The appropriate response to Vega's Buddhism today
seems to be the following classic by James Taylor:
"Won't you look down upon me, Jesus?
You've got to help me make a stand..."
Fire and Rain
Saturday, October 5, 2002... 12:00 PM
Zen Holy Day:
Epigraph to Chapter 23 of Contact, by Carl Sagan:
We have not followed cunningly devised fables.... -- II Peter 1:16
It's still the same old story.... -- Herman Hupfeld, 1931
From Chapter 23 of Contact, by Carl Sagan:
"You mean you could decode a picture hiding in pi
and it would be a mess of Hebrew letters?"
"Sure. Big black letters, carved in stone."
He looked at her quizzically.
"Forgive me, Eleanor, but don't you think
you're being a mite too... indirect?
You don't belong to a silent order of Buddhist nuns.
Why don't you just tell your story?"
"Zen metaphysics is perhaps most succinctly set forth in the words 'not-two." But even when he uses this expression, Suzuki is quick to assert that it implies no monism. Not-two, it is claimed, is not the same as one.* But when Suzuki discusses the relationship of Zen with Western mysticism, it is more difficult to escape the obvious monistic implications of his thinking. Consider the following:
We are possessed of the habit of looking at Reality by dividing it into two... It is all due to the human habit of splitting one solid Reality into two, and the result is that my 'have' is no 'have' and my 'have not' is no 'have not.' While we are actually passing, we insist that the gap is impassable.**"
*See: Daisetz T. Suzuki, 'Basic Thoughts Underlying Eastern Ethical and Social Practice' in Philosophy and Culture — East and West: East-West Philosophy in Practical Perspective, ed. Charles A. Moore (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1968), p. 429
** Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki, Mysticism Christian and Buddhist (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1957, Unwin paperback, 1979), p. 57.
Personally, I am reminded by Suzuki's satori on this date that today is the eve of the anniversary of Pearl Harbor. I am also reminded by the rather intolerant tract on the Trinity quoted above that the first atomic bomb was exploded in the New Mexico desert at a test site named Trinity. Of course, sometimes intolerance is justified.
Concluding unscientific postscript:
On the same day in 1896 that D. T. Suzuki attained satori,
lyricist Ira Gershwin was born.