Erasing the Board


Active flux
Latent sprouting
In the Yellow Palace
There is nothing that is not.
Is not this the Secret thus?

This work is a phenomenological study. It begins, as in many phenomenological studies, by "erasing the board" so to speak; by removing as many assumptions, biases, and notions away from the mind and building it all back with a close analysis of every part and its relationships with the others.

Unlike Descartes, I will not build upon certainties. I believe that neither he nor I can prove that either I or the universe around me exists. All I can do is proceed along a series of images, ideas, etc. that seem to exist for me which I treat "as if" they are real."

So we say true understanding will come out of emptiness. When you study Buddhism, you should have a general house cleaning of your mind. You must take everything out of your room and clean it thoroughly. If it is necessary, you may bring everything back in again. You may want many things, so one by one you can bring them back. But if they are not necessary, there is no need to keep them."We see the flying bird. Sometimes we see the trace of it. Actually, we cannot see the trace of the flying bird, but sometimes we feel as if we could. This is also good. If it is necessary, you should bring back in the things you took from your room. But before you put something into your room, it is necessary for you to take out something. If you do not, your room will be crowded with old, useless junk..."To realize the truth is to live - to exist here and now."

Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind1

So, in spite of what I have just said, I am beginning with some necessary assumptions although I am not dogmatic about them. I believe that all of my perception is subjective and it is worth knowing what influences my perception. I can only guess what others perceive from what I hear people say and see them do. My guesses come from projecting my own experiences and perceptions onto my idea of them. In a certain sense, all that I think and perceive is contained only in my own mind.

My writing is an exploration of what my mind is thinking. I put my ideas down in print in order to look at them in their stillness on the page rather than by the usual glimpses that I get through the perceptual window of my conscious mind. All of the words are borrowed and who knows if my use of them matches the intended meaning of the lenders or even the originators of the ideas the words represent. I will try not to get bogged down by definitions. The work is first a sort of meditation for myself and second, a model of my thinking process by which others may compare their own.

1 Suzuki, Shunryu. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind; Walker/Weatherhill; 1970

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