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Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Hang on, Grandma

Bible Examples of Zen - Creation (Genesis 1)

Zen is very difficult to explain. Many masters would say that it is impossible.

I found a good read about it over ----> here.

I am glad that the page also touches on the Tao a bit too because that is kind of where this little series is leading. I have no idea how many posts I will make on the subject but I guess I could just keep going until I run out of things to talk about.

I used to think that if one looked hard and far enough, or just simply "had eyes to see" that everything in the universe circled back to showing the ineffability of Christianity. Then the more I thought and observed as much of what I could that was going on I started to have more and more disconnects; at least with the particular frame of mind that I was using. The base of Christianity is the absolute belief in a real "tangible" god who can be explained and interacted with on that basis of understanding.

Much of traditional Western Buddhism is atheistic, in that it is a philosophical system that exists without god(s). It doesn't do so to the outright exclusion of god or in the sense of denial of a god or gods, but it just doesn't usually include divinity as part of the current landscape. It is more attentive to what is earthly and in the here and now.

Taoism seems to be a middle road between the two. There is a belief that the Tao is "god" but not in the traditional sense. The Tao is living and active as a general force that is transcendent over all things...but it is not personal, nor can it be explained. It can mystically be interacted with and experienced but it ultimately cannot be explained sufficiently.

With those ideas in mind, I was driving one day and thinking about the original "creation" and "fall" story from the Bible and these are some of the parallels that I drew between Zen-Tao and the Hebrew stories themselves. This one is on the creation account from Genesis 1.

The Creation story is all about contrasts.

Light and Darkness were separated but one would not be there without knowledge of the other since Light is the absence of Darkness, and Darkness is the absence of Light.

The "waters" were separated. Now, I don't know exactly that that might mean to the Hebrew mindset but what I do see is the contrast of Above and Below. An expanse separated the waters creating a dividing space between the two. We do not know Down without the relationship to Up and vice-versa.

Land and Water are separated. This is another contrast between two different states. Wet would imply the absence of land. Dry land would imply the absence of wet water. Another contrast that cannot be understood without both sides.

Each of these shows contrast and co-existence in order for validation of definition. We use these definitions all the time to separate classes of things....the problem is that we have classed the contrasts into "opposites." Even our own ideas of contrasting "what is" and "what is not" can too easily be defined as opposites....things that even stand opposing the other. We usually see opposition as a bad thing. Not always so.

The rest of the first chapter is all about places for things; birds in the air, creatures in the sea, beasts on the land, and man.

There is nothing by way of definition here concerning food chain. All of this just simply is. There is no force, no definition, no struggle. In a sense this is Zen. If this picture were to be painted it would depict a very peaceful co-existence between all of the animals and man and if any of these components from the story were missing then the picture would be incomplete.

Everything in this picture looks automatic. There is a design and something animating all things. This might be the Tao or a picture of it, but it is also Zen in that all things are one and co-dependent.

Bye for now.