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Zen Koans, and questions of faith - Ed's journal
sobrique
sobrique
Zen Koans, and questions of faith
So one of the ideas I was pondering recently - I had just been to a funeral, and my mind was going in all manner of odd directions.
In Zen Buddhism, you have the concept of the Koan. Which is: "a story, dialogue, question or statement, which cannot be understood by rational thinking, but may be accessible through intuition."

Now chances are if you've run into the term, you've had it get a bit garbled - much like haiku, what it means to 'us westerners' isn't the same as the original meaning, as it gets lost in translation.

I've always rather liked the notion, that you have 'something' that acts as an axis for insight to revolve around. A question for which there is no real correct answer, merely a state of mind or insight which the question frames.

Which lead me to the notion - previous I've rambled a bit about faith. The problem with faith, is there's a lot of circular references there - faith is, because faith is. Define God, and chances are that definition precludes analysis.
So if I ask the question "Is there a God?" then I will get as many variants of an answer as people I ask. And that should be so - to give someone elses answer: "Even though that is true, if you do not know it yourself, it does you no good".

The question and the answer are in many ways irrelevant. The contemplation of the question, and the self awareness one can derive is what's important. Here's where it goes wrong though - Organised religion invites you to accept someone elses answer to the question. How can that ever be right? Atheists are much the same though.
We can argue this question back and forth, and never reach resolution. That's good, as long as whilst we do so, we're open to the self awareness that contemplation of a Koan may lead us to.
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Comments
mavnn From: mavnn Date: August 29th, 2010 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)
You need to learn yourself: true, you can't 'inherit' meaningful belief.

That doesn't, if course, mean that you can't learn from others :)

At the end of the day, belief involves trust. Not blind trust (which organised religion (including mant brands of atheism) often asks for and I despise it for it), but definately trust.

So sometimes I think it can valid to accept someone elses answer to side issues, as long as you know you're choosing to actively do so: and you trust them.
sobrique From: sobrique Date: September 14th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm really not keen on organised religion. There's far too much scope for unsubstantiated assertions, about what is. Some of them... well, most of the advice given by organised religion I would like to believe started out well intentioned.
But as always, as soon as men get involved, it gets corrupted. There's wisdom to be found wherever you look, but any time you start to trust something 'just because' it's the Bible (or other holy text) you start to make a mistake.
Because you're letting someone else answer that question for you, and removing it's meaning by doing so.
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