|Buddhism and knowing
||[21 Sep 2005|12:13am]
||trees and claps
A friend and I had a phone conversation earlier tonight about Buddhism and
epistemology, and whether the related Western texts that we (present, past and
future) philosophy students read are relevant to daily reality.
I think Buddhists should care about epistemology, but maybe not exactly the way
philosophy classes usually teach it. I've been reading Not Always So by Shunryu
Suzuki, and shortly after the conversation, I read (136-7):
From the experiences of many people, instructions were accumulated for the
forms we use and the way we breathe, just as scientific knowledge is
accumulated. But Buddhist wisdom puts emphasis on the subjective side of the
Sometimes people who call themselves "spiritual" ignore the objective side of
the truth. That is also a a mistake, but to be caught by the objective side
of the truth and rely on it with an idle attitude will not help. Even though
we can go to the moon, it doesn't help so much. As long as we rely on
objective, scientific truth, it doesn't help. Only when each one of us feels
the truth, appreciates, accepts, and is ready to follow the truth, will it
work. When someone puts himself outside of the truth in order to study the
truth, he won't know what to do when something happens to him.
In an ancient Chinese story, there was a person who liked dragons very
much. He talked about dragons, he painted dragons, and he bought various
kinds of dragons. So there was a dragon who thought, "If a real dragon like
me visited him, he would be very happy." One day the real dragon sneaked into
his room, and the man didn't know what to do! Whaaah! He could not even run
away. He could not even stand up. For a long time we have been like the man
who admired dragons, but we should not just be the dragon's friend or
admirer; we should be the dragon itself. Then we will not be afraid of any
So we are ready to study our way subjectively as well as objectively...
|Poet turns down the White House
||[21 Sep 2005|01:08am]
Maybe a bit over the top, but I think this letter from poet Sharon Olds rejecting a Laura Bush invitation to the White House due to disagreements with status quo Iraq policies is a gesture for good.
So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the candles, and I could not stomach it.
Link via New York Times story.