The Heart of Being

PDF EBook by John Daido Loori

EBook Description

This is good. The Heart of Being PDF EBookIt could be worthwhile to read this if you've heard of Zen from say, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance or some Alan Watts books, because this book can help to capture some aspects of Zen practice that you may have missed reading that sort of stuff alone.Maybe dispel a few Pop Zen misconceptions. This feels like the real deal.Nothing wrong with ZAMM or Watts, just that there's potentially more to Zen than that.

I worry that I only think it's a good book and that it's the Real Deal because people I admire in Zen seem to think highly of the author.So be warned, this could just be praise by imitation.To be honest, I think I only understood about 30% of the book.A lot of the Zen way of talking (the donkey looking at well, well looking at donkey etc) just plain flies over my head.The koans likewise, zoom zoom, Loori asks us questions about them and I just stare back eyes glazed over.The things I react to are literal, like his speculation on how the Wild Fox koan came to be (his take: Baizhang is having a walk one day, notices a fox carcass and seizes upon the opportunity to make a teaching of it (hides it in some cave for later)).So maybe it's just truthiness I'm reacting to.Or maybe I'm just reacting to the sound of Loori's voice (if you've listened to some WZEN podcasts, his voice is sticky, deep with a sense of authority and urgency).

Oh maybe I should stick this on a shelf and come back read it again in 5 years, see if I understand it better.Is it wrong to walk away inspired a book you don't actually understand?To say “this has deepened my commitment to the Path”, when most if flew straight over your head?

Some things I found useful from this book: the concept of “buji Zen” (the mistaken “anything goes” attitude that comes from superficial/intellectual encounter with Zen); download; the idea that greed/compassion, anger/wisdom, delusion/enlightenment are all two sides of the same coins, differentiated only by the sense of separation between self and other.I also found it helpful that Loori tied these dusty old koans to modern dilemmas; that American Buddhist teacher that infected a bunch of people with HIV by having unprotected sex because he thought he was free from cause- PDFand-effect (Bam! reincarnated as a fox), the Mount Tremper vs. the New York Dept of Environmental Conservation thing, etc.Still alive, these stories.

One thing which resonated with me from this is what I like to call “strict morality; flexible behaviour”.Context is everything in the precepts.The outward manifestation of the precepts varies from context to context to context, but you must preserve them.There's no rulebook, no commandments; but you have to figure it out for yourself in your own life.The emphasis on non-separation of self and other also hit home.It's probably optimistic to say that Zen is without dogma, but come on, if “self and other are not separate” is what we've got for dogma, I'd say we're doing pretty good.

One thing which deeply irritated me is using the Precept about not misusing sexuality as an argument against genetic engineering. That annoys this geek.

But overall, the book feels “right”.It's a reminder to practice.Moment to moment, context after context, breath after breath, returning to the practice.Remind me to read this again in 2017.Maybe I'll understand things differently? Like this book? Read online this: Reading Context [With Infotrac], The Heart's Wager (Heart's Desire, #2).

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