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Re: Re: Philosophical Perly Queues

by TheDamian (Vicar)
on Apr 19, 2003 at 22:44 UTC ( [id://251730]=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re: Philosophical Perly Queues
in thread Philosophical Perly Queues

Still, is this is the path to wisdom that you wish to follow?
The goal of beating the student is to put him or her in touch with the Now, the Immediate (i.e. un-mediated), the Actual.

Ironically, the "Have you ever known a pearl to grow when planted in a field?" metaphor is itself trying to achieve this same goal. But it is fatally flawed. It attempts to have the student accept a precept that requires the student not to accept precepts.

However, unlike the classic Zen koan, this paradox is not an honest one. It will not lock the student's thought processes, and thereby clear the mind to perceive "What Is". Instead it insinuates itself into their thought processes and leads them astray. "Yes, I have finally stopped accepting the wisdon of others!" they think, using the Master's thoughts instead of their own. Instead of one step forward, they have taken a step backwards. Rather than transcending the tyranny on philosophy, they have added the burden of another's philosophy on top of their own!

This is the origin of the advice: "If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him!" Buddha has nothing to teach you. You just have to open your eyes and see What Is. But Buddha can't even teach you *that*. The very act of labelling it "What Is" is an abstraction that gets in the way of your seeing it.

So Con Wei must rebut the Master, without emulating the Master. In typical Zen fashion, the way he does this is by...emulating the Master.

By highlighting the limitations of the metaphor with an ironic counterfactual metaphor, Con Wei attempts to puncture the facade of "Wisdom", demonstrating that the metaphor is *only* a metaphor -- merely another layer of intellectualization being placed between the student and enlightenment.

By striking the Master, Con Wei seeks to shift him from preception to perception.

By admonishing him to Do rather than Say (i.e. RTFM rather the WTFM), Con Wei urges him to experience rather than abstract.

And, of course, by expressing these ideas as a humorous pseudo-Zen story, Con Wei is merely showing off.


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Re: Re: Re: Philosophical Perly Queues
by Anonymous Monk on Apr 20, 2003 at 15:27 UTC
    Your clever dissertation on cleverness clouding perception is nicely underscored by your disserting on the wrong quote. Intentional?

    And the immediate actual truth which I do not need to be beaten to understand is that I prefer not being beaten. This is an example of "learning".

      disserting on the wrong quote. Intentional?
      Unfortunately not. I suspect my s/pearls/a pearl/ on the quote was merely the (un-Enlightened) desire to make the epigram a little punchier. ;-)
      And the immediate actual truth which I do not need to be beaten to understand is that I prefer not being beaten.
      Of course. Me too. :-)

      But the unpleasantness of being beaten is not the immediate actual truth that the Zen master is trying to beat into the student. Nor is it the immediate actual truth that the Zen student is trying to perceive by submitting to the Master's beatings.

      The lesson is not "I don't like being beaten. Ever."
      The lesson is "I am being beaten. Right now."

        There's an interesting parallel here with the old ceremony of 'beating the bounds', where a young boy would be marched round each corner of the village and thrashed soundly - thus becoming the arbiter for disputes for the rest of his life, being forever intensely aware of exactly where the boundaries lie...

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