From the beginning there never was a secret, every mystery you have ever wondered about has been hidden in plain sight.

We are the Ātmeśvara Mārga School, and if we took ourselves seriously enough to have an "official" voice, this would be it. We are dedicated to the process of human integration, of moving from the segregated, mechanistic, conditioned state, to the Integrated, unconditioned state of the awake, adult human.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just a thought

Many years ago I ran across a book in a store somewhere.

The title was "101 Zen Koans, with their answers"

This was back in the day when America was first discovering "Eastern" though. Allen Watts was publishing his books on Tao and Zen, Esalen was still a novelty rather than a cliché and everyone wanted to get enlightened just as quickly as possible. EST seminars were just getting popular. (If you are too young to remember those days see if you can find a movie called "Serial", it captured the feel of the time quite nicely).

Of course the problem here is that even if you are given the "answer" to a koan, or a Sufi story, or one of the tales of the Baal Shem Tov, you don't have the answer.

The whole point of such stories is not the answer per se, but the realization of the answer, which is not something that you can get from another person (ever).

I will pass on the advice that was given me when I was trying to riddle out the answer to the Dance of the New Moon.

"If you want to understand the mystery of the dance, you must do as Yorge did, sit for an hour each day and 'watch the dance' just as he did"

There is a "right answer" in the sense of the answer that will "get you admitted to the monastery".

But of course there is more than one monastery. But no matter which one you go to, you won't get in without finding the answers you are looking for by your own effort.


Janet said...

It seems that perhaps the most valuable outcome from solving this riddle is what we learn about themselves in the process of discovery.

Jay said...

Cool - we agree that the experience is the key to the answer.
My comment was spured by the need to understand the culture to reach The Answer™.
I understand the value of effort to reach points of understanding well, but if someone has no knowledge of a subject, wants to learn and is willing to, is it not proper and polite to fill them in on some background?
It's similar to someone coming to me to learn martial arts and all I show them is a form and not what the movements mean and where and when to apply them, and just tell them to figure it out. They will have an easier time learning the form if they can better visualize the application.
So, when I say cut to the chase, I mean get me up to speed with what I need to know going in. If I don't need to know anything and want me to meditate, practice, whatever, then my answer will have to be accepted as mine, not wrong in any way, just not your answer.

Yeah I agree with that statement, could it be a form of accepting who we are as well?