Zen

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – C12 Extract.

…But this is getting out of sequence. There’s a span of about ten years missing. He didn’t jump from Immanuel Kant to Bozeman, Montana. During this span of ten years he lived in India for a long time studying Oriental philosophy at Benares Hindu University.

As far as I know he didn’t learn any occult secrets there. Nothing much happened at all except exposures. He listened to philosophers, visited religious persons, absorbed and thought and then absorbed and thought some more, and that was about all. All his letters show is an enormous confusion of contradictions and incongruities and divergences and exceptions to any rule he formulated about the things he observed. He’d entered India an empirical scientist, and he left India an empirical scientist, not much wiser than he had been when he’d come. However, he’d been exposed to a lot and had acquired a kind of latent image that appeared in conjunction with many other latent images later on.

Some of these latencies should be summarized because they become important later on. He became aware that the doctrinal differences among Hinduism and Buddhism and Taoism are not anywhere near as important as doctrinal differences among Christianity and Islam and Judaism. Holy wars are not fought over them because verbalized statements about reality are never presumed to be reality itself.

In all of the Oriental religions great value is placed on the Sanskrit doctrine of Tat tvam asi, “Thou art that,” which asserts that everything you think you are and everything you think you perceive are undivided. To realize fully this lack of division is to become enlightened.

Logic presumes a separation of subject from object; therefore logic is not final wisdom. The illusion of separation of subject from object is best removed by the elimination of physical activity, mental activity and emotional activity. There are many disciplines for this. One of the most important is the Sanskrit dhyana, mispronounced in Chinese as “Chan” and again mispronounced in Japanese as “Zen.” Phædrus never got involved in meditation because it made no sense to him. In his entire time in India “sense” was always logical consistency and he couldn’t find any honest way to abandon this belief. That, I think, was creditable on his part.

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