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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

On Zen Buddhism - Part V

By meditating on koan, and on the sutras, but ultimately through the practice of the sitting-breathing meditation, za-zen, the Zen practitioner prepares for the experience of enlightenment.

As a result of the wisdom gained through Zen, the practitioner hopes to contribute more significantly toward the well-being of the world.

Therefore we have to see the real truth, the real situation. Our daily lives, the way we drink, what we eat, has to do with the world's political situation. Meditation can see deeply into things, to see how we can change, how we can transform our situation. To transform our situation is to transform our minds. To transform our minds is also to transform our situation, because the situation is mind, and mind is situation. Awakening is important. The nature of the bombs, the nature of injustice, the nature of the weapons, and the nature of our own beings are the same. This is the real meaning of engaged Buddhism.[i]

In all forms of Buddhism, the precept is held, that being able to contribute to the well being of the world requires that we accept the simple-truth concerning the interconnectedness of all things.

It is necessary that we come to grips with the fact that there is no essential separation between any one person and every other person, between animals and plants, plants and minerals, down to the most elemental unit of being.

According to the principles of Zen, any world-view suggesting that there is dispositional relationship between any two definable objects (things or beings) is flawed.

Every thing or being, animate or inanimate, living or dead, is a concrescent society, a multi-valenced reality, of whom-of which it is truthfully asserted, that their relationships to (or with) all other things or beings are ontological properties of their essential nature.  

On the ultimate level, all-things-are-one.

Just as a piece of paper is the fruit, the combination of many elements that can be called non-paper elements, the individual is made of non-individual elements. If you are a poet you will see very clearly that there is cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud there will be no water; without water, the trees cannot grow; and without trees you cannot make paper. So the cloud is in here. The existence of this page is dependent on the existence of a cloud.[ii]

The assumption that we are intrinsically connected is not merely a postulation of Buddhism.

In Hinduism, Brahma is said to be the God within whose dreaming the entire drama of the universe unfolds, in whom every action takes place.

In Christianity, God is said to be the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, who at the end of time will be All in All, the unification of all beings. God, creates the universe, the universe comes into being through God, exists in God, is maintained and supported by God, at every level. Not one thing is excluded.
In science, in the school of quantum physics we see these same themes shaping our understanding of the most fundamental level of reality. And as we observe and measure the inner dynamics of complex systems, in biology, the weather, or even "artificial" systems like economics, we are able to perceive that even the most minor interaction between elements have broad and far ranging consequences throughout the entire systems. Our observations of these connections affirms the understanding that there is no actual separation between any one thing, and every other thing.

On the quantum level, the entire universe is entangled.

[i] Being Peace, by Thich Naht Hanh, page 74
[ii] Ibid, page 46

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