Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Immediateness


According to Zen intellectualizations, concepts, even language itself are inadequate for expressing our experience as it is experienced.

We go through life thinking that our words and ideas mirror what we experience, but repeatedly we discover that the distinctions taken to be true are mental constructs. In verbalizing something, we may have a lingering sense of having compromised part of our experience, but we continue to devise new categories, new names for new things, more distinctions when a moment before there were no distinctions.

The goal of Zen training is to break down our dependence on categories that interfere with the directness and immediacy of experience, but this does not mean that thought stops altogether.

The Zen student is interested in preserving immediacy, but the myriad forms of life situations present a baffling assortment of possibilities to which one must respond.

Thought is effective only when it arises spontaneously out of a problematic situation.