It's interesting to see what's going on with physics these days because they're starting to come out with stuff that sounds remarkably like Buddhism and even more specifically like the ancient Hindu Vedas. Physics isn't necessarily saying the exact same thing but I think eventually it will merge.
The obvious example would be Jesus. Jesus is an object of fascination for me. He's an interesting historical character because we don't know much about him. He seems to be a guy who was in touch with something deeper than most people around him were and someone who was very concerned with trying to communicate that.
Now however, we have contraception and it's mostly reliable so you can have sex without that happening. So then you start vilifying the act of sex itself. I don't think Buddhism has ever done that necessarily, or at least I'm not aware of Buddhism taking the stance that Christianity often has which says that sex itself is a kind of evil act, which is a really weird idea.
Godzilla also represents the fear of nuclear annihilation, which was something that was big in my mind at the time. It was something that the people of this forthcoming generation haven't had to live with, but people around my age grew up with the idea that we could all be blown up at any minute. That's also what got me into hardcore music.
At times, Zen does get into some Buddhist Cosmology. Nishijima Roshi, my main teacher would talk about that and almost every time immediately say that it was only one way of looking at it. Whenever addressing realms of Heaven or Hell, he'd also address that it was just a psychological state.
Much of the hatred and fear of sexuality found in religions stems from the idea that sex is a thing of the body and that the body must be denied so that the spirit may be elevated. In Buddhism there is no notion that the body is made of inferior matter while the spirit flies free within.
Sanity and enlightenment...I've been reading a new book Dogen's Genjo Koan: Three Commentaries, and it contains a commentary on Genjo Koan by Shunryu Suzuki, the author who wrote Zen Mind, Beginners Mind. He doesn't mention sanity at all but I think that one possible definition of enlightenment would be a kind of profound sanity, where being insane is no longer an option.
There's also something that is often mistaken for enlightenment which is a kind of insanity. Often, people will have some kind of weird experience which is quite abnormal and think, "Oh my God, that's it, I understand everything" because they start seeing things in a very weird way and think that's how enlightened people see things as well.
True nonattachment is understanding that you are fundamentally attached to everything and, through that understanding, dropping your attachment to the view that you are detached from that which you encounter. At the same time, real nonattachment means not clinging to things or people. It means dropping the idea that if you don't have this or if you can't get that, your life will be a catastrophe.
Buddhism doesn't promise to fulfill our desires. Instead it says, 'You feel unfulfilled? That's okay. That's normal. Everybody feels unfulfilled. You will always feel unfulfilled. There is no problem with feeling unfulfilled. In fact, if you learn to see it the right way, that very lack of fulfillment is the greatest thing you can ever experience.' This is the realistic outlook.
There are many diamonds in the world and if you lose your favorite, you can work hard, earn a lot of money and get another one to replace it. But the moments of your life aren't like that. Once they're gone, they'll never return. Each and every one is the most precious thing in existence. You can never meaningfully compare one moment with any other. You can never meaningfully compare your life with anyone else's. No matter how rich someone else may be, no matter how happy they look, no matter how enlightened they seem, they can never be you.... Read more »
Well it's always been an interesting area for me. In referencing something I just reread from Dogen it says, "Enlightenment doesn't break the person anymore than the reflection breaks the water" and Suzuki in his commentary is saying you don't lose your personality once you acquire some sort of Buddhist understanding.
They really make sex into such a horrible thing and how terrible anything related to sex is, but isn't that why we're all here? We wouldn't be here at all if two people in our past hadn't been horny for each other, that's how it works. So we can't continue unless people keep being horny for each other, that's just the way it is.
There's also an aspect which I tried to express yesterday by saying the same "something" that looks out through Curlys eyes is also the same exact thing which looks out of Moe's eyes, and that's harder for people to grasp. So the thing is, you have to find a way to ultimately embrace both sides or else you can't function. If you only embrace the side of pure oneness then you end up sort of spacing out and sitting under a blanket.
A lot of seriously insane people have managed to acquire huge followings based on the idea that their insanity is a kind of enlightenment. An obvious example would be Charles Manson or Shoko Asahara who is the person responsible for the Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway.
So that's Godzilla, he's ultimately going to get you regardless of what you do. Maybe the people who made the American Godzilla film were scared of that. They didn't want him to represent that, to represent something we couldn't deal with because, "We're American's, we can deal with anything".
One of the things I regret about not putting in that book or I think it's there but I didn't really elaborate on it, is contraception. I came across someone who articulated very clearly that one of the things which makes our approach to Buddhist practice in regards to sex different these days than it was in Buddhist times, is the simple existence of reliable contraception, which is a no brainer but I missed really addressing it in the book.
As you're implying, there's a new technology that can look even deeper into that brick and we can start getting into a level where it breaks down so that the brick isn't even there, but obviously it is because Moe can hit Curly on the head with it. It's quite bizarre and all relative.
I'm not sure that Eastern culture does either, but I've never lived in India etc so I couldn't tell you. I can say we definitely don't. So people will sometimes come in contact with something strange and think, "Oh, it must be like this" and have a lot of fantasies about it, and somebody who sort of looks like our fantasy version of what enlightenment is can be very convincing in seeming like they've got something and then play that role.
There's fantasies about what heaven is like and who Satan is and why you shouldn't masturbate or why you should vote Republican. It's funny because it's an election year and their news broadcasts are constantly talking about "Vote Republican". I think that they think they're being subtle about it, but that's definitely not the case. So I'm like, "What does this have anything to do with the nice advice you were giving about how to live your life, how to get along with your spouse etc?"
If you come across an insane person who's talking gibberish, you can't make any sense of it at all and that would be one way that enlightenment is different. If you read Dogen, a lot of his stuff is very strange and is coming from a different place than what we're used to, but at the same time, it's not senseless ramblings and that's part of what attracted me to Dogen. I didn't get it, but it was sane. It's not some guy raving about UFO's or Moses living in his bathtub, it's was actually something sane that I just... Read more »
Since then, my approach to all things spiritual is rather cynical you could say. When somebody present something to me as spiritual, my first instinct is to be cynical and think, "oh yeah, one of those again." You see so much of it see in "spiritual culture" and people get very excited about it. It's all very "hoo haw."