ZEN: The Nature of Seeing and Ego from Alan Watts

“The ultimate beauty we want to believe is hidden underneath this reality is, in fact, this reality. We become confused about our existence when we assume an ego apart from everything. As we look harder for the definition of ourselves, we not only realize that we have no separate ego, but that everything we experience is in our minds. Everything exists in our minds.”



ZEN: Purpose

Every so often I find myself taking a personal retreat in order to, as I call it, calibrate myself back to zero,  which is for me the quintessence of Zen. Just recently I have realized that this “zero” refers to “zero purpose”. When I go to the Arizona Beach Lodge not far from where I live, I leave behind all the things and people in my home environment that call me to do “this” and “that”. I am always rather amazed at how soon I am able to enter into a space in which I have let go of all purpose and am able to just ‘be’.

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On Observing Ourselves – Krishnamurti

Krishnamurti speaks of emptying the mind of the known and recognizing distraction actions. I find that listening this extraordinary man speak for even 5 or 10 minutes changes my day. Enjoy this wonderful excerpt of a talk in deep intensity.

ZEN – Direct Perception

Tibetan monk walking along Manasarovar - 5

Zen – Direct Perception
“In walking, standing, sitting, or lying down he understands that he is so doing, so that, however his body is engaged, he understands it just as it is.… In setting out or returning, in looking before or around, in bending or stretching his arm, … he acts with clear awareness.”
Majjhima Nikaya, I. 56. (Discourses of the Buddha with his chief disciples)
“Complete recollectedness is a constant awareness or watching of one’s sensations, feelings, and thoughts–without purpose or comment. It is a total clarity and presence of mind, actively passive, wherein events come and go like reflections in a mirror: nothing is reflected except what is.”
Alan Watts, The Way of Zen, p. 53
This awareness is without any effort, just as a mirror needs no effort to reflect what is in front of it. t.q.

“cover the world with leather…”

“The desire to reform the world, without discovering one’s true self, is like trying to cover the world with leather to avoid the pain of walking on stones and thorns. It is much simpler to wear shoes.”
Ramana Maharshi


Zen and The Ego

zen circle 8

“For the ego exists in an abstract sense alone, being an abstraction from memory, somewhat like the illusory circle of fire made by a whirling torch.”

In this excerpt, Alan Watts describes more in detail two terms that are of basic importance to a clear understanding of the Buddhist view of existence: the precepts of “impermanence” (anitya) and “no-Self” (anatman), that some of you may be familiar with.

“The anitya doctrine is, again, not quite the simple assertion that the world is impermanent, but rather that the more one grasps at the world, the more it changes. Reality in itself is neither permanent nor impermanent; it cannot be categorized. But when one tries to hold on to it, change is everywhere apparent, since, like one’s own shadow, the faster one pursues it, the faster it flees.
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