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#84464 - 04/14/05 09:49 PM Western Philosophy and Zen

I've long been under the impression that Zen as a state of mind or spiritual discipline was confined only to the East, both in substance and conception. However, after reading the work of the Western and Eastern philosophers, I have reached a precipice.

Either Zen is an Eastern discovery and application; or it is not. From my readings and own thoughts; I've concluded that Zen is not relegated to any specific philosophy or religion, or indeed any hemisphere of thought.

Descartes himself practiced Zen, albeit under different terms. His continual self doubt and questioning led him to the only truth that he could absolutely know.

Cogito, ergo sum. I think; therefore, I am.

I believe that Zen is common the world over, and is present in any philosophy that deals with the discovery or truth. However; to refer to it as simply Zen does a disservice to the other cultures and philosophies that have applied it.

Am I presumptuous; or just plain wrong?

#84465 - 04/14/05 10:01 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

Zen as any other religion/philosophy is mereley a vehicle/instructions for the path to enlightenment. it is a pure teaching. to label it with a culture is to defile it. zen takes the heart suttra and the diamond suttra to a fine needle point. all religions/philosophys point to the same truth(dharma). as Dogen Zenji stated "a thousand million dew drops all reflect the moon, yet, still, only one moon."


[This message has been edited by wolfscalissi (edited 04-14-2005).]

#84466 - 04/14/05 10:12 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

So then Socrates, Descartes, Kant, Miller, Gautama, Lao Tzu, and all the other philosophers simply searched for the same thing.

Huh. That's a precept I've long used to justify my belief in God; wasn't aware that anyone else believed it.

I quote St. Paul; "It is not a strange thing for the truth to come from two mouths."

#84467 - 04/14/05 10:44 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

Thank you for your words. descartes missed the mark tho "cogito ergo sum" is one of the biggest philosophical blunders of all such he suffered under the weight of it. The truth in any teaching lies beneath the mind. as soon as you say"I know this" or "I know that" yo are a victim of your own preceptions and predjudices. In your religion it is to be a VESSEL for God. if you are "full" of knowledge how can this be? Trapped by the dark veil of knowledge I rest in unrest and suffer for my desires.


#84468 - 04/14/05 11:10 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

Hello members,
Thank you for handling discussions responsibly and respectfully. I would like to encourage everyone choose words wisely so we can all continue to learn from each other.

#84469 - 04/14/05 11:15 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

[QUOTE]Originally posted by oldman:
Hello members,
Thank you for handling discussions responsibly and respectfully.

Hello oldman I am new here and happy to find open minds to chat with. well done

may your life go well


#84470 - 04/15/05 10:13 AM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5829
Loc: USA

Wrong [IMG][/IMG]

All kidding aside the use of "Zenlike" thought may be widespread but the word itself and specifc practices are unique to Zen itself.

Take your example of Descartes, you say yourself that he "practiced Zen" so you musy see that what Desartes was doing was a practice so similar to Zen that you used it NAME to describe it.

To me that would indicate that your using a specifc term, that is used to describe a specifc form of relgious/spritual/philiosophy to describe the actions of ANOTHER person.
To me that indicates that the actions are NOT what you suggest.

On the other hand, Zen is a product of China, filtered thu Japanese outslooks and principles--so I guess you could argue that
Zen changes with the place its in.

Excellent question!!!!!!

#84471 - 04/15/05 10:28 AM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

umm....Zen has it's roots from India.

#84472 - 04/15/05 01:53 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen
cxt Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 5829
Loc: USA

Yeah, most forms of Buddist thought can be traced back to India--the sect that eventually became known as the "zen" sect is Chinese.

#84473 - 04/15/05 03:21 PM Re: Western Philosophy and Zen

Let me explain what I meant a little clearer.

I see God as absolute perfection in every way; knowledge, virtue, application of said knowledge. However, he is not simply the abstract quality of those things, he is a sentient being. I say this because we as a species are counted as the "higher animals" because we think, we reason; and we know how to apply that knowledge.

It woulf follow that anything greater than us must not only be more powerful, but also more rational and sentient.

As such; I see it as no bad thing to be filled with knowledge. After all; God is knowledge. If you know that what you know is true, then there is nothing wrong with claiming to know it.

As for your comment about Descartes, his was more of a metaphysical observation than a philosophical argument.

Cogito, ergo sum stems from the fact that we know of our own existance because we think. You can doubt everything except for the fact that you doubt.

What Descartes did to apply this to God was to point out that doubting itself was a path towards truth; thusly man knows of his own existance and the existance of something greater than man.

Two cents tossed in from the West.

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