minded - my opinion about the non-existent theory as I'll call it. The theory seems to be tied into modern (post Einstein but especially post 50's) particle physics. When we look at the world around us with natural eyes, things are fine. A table is a table, a bruise hurts, etc. When we look at the world or theorize based on the micro or even macro extremes, things get blurry. But it's really only been in the last 50 years or so that we can see like that. Not long ago the atom was really the smallest thing we knew. Now we have sub-atomic particles that behave strangely to us and seem to phase in and out of existence. Similarly, in the macro, the Milky Way was a galaxy of stars. Now, thanks to Hubble we know that the Milky Way is a galaxy of galaxies.

Like the end result of the theory of evolution, a world of illusion leaves us as people without meaning or purpose. If my existence is an illusion, or an act of random chance, I'm left with a life void of meaning. I don't think that God designed people that way. Perhaps everything seems an illusion because of the way that modern man is looking at it. Maybe God designed things that we know to be examined without the aid of the electron microscope.

The prophet Daniel prophesied thousands of years ago that the time of the end would be marked with an explosion of knowledge. If one were to correlate knowlegde with technological advancements, the graph of the last 50 or so years would be exponential in nature. Not one of the great minds of the past could imagine the world we live in now. Only about 110 years ago most people rode around in horse and buggy, lighting their homes with whale oil. The thought of a man on the moon or a microwave oven would seem preposterous, let alone the computer technology that we tinker with now.

I think that life as we know it is real, it's not so much an illusion as it is a place to make a decision as to whether or not we will believe in the Supreme Creator of all things. Why, I don't know. I have a theory that it may be tied into the 1/3 of heaven that was lost in Lucifer's rebellion. That theory is my own and has to do with the idea of a perfect balance or harmony that God had in mind in the beginning which was disrupted in the heavenly war.

In any event, it makes for an outstanding conversation. I will say that I admire your committment to meditation. As I was attempting to meditate today, I was constantly interrupted by the football games, and my kids stomping all over the place making all kinds of noise.

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joc
Not long ago the atom was really the smallest thing we knew. Now we have sub-atomic particles that behave strangely to us and seem to phase in and out of existence.

It does seem that everything is composed of nothing. And so...Nothing matters. Nothing is important. Everything is important. Nothing exists. Everything exists. Everything is Nothing and Nothing is Everything. The illusion of everything is nothing and the illusion of nothing is everything.

I'm going to go stare at my desk now.

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Smile Now Cry Later

Absolute craziness. lol But i need to ask all of you zen people a question. Would you cry if a loved one died?

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IronGhost
It does seem that everything is composed of nothing. And so...Nothing matters. Nothing is important. Everything is important. Nothing exists. Everything exists. Everything is Nothing and Nothing is Everything. The illusion of everything is nothing and the illusion of nothing is everything.

I'm going to go stare at my desk now.

Super nice! Joc!

How could we ever perceive any object unless it was grounded in Nothing? Think of a black spot on a piece of white paper. Imagine the white paper is Nothing. The reason we can see the black dot -- which is something -- and the reason we judge it to exist is that it is grounded in Nothing.

Try to imagine seeing a black dot with absolutely no reference. How could you?

Now imagine trying to see anything in our world without it being grounded in Nothing. Well, some would say, I see my house against the backdrop of the rest of the neighborhood. But we have to remember, there is no clear place where any one object "ends" and another "begins."

In nature, there are no discrete borders. How can we perceive anything then? Because we are grounded in Nothing.

And just as Loc suggests -- Nothing and Everything are two "qualities" enfolded within the same dynamic.

Edited by IronGhost

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IronGhost
Absolute craziness. lol But i need to ask all of you zen people a question. Would you cry if a loved one died?

I don't really consider myself a "Zen" person. I drink orange juice but I am not an "orange juice person."

But anyway, to answer your question, why wouldn't I cry if a loved one died? It's all the same, whether you have achieved enlightenment or not. Nothing changes.

You look at your emotion of sadness and grief, and you might say, "I am feeling sadness and grief right now."

Someone who pracices Zen is not free from sadness and grief. Rather they see it for what it is. They "look" at it. That's all.

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Guyver

What?? You Zen guys aren't even going to touch my "God's design" theory? Please don't tell me that my idea of God is a self-imposed illusion based on my desire to have meaning in a meaningless illusion. But, say something....

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Mbyte

This is why I call Zen the art of dying. I figured out that time was an illusion aswell. Humans have to break things down to undersand them and survive. If we all had a zen state of mind you would die. Everything would be seen as a whole and you would know nothing of chemistry or anything for that matter. We created mental definition to compare things to. We created a metric system from our minds. We relate things to each other by our mind. Any legnth of a straight stick can be a metric system. cm's is just a standerised straight stick. Zen is to deny what you are. You say zen destroyed your life and I guy cleverly pointed this out. How could it destroy your life if you do not exist. Obviously if you can still comprehend in terms of illusion then you don't have a zen state of mind. A true zen article woule be a blank article with a blank title or better again no article at all. A materialistic state of mind gets you no wear. Zen shoulden't ven have a name. What Zen master put a name to nothing. Zen goes against yin and yang. There is nothing but we seemingly exist. So keep searching obviously nothing is the answer. The universe can't be infinate because mass can't be in an infinate space. there has to be a limit for energy to be contained. Energy can not go on forever then there wouldn't be space. Zen is the art of dying, espicailly from your description of it.

When you read something you have to break it down, understand it, and then convert it to Zen terms. Your still relying on something to comprehend reality. Zen is death you shouldn't be alive. You would just sit there untill you die. You havn't done that. Why? becasue there is a point. There has to be a meaning for our biology to persist to work even though your thinking or non-thinking I should say is zen. You have to comprehend and mentally define things to live. Your denying yourself. You could say illusion is a tool of the mind to comprehend and learn. Why don't you meditate close your eyes and think about yourself and other people instead of "zen". Think about the fact that a feeling and an emotion can be experienced despite being seemingly measurable biologically. Ask yourself do humans matter? is there a value to our existance? the fact that we can expereince the universe. Are you telling me you wouldn't react at all if I raped your wife and killed her or if someone else did it? You wouldn't feel the slightist bit of empathy for what she is going through? No reason to stop it becasue it's an illusion right. Consider the fact that she can "experience" the moment, it may be chemicals and neural impuses but she is "feeling" the moment. The feelings are expressed through the body. Ideally you shoudln't try to understand caring, empathy or love you should feel it. Meditate on it. Visualise that your body as love. There are a lot of refences to the body having and energy, a spirtual type energy. Called chi, prana, or an aura. When you meditate just simply be aware that your body has and aura. It's like an expression of yourself. You could at least try it becasue another 27 years of Zen doesn't sound two exciting and you pretty much said that yourself. When a person is sick they feel awful, if everything means nothing then why do we expeirience. One thing which annoys me is, if we are an illusion then why do I only experience in this body. why do i see though these eyes only if I am everyone and everything. There is definition in the universe.

I don't really consider myself a "Zen" person. I drink orange juice but I am not an "orange juice person."

But anyway, to answer your question, why wouldn't I cry if a loved one died? It's all the same, whether you have achieved enlightenment or not. Nothing changes.

You look at your emotion of sadness and grief, and you might say, "I am feeling sadness and grief right now."

Someone who pracices Zen is not free from sadness and grief. Rather they see it for what it is. They "look" at it. That's all.

Hold on now... Are you not contradictiong yourself?? Why do you sit down and do nothing if you simply see things for what they are and do nothing about it. If you see grief and sadness for what it was then why would you go along with an illusion. This sounds even worse then what i typed above. It's like your just an emptiness which for some reason continues just like an ordinary person??? This defies psycology, you see a person as an illusion and you see yourself as an illusion but you act like normal..... <_< .... how could you if it's nothing. Why would you participate in emotion once you know it's an illusion. Why would you cry if it doesn't mean anything?

Edited by Mbyte

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IronGhost
Hold on now... Are you not contradictiong yourself?? Why do you sit down and do nothing if you simply see things for what they are and do nothing about it. If you see grief and sadness for what it was then why would you go along with an illusion. This sounds even worse then what i typed above. It's like your just an emptiness which for some reason continues just like an ordinary person??? This defies psycology, you see a person as an illusion and you see yourself as an illusion but you act like normal..... <_< .... how could you if it's nothing. Why would you participate in emotion once you know it's an illusion. Why would you cry if it doesn't mean anything?

I get accused of contradicting myself all the time, but that's the nature of what a paradox is. A paradox is something or a situation in which two opposing ideas cannot exist together, yet they still do.

But the real nature of the universe is a paradox -- for example, the universe is both infinitely complex, can contain infinite space and variation -- yet it can do so within a finite space.

Take the number 1, for example. You could divide it in half, and get 1/2, then divide that in half and get 1/4, then divide that in half and get 1/8 ..... and you could keep doing that forever. You would create an infinite set of numbers -- there would be no end to them -- yet if you added up all of those millions and billions and trillions of numbers, they could all still be "contained" by the Number 1. They would all "fit inside" 1.

So there we have an example of inifinty contained within a finite space. It seems like a paradox, but its not, really. In reality, there are no paradoxes. That's just an illusion. When we come to see a paradox for what it is, it stops being a paradox.

Or let me ask you this: Let's say that the Universe was the size of a dime. Would there be room enough inside that dime for infinite variation? The answer is yes. Go look up something called "Mandelbrot Sets." This proves that infinite variety can exist within finite space -- space that is bounded.

So when I seem to contradict myself, I'm actually pointing to a paradox. The true nature of a paradox cannot be totally understood by a rational mind alone. But it can be seen or experienced.

_____

Another thing -- these discusions tend to get very frustrating because we are using "language" which is imperfect. All language, and all statements we make, will always be inherently inconsistent, thus leading to a lot of trouble.

The great thing about Zen practice is that it does not involve language -- so you avoid all that trouble. Zen let's you go right to the source, so to speak, to realize how things are as they are.

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joc
is there a value to our existance?

In order for one to say one's existence has value...one first has to define value. And however one defines it...it isn't... nothing has value. Therefore, everything has value...the very definition of value is illusive...it's like defining the word quality. One definition of value out of an infinite number of definitions: Our existence only has value to us as we experience it as living organisms. But because we have already died, it has no value. Hence, the statement...Death always happens to the other guy. Even though we are already dead...we haven't experienced death and so our existence seems to have value...but we are in fact already dead. Every person...in fact every life form...began it's life today and ended it's life today. You cannot die tomorrow...you die today...no one was born yesterday...they are born today...there is no yesterday and there is no tomorrow...there is only 'right now' ...and there isn't even right now.

The Sun never sets and it never rises. It is always setting and always rising. At any given moment the Sun is in a constant state of setting and rising and yet it doesn't set or rise at all.

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joc
Or let me ask you this: Let's say that the Universe was the size of a dime. Would there be room enough inside that dime for infinite variation? The answer is yes. Go look up something called "Mandelbrot Sets." This proves that infinite variety can exist within finite space -- space that is bounded.

And yet...there is no finite space. Finite space is also an illusion. As suggested earlier, we are defining the dime as 'finite space' while there is nothing finite about it...examine the dime in the context of it's surrounding...

...I've never really heard of Mandelbrot Sets so I will go check them out now...

Perhaps everything seems an illusion because of the way that modern man is looking at it. Maybe God designed things that we know to be examined without the aid of the electron microscope.

If God intended for us to examine things with the naked eye...then we would only have options of examining things with the naked eye...yet there is still illusion...some naked eyes see things other naked eyes cannot...

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IronGhost

I like what Joc says about death.

Think about this: My uncle always use to tell me jokingly that he ownded the same axe that President Lincoln had once used when he was growing up on the farm -- except the handle of the axe has been replaced 14 times, and the head of the axe has been replaced 8 times.

How many here would say that my uncle's axe was actually the same axe as the one used by President Lincoln? Probably everyone here would agree that it's not the same axe.

But let's say that my uncle wasn't joking. Let's say his axe could follow a kind of unbroken chain back to Lincoln's original axe. In a sense it would be the same axe. Some aspect of "axe" always followed that particular 'real" axe through it's travels across the past century and a half.

But you might object: "No physical aspect of the original axe is now present! It's not the same axe!"

But now look at your own physical body. Every cell in your body only lasts a certain amount of time. Every cell in your body is eventually replaced with an exact copy of the one that just died -- and the copy is not even exact, because your cells change as you grow older. So, like Lincoln's axe, there is none of the same "stuff" in your body that was there just a few years ago. But you wouldn't say this is not the real "you" any more, would you?

In fact, the body you came into the world with as a baby is long "dead" in a sense, right?

So, if you're going to say my uncle's axe was not really Lincoln's axe, then you would have to say that the person you are today is not the person you were a few years ago. Who are you, then?

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