2008.07.16 01:00 - Mu

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    That night, at 1 am, I met Fael again at the pavilion.

    Fael Illyar: Hi Pema :)
    Pema Pera: Hi Fael, my connection is a bit slow right now
    Pema Pera: I’m in a coffee shop that is rather built in, and my cell phone internet connection is not very stable
    Pema Pera: Let’s see how long I can manage to hang on — at least text seems to be okay, though motion is very slow
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Fael Illyar is still half-asleep.
    Pema Pera: haha, well, we have coffee here in the cornier
    Pema Pera: corner
    Pema Pera: espresso even
    Fael Illyar: :P
    FX1-Black V1.0 (High Prim)_v4 whispers: Coffee Machine ready for use.
    Faenik: could be
    Pema Pera: Recently we talked about the notion of a quest
    Pema Pera: I think you that that you had no quest, do I remember that correctly?
    Fael Illyar: Yes, I don’t really have a quest I think.
    Pema Pera: I reflected on that myself, and I realize that I sometimes talk about a quest in a positive way, as I did in that session, and that I sometimes say like you that I don’t have a quest
    Pema Pera: words are so interesting
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Pema Pera: Sometimes it is almost like asking “is North in front? or to the right or left or behind?
    Pema Pera: and as soon as you turn, the answer is different
    Fael Illyar: Haha, similar I guess :)
    Pema Pera: But as soon as I say that, it seems that “everything goes”
    Pema Pera: which is not true of course
    Pema Pera: at every time that question does have an answer
    Fael Illyar: Adams was talking about how we (me and Adams) are going in different directions yesterday.
    Pema Pera: yes?
    Fael Illyar doesn’t feel like she’s moving.
    Fael Illyar: no sense of achievement. I keep making people wide eyed though.
    Pema Pera: wide eyed?
    Fael Illyar: Adams thinks I’m moving very fast.
    Pema Pera: :)

    This reminded me of a metaphor from physics.

    Pema Pera: In quantum mechanics if you pin something down at one place, as a consequence it moves infinitely fast in all directions . . . ..
    Fael Illyar: I got the idea she’s feeling left behind.
    Fael Illyar: heh, that’s interesting :)
    Fael Illyar: fits with the situation.
    Pema Pera: but in today’s blog, Adams wrote that she sees more how others are also struggling like her
    Fael Illyar: ah, I haven’t looked at that yet
    Pema Pera: coming back to quest
    Pema Pera: I definitely value “just sitting” , “just Being”
    Faenik is a hairy black ball with eyes and ears.
    Fael Illyar: Adams gives off the feeling of being on a quest quite strongly.
    Pema Pera: yet at the same time I also feel on a more relative level that there is a sense of quest or mission . . . but a VERY unusual one
    Pema Pera: yes, if we want to use zen terminology, then Adams is rather Rinzai and you are rather Soto
    Pema Pera: are you familiar with those two?
    Fael Illyar: I’ve heard the names but not much else.
    Pema Pera: it may be interesting for you, and for Adams, to read a bit about those two
    Pema Pera: both go back to different chan teachers in China
    Pema Pera: chan in Chinese is zen in Japanese
    Pema Pera: But what Rinzai Zen and Soto Zen are pointing at, the ultimate insight, is of course beyond any specific approach
    Fael Illyar: Yes, there are many ways to get there.
    Pema Pera: The part of a quest that suggests grasping and reaching is not very helpful
    Pema Pera: But the part of a quest that invites sticking to something, continuity is very helpful
    Fael Illyar: I think I’m pretty much using this method of starting at the end.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Fael Illyar: I’ve been observing what Being isn’t and watching for that.
    Pema Pera: That’s a great approach, Fael
    Fael Illyar: both in my own thought and in that of others
    Pema Pera: Correspondences there too, in Christianity the via negativa, in Buddhism Madhyamika, going back to Nagarjuna
    Fael Illyar: reading hidden assumptions being the main tool there.
    Pema Pera: yes, hidden assumptions are like gold, worse looking out for!
    Faenik: ah :)
    Pema Pera: *worth
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Fael Illyar: but it doesn’t really differ from what I’ve been doing for years. I’ve been paying attention to hidden assumptions for years.
    Pema Pera: maybe looking in is worth and looking out is worse?
    Fael Illyar: I just didn’t have a good list of which hidden assumptions to look for.
    Pema Pera: Perhaps a difference is the continuity and intensity that PaB brings, and the sense of community?
    Fael Illyar: yes, intensity too
    Pema Pera: Does PaB improve the list?
    Fael Illyar: and the others as well
    Fael Illyar: I wasn’t aware of any list before PaB, I don’t know :)
    Pema Pera: :)
    Fael Illyar: and … right now I know there is a list but I can’t really list very many. I just know them when I see them
    Pema Pera: Can you mention a few of the most striking hidden assumptions?

    Gaya walked in and sat down with us.

    Pema Pera: Hey, Gaya!
    Fael Illyar: lets see… well, one that comes to mind would be of course Adams’s question “Is being like …” I forget what she likened it to.
    Fael Illyar: Hi Gaya :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: hi both :)
    Pema Pera: We’re talking about hidden assumptions
    Faenik: could be
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes i remember pls continue
    Pema Pera: she asked about “like reality” I believe
    Fael Illyar: somehow I seem to be having trouble remembering more immediately
    Pema Pera: so many sessions!
    Pema Pera: With a good indexing system on our wiki, it should become easy to pick this up again in real time with a quick search
    Gaya Ethaniel: that’s true
    Fael Illyar: also brings to my mind this one of the more puzzling Koans I remember reading.
    Pema Pera: You’ve been to many sessions, I believe, Gaya, in the short time you’ve been here with us!
    Pema Pera: yes, Fael?
    Fael Illyar: A monk asked Joshu, a Chinese Zen master: “Has a dog Buddha-nature or not?” Joshu answered: “Mu.”
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes i’m trying to meet most of the group first then possibly attend a few per week, which i can afford to do
    Pema Pera: That’s a great way to get settled in, Gaya!
    Gaya Ethaniel: :)
    Fael Illyar: the question has the assumption that things might not have this “Buddha-nature”.
    Pema Pera: AND it has the assumption that we know what we are talking about when we use the word “Buddha-nature” . . . .
    Fael Illyar: The question itself is invalid, therefore there is no answer.
    Pema Pera: hmmmmm, why is it invalid, and how?
    Fael Illyar: which is what Joshu answers by saying Mu.
    Gaya Ethaniel: who is Joshu?
    Fael Illyar: the question loses it’s meaning with the hidden assumption.
    Fael Illyar: Some more or less famous Zen master.
    Gaya Ethaniel: oh i c
    Fael Illyar: umm without the hidden assumption
    Fael Illyar: Joshu clearly doesn’t have the assumption
    Pema Pera: I’m not sure whether it completely loses its meaning . . . a koan has many sides and implications . . . but I can see that your analysis can be a step forwards in some sense
    Fael Illyar: Of course, there could be other sides.
    Gaya Ethaniel: question has its purpose i guess
    Pema Pera: yes
    Fael Illyar: I see Joshu’s answer Mu. be like a null pointer in programming
    Pema Pera: Gaya, here is a pointer to Joshu: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joshu.
    Gaya Ethaniel: thanks having a look now
    Pema Pera: Yes, that is an interesting angle, Fael, but do you think that that kind of insight is a type of answer?
    Faenik: why not?
    Pema Pera: hehehe Faenik
    Pema Pera: or a way to get deeper into the question?
    Pema Pera: a stopping point or a booster rocket?
    Fael Illyar: could be either :)
    Fael Illyar: or both
    Faenik: indeed?
    Pema Pera: Every zen center needs a Faenik
    Fael Illyar: :)

    Back to hidden assumptions.

    Pema Pera: Can I come back to hidden assumptions?
    Fael Illyar: sure
    Pema Pera: I asked for an example
    Pema Pera: you mentioned Adams’s question about whether Being is reality
    Pema Pera: how is that an example?
    Fael Illyar: I think this Koan actually might have a very similar hidden assumption in it’s question.
    Fael Illyar: it assumes Being is like something.
    Pema Pera: perhaps very many hidden assumptions . . . .
    Fael Illyar: that can be defined
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: At the same time, I could also think of saying “yes, Being and reality are two words that both can be agreed upon as pointing to that which is beyond all dualities, that what you keep when you drop what you have”
    Pema Pera: where would the hidden assumptions be then?
    Fael Illyar: do you see hidden assumptions in “is Being like Being?”
    Pema Pera: sure
    Gaya Ethaniel: notices that he’s called Joju in korean
    Pema Pera: for starters, the notion that “like” applies here
    Pema Pera: Ah, Gaya, great! I had tried to look for the Korean name quickly, but couldn’t find it.
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: :) loads of stuff about him in korean
    Gaya Ethaniel: pls continue ur discussion i’m following it :)
    Pema Pera: 趙州 are the Chinese characters — do you use those in Korean in this case?
    Pema Pera: or is his name written phonetically?
    Gaya Ethaniel: yes about 80% of korean words are basesd on chinese character
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: How many chinese characters do Koreans learn in school, these days?
    Gaya Ethaniel: so chinese would say zhaozhu, korean joju japanese joshu
    Pema Pera: yes
    Gaya Ethaniel: well it picked up again since china has become important
    Gaya Ethaniel: in high school we would learn chinese poems
    Fael Illyar recalls number 500 faintly for some reason.
    Pema Pera: interesting!
    Gaya Ethaniel: think 50,000 is something one strives for, kind of a mark i think
    Fael Illyar: hehe :)
    Fael Illyar can only read somewhere close to 2000.
    Pema Pera: that may be like the top speed of a computer — something the computer is guaranteed not to exceed :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: sorry 20,000…
    Pema Pera: (the 50,000 that is)
    Pema Pera: though in practice the speed is always far lower
    Gaya Ethaniel: 1000 is the beginner - we have an ancient book called ‘1000 character book’ that children learn in old times, first text book
    Pema Pera: I see that it is time for me to leave soon

    Even though I announced my departure, the conversation was just too interesting to drop, and I kept lingering . . .

    Fael Illyar: can we return … apparently not.
    Gaya Ethaniel: good night Pema
    Pema Pera: we can for a bit, Fael
    Gaya Ethaniel: sorry i disrupt again!
    Fael Illyar: you were talking about the notion of like
    Pema Pera: no immediate rush
    Pema Pera: oh now, Gaya, not to worry at all !
    Pema Pera: there are often several conversations going on here — it is part of the nature of SL texting
    Pema Pera: yes, Fael?
    Gaya Ethaniel: thanks Pema & listens intently
    Fael Illyar: and how it makes for a hidden assumption in “is Being like Being?”
    Pema Pera: :)
    Pema Pera: yes?
    Fael Illyar: well, I can’t recognise an assumption in this sentence anymore. It feels like sentence asking for … well obvious.
    Pema Pera: If I ask whether a cat is like a lion, it is a partly well posed question
    Pema Pera: because there are similarities and differences
    Pema Pera: and I can answer “yes, in the sense of …..” and “no, in the sense that …..”
    Pema Pera: yes, both feline; no, rather different size — for example
    Fael Illyar: … so it assumed Being can be likened.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: Of course, my example was about “is A like B” while you asked “is A like A”
    Faenik loves wells!
    Pema Pera: So another example “is Fael like Fael?”
    Pema Pera: well, in some sense yes , of course
    Pema Pera: but you can also read that as “is the Fael reacting now like the Fael who reacted a day ago”
    Pema Pera: and then it is more like “is A like B”
    Pema Pera: with possible yes and no answers
    Gaya Ethaniel: i follow u Pema
    Fael Illyar: Yes, comparing from different viewpoints.
    Pema Pera: yes
    Pema Pera: And a human Being is generally seen to be more variable than a rock
    Fael Illyar: depends on the context though
    Pema Pera: But in Being, can we talk about variability?
    Pema Pera: interesting question in itself
    Gaya Ethaniel: so what is difference between the two question u think?
    Pema Pera: yes, all context dependent
    Gaya Ethaniel: if any
    Pema Pera: Which two questions, Gaya?
    Gaya Ethaniel: difference in what the two questions bring about, is A like A & is A like B?
    Pema Pera: Well, they are different to some degree . . . I’m not sure what else to add — a lot could be said, for sure.

    Fael brings up a paradoxical notion from set theory.

    Fael Illyar: If you considered the set of all sets, change would be rather inapplicable feature.
    Pema Pera: yes, inapplicable is probably the best answer, I agree
    Gaya Ethaniel: think i will reflect on that today :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: thank you
    Pema Pera: well, my battery is running out now soonish :)
    Gaya Ethaniel: see u again soon
    Pema Pera: yw, Gaya, thank you for stopping by!
    Gaya Ethaniel: good night Pema and have a good day Fael
    Fael Illyar: Ok, see you soon Gaya :)
    Pema Pera: And Fael, here is one hidden assumption that I like to dwell on, that there is time, in the sense of past-present-future time
    Pema Pera: I think that hidden assumption is wrong
    Pema Pera: and the more I learn to see that, the more I see the answers to many other questions I’ve long had
    Pema Pera: answers in the sense of seeing why other questions were wrongly posed
    Pema Pera: perhaps we can take this up some future “time” — hehehe
    Fael Illyar: :)
    Pema Pera: “future time”
    Pema Pera: paradox of paradoxes!
    Pema Pera: Play
    Faenik: なるほど^^
    Pema Pera: naruhodo indeed!
    Pema Pera: c u both, F & F !
    Fael Illyar: Ok, see you later Pema :)

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    Viewing 2 of 2 comments: view all
    Originally written on 11:52, 22 Jul 2008
    I note Pema makes a brief mention of Heisenbergs uncertainty principle. I have heard several people say that this principle is the basis of free will. I don't buy that myself. I don't think non-determinism is the same as free will, but then maybe I was destined to think that. :-)

    On the subject of Rinzai and Soto - Soto Zen is sometimes called farmer zen because of its simplicity and acceptability to the general populace. Rinzai, which has become very popular in the west, was generally a practice of the nobility in Japan and so less common. My own practice is Soto but I wouldn't like to say that one is better than the other.
    Posted 02:25, 9 Apr 2010
    Originally written on 11:29, 23 Jul 2008
    Your approach depends on where you are when you begin. The nobility would be used to confronting and power struggles. The farmers and peasants would be used to accepting their role.
    Posted 02:25, 9 Apr 2010
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