Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Value of Zen

         There I was. The universe was vast and filled with violence. The rules were simple you have between now and perhaps a few years. Everything here consumes everything else and the only thing you can be sure of is you are a temporary item with a short shelf life. You, everyone you know, the earth beneath your feet and the sun that burns above all have an expiration date stamped upon them. This makes me unhappy.

“My first act of free will shall be to believe in free will." --- William James

      The material world is of little comfort, everyone and everything moves and changes, the nature of any pleasure is that it will end and too much of any of it will kill you. The more I have the more I want and the more I get the more it weighs upon me.

      Wait! I see:

The Four Noble Truths

1. Life means suffering.
2. The origin of suffering is attachment.
3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.
4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

I see this is true. I see this could work. But:

            "Grant an idea or belief to be true, what concrete difference will its being true make in anyone's actual life?" --- William James

               But that would mean that the value of any truth was utterly dependent upon its use to the person who held it. I suppose the theory of relativity has some worth to me, it seems to have some cash value. Knowing that gold fish are a type of carp, yes I see it all now.
            I suppose, this small formula, well it just might be that this could have value. It could provide me with a moral anchor, emotional stability, even provide benefits of an, aesthetic, psychological, existential, communal, and even physical-health, nature. I suppose it could.

But of course I would have to apply effort, this don’t seem to be a free ride.

“Happiness is that which can be borne with ease;
suffering is that which cannot be borne with ease.”
Old Buddhist saying

Can this be born with ease?

I think I will sit down and meditate on this.


  1. For what it's worth, this was precisely my first experience of Buddhism. There were two other things that helped me along. First was the Kalama Sutta - how could I resist the invitation to test it? Second was my (largely non-Buddhist) understanding of emptiness. Over about a year of daily testing, I saw that the Buddha was right, The Dharma is true, and suffering is defeated if I choose to.

  2. I think it helps to review our beginings.. To see were we were helps to contrast were we are.