toxic thought waste site

Theological whimsy, metaphysical larks, and other spiritually radioactive waste products.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Zero to Zen Master: How I got here (again)

Some thoughts on how I came to spend my ever so valuable time thinking about silly things like zen. Like a lot of people I read a bunch of zen books in college. But that's college. You are allowed to do crazy experimental stuff. But now I'm a grown up (sort of) why am I wasting my time on this stuff again? I sort of got hit from three directions and decided to pay attention.

First, Sam Harris talks glowingly about contemplative practices in a number of places. And I was really intrigued by his essay on Buddhism and meditation.

Secondly I heard an interview with Susan Blackmore on It was a really interesting discussion on memes and parapsychology and drugs and consciousness and atheism. I was really surprised I had never heard of her before. I started reading her articles on her website and well, they are drenched in zen.

The last zen-ish thing was a little more circuitous. I had been reading some John (End of Science) Horgan writings on This led me too his web site full of his essays and book excepts. I was particularly interested in his debunking of enlightened gurus. Some how from looking at this I found this article by Brad (HARDCORE ZEN) Warner which comments on Horgan's views on the topic. Soon after I started to read through his zen essays he started a blog which I keep in my feed and check every once in a while.

The funny thing is that it was Brad's writing that sort of broke the camel's back. And mostly it was his suggestion that to do zen you need to sit correctly. To what ever degree this is true it was what I needed to start having a *serious* meditation practice as meager as it is. Sitting slightly uncomfortably and with good posture really does make a difference. And his writings on zen are believable to me. He writes how he had a semi-mystical experience transcending space and time and viewing the whole universe in a vision of sorts and his zen teacher ridiculed him and told him it was garbage. It's a little thing, but that gives him credibility to me.

Now I need to actually read one (or more) of his books and see if I like him as much as I *think* I would.

Any way, dear reader, that is how I found myself in Zenville, in the zen district accross the street from Zen R Us, on Zen avenue. Perhaps you know the place.

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