The Nature Of Beings Essay Research Paper — страница 2

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Zen masters have always said (Palmer 383-384). Both of these philosophies, through analytical dissection, can be linked back to the philosophies presented in Zen Buddhism, however opposite the two may seem. Zen is elusive, and difficult to approach for comparison purposes. The best definition is no definition at all, and as D. T. Suzuki says, from afar it looks so approachable, but as soon as you come near it you see it even further away from you than before. A common theme in Zen Buddhism is The way to ascend unto God is to descend into one s self. Kierkegaard, a forerunner of existentialism, presented a similar theory, and though the final end to this descent is different, the means are the same. Both Zen aesthetics and Kierkegaard recognized that this journey is different for

every person, thus there can be no path, and consequently no teachers. This can be directly linked to the pragmatic ideals of self-truths, that is, the idea of truths being subjective to the perceiver instead of objective as truths are commonly thought of. This is also seen heavily in existentialism, as is very nearly the very basis of its theories of there being no existence but what we make for ourselves (Suzuki Zen Buddhism 43). Although the average American does not follow these western philosophies directly, or is even aware of the philosophies existence in most cases, their life is still heavily influenced by these two main theories of existence, and consequently, the ideas of Zen, and their behavior is directly linked to them. The most obvious influence is in religion. As

Zen can be both a way of life and a religion, it can therefore easily influence other religions. The links between Christianity and Buddhism are present throughout the Bible, although not readily presented to the casual reader. The idea of Buddhist faith has three levels, admiration, aspiring, and conviction, and a parallel is seen in the Christianity through first, a practitioners devotion to and admiration for Jesus from reading the Bible, second, the aspiration to attain the full perfection of the divine nature, or union with God, and lastly, with this sense of aspiration, a deep conviction that it is possible to perfect such a state of being (The Dalai Lama). Religion of individuals is also being influenced by Zen Buddhist beliefs in a time when the Dali Lama is gaining more

and more recognition since the award of his 1991 Nobel Peace Prize, becoming a symbol of nonviolence and a meditative philosophy of existence. In an increasingly secular and scientific age, Buddhist beliefs have become the perfect way to satisfy the spiritual hunger of people living now. Even many believers in a Christian religion agree that you can take the good parts of Buddhism and it s beliefs and apply them to their own lives (Veenker). Just as apparent, but more applicable to every day living is the theory of feng shui, literally wind and water . At its essence, feng shui describes the natural flow of these elements along the path with the least resistance, and is based upon a simple truth: all life is interrelated and dynamically changing (Figure 1). An architectural

theory of placement, feng shui is evolved from the eastern idea of tai chi and the ideas of Chinese Ch an such as harmony with one s surroundings, and is becoming more and more prevalent in western society (Bramble). Movies also show their link to Zen Buddhism, evidenced through films such as Star Wars, in their belief in a life giving force that surrounds us, penetrates us, binds the galaxy together, just as the Dharma is vast and subtle. D. T. Suzuki relates the story of a sword master s state of mind during a duel: I as a swordsman see no opponent confronting me . . . every movement he makes as well as every thought he conceives are felt as if they were all my own and I intuitively know when and how to strike him. (Suzuki Japanese Culture) This is related to Obi-Wan s message

to Luke during his training, to let go your conscious self and act on instinct. (Figures 2 and 3, Lucas) Western music also shows many of the influenced traits of Zen belief systems, such as the practice of Zen Guitar, a method of practicing and releasing the inner song that is in all living things. Zen Guitar teaches the same path as Zen, in that one starts a beginner with a white belt, progresses from white to black by practice, attains a black belt through responsibility towards oneself, progresses again from black belt to white belt through the knowledge of the self, and finally returns to the white belt with the way of the Zen Guitar in their hearts. Many musicians playing styles are one and the same with the styles of Zen Guitar, and many hold the same beliefs as a Zen