5/25/11

Phil Jackson on Zen


From Jackson's book:

What appealed to me about Zen was the emphasis on clearing the mind. As the Buddha put it in the Dhammapada, "Everything is based on mind, is led by mind, is fashioned by mind. If you speak and act with a polluted mind, suffering will follow you, as the wheels of an oxcart follow the footsteps of an ox...If you speak and act with a pure mind happiness will follow you, as a shadow clings to a form.



continued below...




[ ...A few funny non-answers basketball answers (and or edits)... plus... ]






What pollutes the mind in the Buddhist view is our desire to get life to conform to our peculiar notion of how things should be...The thoughts themselves are not the problem; it's our desperate clinging to them and our resistance to what's actually happening that causes us so much anguish.
There's an old Zen story that illustrates this point. Two monks were traveling together in a heavy downpour when they came across a beautiful woman in a silk kimono who was having trouble crossing a muddy intersection. "Come on" said the first monk to the woman, and he carried her in his arms to a dry spot. The second monk didn't say anything until much later. Then he couldn't contain himself anymore. "We monks don't go near females," he said. "Why did you do that?"
"I left that woman back there," he replied. "Are you still carrying her???

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The point of Zen practice [meditation, etc.*] is to make you aware of the thoughts that run your life, and diminish their power over you.
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Footnotes:

  • Turns out Phil has some good Canadian roots: His Dad's side were loyalist and his parents hooked-up at the Mennonite Bible College in Winnipeg.

  • The book's about 50% basketball (the bulls, Jordan etc) and 50% autobiography (interjected with folksy insight). 




PS:


It turns out Seinfeld's been practicing "TM" ('transcendental' meditation) for 41 years.

(Think: 'Serenity now' )*

* P-PS:


If you asked me, the best part of Zen (meditating, etc) is the deliberate approach to regular productive reflection, relaxation and conscious redirection;
i.e. Honing the mental muscles (and thought processes) that often really REALLY come in handy -- before, during and after the defining moments of our lives.
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And, since I often earn my living with my back and sweat, I'd probably be remiss if I didn't mention the most common Zen prescription for 'enlightenment':

Carry water. Chop wood.

i.e. It's not about sitting around under trees so much as it is planting, pruning and making furniture and houses out of them.

(Not to mention KEEPING YOUR HEAD when things start heading south.)


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Thanks for your interest,
and all the best.