Thursday, November 17, 2011

What's Zen?


We live in a time awash in technology and assume that it is based on electronics. But the principle of technology is much broader. Fundamentally technology means an application of knowledge especially in a particular area that provides a means of accomplishing a task. Anything from a simple hammer to charting the cosmos properly belongs to the realm of technology.

The common coin understanding of Zen is wrong. Ordinarily Zen is considered to be a branch on the tree of Buddhism but what few people realize is that Zen came first, a long time before there was such a thing as the religion of Buddhism. The Buddha used the mental technology of Zen to experience his enlightenment. While Zen isn’t electronic it is similar since our brain works by exchanging electrical transmissions and Zen is the most thoroughgoing technology for fathoming the human mind ever conceived.

The human brain is the most sophisticated computer ever and is capable of calculation speeds a billion times faster than any computer yet built. Furthermore it is “dual-core”, computing in parallel mode with completely different methods. One side works like a serial processor (our left hemisphere) and the other works like a parallel processor (or right hemisphere). The left creates code and the right reads the code. The left is very good at analyzing, dissecting and abstracting while the right interprets and says what it all means.

Zen is the mental technology of using this equipment to understand itself. The true mind watches the movement and arising of the code in order to grasp how the “machine” works. Everything perceived and processed is watched. There is a conditional and object-oriented aspect and there is an unconditional objectless aspect. Both sides of our brain have no exclusive and independent status. Only when they function together are they of much use. Our subjective nature is unseen and without form. Our objective nature has form and is seen.

Our brain could be considered hardware and our mind software. Software instructs the hardware how to operate. Together these two are mirror opposites and rely upon the other side. In Buddhist terminology this relationship is called “dependent origination” which means they only exist together. Neither side can exist separately. The same is true for anything. Up and down are mirror opposites and neither can exist separately. Nothing can. Everything can only exist in that way.

The two sides of our brain are mirror partners. Our whole brain is the mirror partner of our mind. Our mind is the mirror partner of no-mind. Every nuance becomes progressively more concentrated and potent. The entire universe in infinite configuration and form is essentially empty. If you delve into quantum physics you arrive at nothing. If you go to the farthest reaches of space you arrive at nothing. Before the Big-Bang there was nothing. Now there is everything. Everything is the same thing as nothing. And this amazing awareness comes about by simply watching the coming and going of the manifestations of our mind. That’s Zen.
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